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7 tips on writing a winning resume

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Looking for a new job is never easy. Especially, when the economy and job market may not be doing that great, making it a little more difficult for you to find your dream job. One of the first things you need to do in this environment is start writing a great resume to help you stand out. However, for many of us this is the most dreaded part of the job search process. 

For women in general and especially new mothers returning to the workforce  - writing a great resume, can be an extremely difficult and nerve wrecking process. In fact, I have noticed even with the most accomplished female executives who in the eyes of many would have no issue filling up the pages of their resume with a plethora of accomplishments, are riddled with self-doubt, on what to say and how they should say it. 

One of the areas, that I think holds many of us back and especially for Asian women – in writing that killer resume is that most of us have been taught that it’s good to be humble, that we shouldn’t brag or talk about how great we are, that we should share credit for any successes and never openly state our ambitions.

I would argue, listening to these messages in today’s competitive environment makes it very hard to succeed. 

A resume for all intent and purposes is your personalized sales pitch – and selling ultimately is about persuasion.

Whether we like it or not, resumes are the first stage of the process when trying to convince a hiring manager that you are the right person for the job.

So, lets try to put aside some of those messages that potentially have been ingrained in us from childhood. And if they were, then we must consciously try to ignore them, at least for a while so that we can write a great resume. 

Try to put any humble thoughts out of your mind and brag, brag, brag.  Ask a friend who knows you well to help you think of all the terrific things you have done. Please banish from your mind thoughts like, “It wasn’t really that great,” “I only played a small role,” and “Others did more than I did.”  When you’re trying to write a great resume, it’s no time to put yourself down or share the glory.

So here are my 7 tips to writing a great CV hopefully it can galvanise you to write the best CV and help you land your dream job or promotion: if you have any other tips please share and sign up at half the sky for great jobs and career tips.

  • I’m a bit old school when it comes to this tip: don’t try to create a one size fits all resume hiring managers hate it and recruiters do also – take the time to tailor your resume for the role, industry and organisation you are applying to, it creates greater authenticity.  
  • Some would disagree with me but don’t go over two pages.  Resume readers spend only six to ten seconds on a resume. Don’t minimize your chances by writing a Game of Thrones novel
  • As a previous recruiter myself, I personally love when candidates include specific, quantifiable accomplishments over just listing their key responsibilities. Important information to include like: how many people were on the team you led?  How much revenue did your sales department generate?  Etc… Don’t be afraid to tell your story – this is the time to find your voice and tell everybody how great you are.
  • Include keywords, so your resume has a greater chance of being selected by the hiring manager, recruiter or even more so now, the algorithm reviewing resumes.  Find the keywords on the job description, and be sure to sprinkle them liberally throughout your resume.
  • In the education section it's important to give a brief summary of your education in reverse chronological order, e.g. starting from the most recent and working backwards. Make sure you share enough detail, e.g. the names of modules if relevant, or if your degree subject is quite broad.
  • Try to limit all your biographic information. When it comes to including your contact details, your name, phone number and email address is enough. In the age of LinkedIn and Facebook, including links to your social network addresses will also help to set you apart.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread. And then proofread again.  And have one or two trusted friends proofread also.  This is the document that represents you to a prospective employer.  There is no room for misspellings or grammar and punctuation mistakes. 

I hope these tips prove useful for you in writing that great resume and help you land the job you deserve. Let me know if you have any questions or have tips you would like to share!

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About half the sky
 

half the sky (HTS) is a career platform for women in Asia. We connect women to career opportunities at companies that care. We also want to equip you with information, tips and strategies to navigate the workplace today and the future.

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