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Writing a CV that stands out

June 08, 2009 12:33 IST

When you apply to a job opening there would be dozen other candidates applying for the same post. So, how do you ensure your resume stands out from the pile? What is it that companies look for while short-listing candidates? Here is a lowdown.

An entry- level resume

Highlight your non-academic achievements too: At entry-level when you have no industry experience, underscore your other achievements. "Highlight projects that you have done, awards you have bagged and companies you have interned with," says Rajesh AR, VP, temp staffing unit, TeamLease Services.

Companies also give high rating if they see you are a team person and enjoy good inter-personal relationships. So, if you are part of student's associations or an NGO, stress on these points. Of course, academics is the first thing that recruiters see, but extra curricular excellence does count.

Talk only about business interest: Trash the habit of mentioning interests like singing, dancing, music, swimming, painting or astrology. That's a complete passe. "Talk only about your business interest," says Sunil Kalra, consultant to a leading HR firm. And be well prepared. If you say your interest lies in reading, "Then know the book inside, out, upside, down," emphasises Kalra.

Gain proficiency in a professional area: While studying, gain competency in an area that will hold you in good stead in your professional career. Learn basic computer skills. Having done that, move on to adding other skills like Coral Draw if you want to get into computer graphics or learn accounting software Tally if you see your future in accounting.

A mid-level executive's resume

Quick TakeFlexibility and responsibility: When you have gained 3-4 years of experience, review your CV. For a person with 2-4 year's of experience and more, the thrust shifts on industry knowledge and his adaptability in the organisation, among other qualities. "At this stage, cultural fit is given more importance, flexible approach matters and the learning starts playing an important role", says Rajesh AR. The organisation sees if you have been flexible in previous roles and whether you are prepared for a new responsibility.

Personal initiatives: The companies also see the personal initiatives that you have taken to add on to your skill and knowledge base. While it hints your progressive mindset, "It also subtly, positively speaks of your career consciousness", says Kalra. Candidates should highlight those events where their ideas have been implemented; their analytical skills have been applauded.

Other must-dos

Be specific: If you are applying for a position in sales and marketing vertical, a requirement which is across industries, should you tailor your CV every time? Not really. Just be specific and highlight the best fit experiences.

Remain updated: Be aware of the news and current affairs. "Read newspapers", advises Rajesh AR. Read business writers. Focus more on your field

Communication skills: Work on your verbal communication skills and writing skills. Prior to the interview, prepare a list of questions that a recruiter might ask, write down the answers and read it aloud to yourself. Keep your answers to the point. Use these pointers and rest assured you will get an interview call no sooner your CV reaches the recruiter.

Urmila Rao

Careers360 is a complete education and career magazine offering campus and course reviews, career features, scholarships, expert advisories, entrance exam preparation & solved papers, admission alerts and more.