Make That Resumé Shine!

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Before you land yourself that job of your dreams, you have to be called for the interview. And often, the only weapons you have at your disposal to attract the attention of the recruiter are your resumé and covering letter/email. Naturally, you need to make every possible effort to ensure that your resumé gets noticed and stands out enough for you to get that interview call. Here are 10 nifty tips to help you make that resumé shine!

1. Get rid of all those fuddy-duddy, two-column vertical formats from the Middle Ages. Instead download a modern resumé template that suits your requirements, from the hundreds of free resumé templates available on the Internet, or use those provided with your word processor. Try the resumé templates at About.com http://is.gd/2asd5C for starters. Search for “resume for chartered accountant” in Google to get more specific examples.

2. Stick to standard fonts (such as Arial or Verdana) so that formats don’t get messed up at the recipient’s end when you send an electronic copy of your resumé. Keep the point-size easily readable but not oversized (10-12 points). Don’t go berserk with colours, bold text, italics and highlights. However, a few well-selected formatting flourishes could definitely add impact.

3. Regardless of the software you use to create your resumé, send it as a pdf file to ensure it’s readable. If you have merely copied the resumé from someone else, make sure you erase the original document properties (such as author and date) and replace them with your own. In Microsoft Word this can be done by clicking the Microsoft Office Button at the top left and then selecting “Prepare” – with this you can change the properties, “Inspect” the document for hidden information, and “Mark as Final” when you are through.

4. If you are sending across a printed copy be sure to use premium quality white paper of a higher weight (100 gsm instead of the standard 75 gsm copier paper). Post or courier it in a thick, large-sized cover so as to avoid folding the sheets. Print the address on a mailing label rather than writing it on the envelope.

5. Create one master file containing all details of your education, work experience, skills, awards, achievements, objectives… the whole shebang. From this repository, pick up what you need and customise your resumé each time, based on requirements of the finance job you are applying for.

6. At the start of your career, it’s doubtful that you will have work experience of any significance. Nor are your educational qualifications likely to set the Ganges on fire. In such cases, you’d be better off crafting a “functional resumé”, focussing on your career objectives, special skills and achievements thus far. Start with a brief profile or executive summary at the top, followed by any relevant special skills you have acquired, along with achievements and awards. Education and work experience can follow below.

7. Avoid annoying buzzwords such as team player, result-oriented, problem solver, leadership skills and other such clichés, unless you are able to relate them to actual achievements and accomplishments. Demonstrate that you have initiative and drive and a burning desire to learn and excel in everything you do.

8. Highlight technical knowledge and skills that are desirable for chartered accountants to have. For instance, outstanding proficiency in Microsoft Excel or thorough knowledge of Oracle Financials – provided you actually have these skills, of course.

9. The covering letter accompanying your resumé needs to be tailored to the company and job you are applying for. Indicate why you think you are well suited to fill the vacancy in question, mentioning very briefly your key educational qualifications and work experience.

10. Finally, your resumé must be one hundred percent error-free. So spell-check and proofread repeatedly, until you are absolutely certain that every single word, punctuation mark and space is just as it should be!

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