What Is a Resume?
Resume is the summary of an applicant’s background, relevant experience and qualification. It usually comes in handy during the process of job application and college application (bachelor, master & PhD degrees).
A good resume should clearly present the value and profession of a candidate on a limited length. Almost every company requires resumes from job seekers during recruitment, and it is the major selection criteria for the candidate's next step of job search - Interview.
As time passed, resumes have been evolved from a few pieces of papers to online documents, web-pages, and even multimedia formats like videos. As one of the most important factor during job/college application process, everyone should learn how to prepare a professional resume, and also how to keep it updated.
How to write a resume that helps you stand out from other candidates and impress potential employers?
➡ Read the Ultimate Resume Writing Tips & Guide
Why Is a Resume Important
in a Job Application?
According to Glassdoor’s statistics, each job opening attracts 250 applications from job seekers on average. Among these applicants, around 4 to 6 of them (nearly 2%) will go through interview process and only ONE will receive the job offer.
Another crucial fact, it takes no more than 6 seconds for a hiring manager/recruiter to review a resume. Under intense competition, how to catch a hiring manager’s attention in a split-second becomes a vital issue for job seekers.
A well-designed and professionally-tailored resume is the key in all job application. Keep in mind that an eye-catching resume doesn’t necessarily involve fancy format or word usage, wisely-composed content and legible structure is the core.
What Is the Difference Between CV and Resume?
What is a CV? CV stands for “Curriculum Vitae” (“course of life” in Latin). It is a comprehensive and thorough collection of a person’s professional experience, including career achievements (work history), and education accomplishments (publications, certifications, awards).
There are 4 main differences between a CV and a resume :
- A CV includes more detailed information about an applicant’s professional life.
- A resume puts more emphasis on relevant information to a specific job position.
- A CV is mostly required during application process in academia, medicine or science fields.
- A resume is mostly required during general job application process.
- A CV’s length is mostly over two page, and it would get extended overtime along with the growth of experience.
- A resume’s length is mostly within two pages, and the content would be tailored and updated in accordance to job search status.
- A CV usually has a simple and plain layout, and not many varieties in terms of format.
- A resume has a variety of choices for layouts based on different industries, and a general format.
Regardless of the comparison above, it was noticed that the word usage of “resume” is generally-preferred in some countries, while “CV” is in the others.
For instance, in U.S, Canada, India and Australia, “resume” is more commonly used, while in most of the European, South American and African countries, “CV” is more prevalent.
What Are the Types of Resume?
Paper type :
The most traditional and original type of resume is printed out as 1 - 2 pages of paper. It usually comes in handy during offline job interviews (or walkin interviews) and school admission interviews.
Note that it is recommended to convert the document to PDF files before printing it, to avoid format inconsistencies.
1. PDF/Word type :
One of the most common type of resume is in PDF or Word formats. PDF & Word resumes can be attached to emails while applicants send out application, or any other online application channels like WhatsApp, Messenger, LinkedIn, and etc.. It can also be printed out as paper-type resume.
Note that it is recommended to send resumes in PDF format instead of Doc, if there is no specific requirement.
Here are 2 major reasons why sending a PDF resume is suggested :
- Format -
Documents in .doc format sometimes show inconsistencies on different devices, for instance, disarranged layout, incorrect font, or even worse, mojibake (garbled text).
- Device compatibility -
Since that not every Mac has installed the program to run Microsoft Word, it might cause an awkward situation when a hiring manager is unable to open the resume file.
2. Website type :
It is getting more and more popular to build a personal website/web-page, especially for professions required to maintain portfolio and side projects, like software engineers and designers.
With the generalization of website builder software, it is getting much easier to build a website with low cost and effort. A single web-page to manage and demonstrate portfolios and personal achievements is a good way to build a personal brand and display individual creativity.
3. Video type :
A video resume is not common during general job application process. It is occasionally required during application process of internship or extracurricular activities. A video resume can also be useful for occupations that require video editing techniques or certain interpersonal skills, like video editors, entertainers, live streamers, and etc..
How to Prepare a Resume?
There are 5 constructive steps below for people who are going to build a new resume or to refresh an out-dated one. Some of the preparatory acts also give students/freshers a chance to ponder on their future career path.
Step 1 : Ask yourself questions to figure out your goal and career aspiration.
◇ For students/freshers :
- What do I want to do? Do I have any relevant experience?
- What personality do I have? What career suits my personality traits?
- What skills do I have? How can these skills be utilized in the workplace?
- What are the jobs I can get with my college major? Do I want a career related to it?
- What have I achieved during college? Does my extracurricular or internship experiences highlight my core advantage?
◇ For general job seekers (career change) :
- Am I satisfied with my current career path?
- What do I have to offer in the new position?
- What is my biggest accomplishment in my current role?
- Am I looking for opportunities to advance within the same career or industry?
- What have been some of the biggest challenges I faced in my job(s)? How did I resolve them?
Step 2 : Perform research on companies and occupations that you are interested in.
◇ There are 2 effective ways to gather information on Companies :
- Online research -
By visiting the company’s website, Facebook fanpage, LinkedIn page, and forums, you can gather almost every information about the company, including its corporate culture, vision, current campaign, and etc..
These materials can later help you build a highly-customized resume for a specific company, and easily ace the interview.
- Offline research -
By attending offline events held by the company, you can gather first-hand information and have an chance to impress the potential employer, which creates unfair advantage during the recruitment process.
Apart from participating in events, you can also ask around to collect reliable information from friends, classmates, colleagues, and etc..
◇ There are 2 main reasons why you should research on Occupations :
- Job responsibility research -
For freshers, you can have a better understanding on the duties and responsibilities for a certain job role, and to further analyze if it is suitable for you.
For general job seekers, doing research on a particular job’s responsibility can give you a clearer idea that what skills of yours can be leveraged on your resume, and what skills you are lack of.
- Keyword research -
During modern hiring process, chances are that a resume has been categorized as “Unqualified” even before it is read by a human (recruiter, hiring manager, employer, and etc. ). On average, a job position would attract 250 resumes, let alone how immense the number of resumes received by a prestigious enterprise that everyone dreams to work for is.
ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is a software adopted by 90% of big companies, to assist recruiters in arranging, scanning, and ranking resumes (or job applications) during hiring process. Resume keyword play an important role during scanning procedure, so wisely include keywords in resumes should be a must.
Step 3 : List down all past experiences, accomplishments and skills.
It is highly suggested to make a habit of keeping track of personal experiences & accomplishments that can be potentially utilized on resumes. By noting down these information in one place, it can be easily turned into a CV or made use of as resume writing materials.
If you are starting fresh on preparing a resume, begin with experiences that happened within 5 years (If you are a fresh college graduate, it is not recommended to include high school experiences.). You can follow the list below.
◇ For freshers :
- Internship experiences & achievements
- Extra-curricular experiences & achievements
e.g. volunteer work, international competition, student club, and etc.
- Academic experiences & accomplishments
e.g. teaching assistant, academic program, academic publication, academic conference, and etc.
e.g. academic award, extra-curricular award, service award, and etc.
e.g. language certificate, skill certificate, online/offline program certificate, and etc.
◇ For general job seekers :
- Work history & accomplishments
- Projects & career portfolios
Step 4 : Choose/Make a resume format
There are 4 main types of resume formats, which are chronological resume, functional resume, hybrid (combination) resume, and targeted resume. Each resume format can be utilized under different circumstances. The strength and weakness of each resume format will be further elaborate in 4 Best Resume Formats.
Step 5 : Select suitable information to put on the resume
Cross match job responsibility research (Step 2) and past experiences/accomplishments/skills list (Step 3) to locate the intersection. Select 3 to 5 core skills of yours that can make you the right fit for the position and stand out from other candidates. Utilize your past experiences and accomplishments to support your statements and build a professional image. Remember to choose the most relevant and eye-catching information to include.
CakeResume - Professional Online Resume Builder ( free! )
By freely drag and edit sections of texts, images, videos and slides, you're able to create an unique & eye-catching resume in 10 minutes.
Having a compelling resume is just like a piece of cake! 🍰