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How to write an effective Resume - Printable Version

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How to write an effective Resume - maqszaman - 12-29-2009 10:34 AM

First and foremost, I just want to make it clear that I am writing this thread for those, in Pakistan in general, who want to gain knowledge of new trends of Résumé writing or for those who are migrating to Canada or America in particular. It is not indispensable that this thread caters the needs of Pakistani job market. If someone doesn’t agree with this thread, he/she has an absolute right, not to pursue it. However, if you want to be prominent from other candidates, this thread is equally advantageous for Pakistani candidates.

The ultimate objective of your hard work in acquiring professional designation and skills, is first to get your dream job and alleviate your life style. Fame or power doesn’t run your kitchen; praise can’t feed your family. Since more and more people are coming to the profession of Accountancy, job market is becoming more and more competitive over time. The economies are not expanding with that speed, predominantly in North America; you have to battle with professionals from 180 countries. In this competitive environment you need to stand at a different spot as you try to do in some ceremonies. Remember that when an employer publishes a job advertisement, he sets some basic requirements. If the minimum requirement of the position is “CMA” with three years experience; everyone who is applying for the position meets these requirements. The employer needs something more than your education and experience, which are your skills. Finding a job has become a full time job itself. Résumé writing is an art in North America and there are professional organizations that do this job.
Your Résumé is your passport that eventually lands you on a reverie job. It is representative of your personality, working approach, organizational and communication skills, on top of your experience, education, and other skills. Your Résumé is sort of personal advertisement.

Broadly speaking, your Résumé needs to convey three things to those who read it
1. You have the skills, talent and personal qualities to accomplish those things that are important to an employer.
2. You have a history of training, accomplishments and/or experience to substantiate this claim.
3. You will be an asset to the organization insofar as you facilitate its operations, have positive work attitudes and get along with others.

However, there are so many other factors that you should remember before writing your Résumé. I will try to explain those one by one in very precise manner.

<b>Select the Employer</b>
I know you don’t have too much choices, but even then, you must do some research on the employer. It is an easy task these days because everyone has access to internet. Don’t apply for a job; if the same job is appearing in the news paper every other month that means that the company has a high job turnover. Even if you manage to get this job, you will end up in problems after a couple of months. There are some employers which are disparaging in job market, because of their bad behaviour with their employees. Your short stay at such a company will bring some negative impacts on your Résumé rather than benefits. In the North America, you have certain stringent legal protections so you need not to worry about that.

<b>Read the Advertisement carefully</b>
You should carefully go through the advertisement. Check the job location. Suppose you are living in Orangi Town and the job is in Clifton, will it be easy for you to commute on daily basis? How much time and cost you will spend on travelling every day? etc.
Check the nature of the business of the employer; highlight the job descriptions, application deadline, mode of sending the application etc.

<b>Tailor Your Résumé</b>
Your Résumé should not be like a pamphlet that you photocopy and dispense in front of a mosque. You should tailor your Résumé for every job you select and apply for. It is a bit difficult task but brings your desired results quicker. Try to incorporate the job requirements needed into your Résumé. It should not be a copy paste of the advertisement. You need to be a bit diplomatic and highlight the skills and experience required by the employer.
Now, I will attempt to explore the appearance and contents of the Résumé with you.

Predominantly employers prefer electronic version of your Résumé these day. However, some employers still want you to send Résumé in hard copy. Always, use the best quality paper. The ideal paper is 80gram white paper in 8 ½” and 11” size. In rare cases you can use off white paper. The potential employer must feel the difference when he touches your Résumé’s paper, even if the employer has received 100 Résumés. This is really the turning point that your Résumé fetches his attention and compels him to read the text.
Never use colour papers as it gives a negative impression. Most simple is most admired. You should print the Résumé with laser printer or get fine quality powder copy. It should give perception to the employer that you haven’t given proper attention to this job and you are not keenly interested in it. You are desperately pitching your Résumé to every employer.

All Résumé must be written in MS Word documents unless and otherwise, advised to provide in different format. Employment Agencies or employers may require you to punch in your Résumé in certain software in America and Canada.

In Pakistan, it is a culture to write Résumé on as many pages as possible. Some candidates even write courses they studies in their institutions. But believe me it is not an effective Résumé. A hectic business manager/CEO doesn’t have enough time to go through it. He will lose his interest in your Résumé. You should provide maximum relevant information in summary to the employer. In Canada and America, your Résumé must not be on more than two pages. Third page is not allowed. However, candidate is Pakistan can use more pages if needed.

The margins should be normal size. However, if you have more material, you can adjust the margins so according to you need. Neither your Résumé should give an impression that mater is too overcrowded or emptiness of the paper. It should cover the entire page in full block style except your name and contact information.

You should use professional fonts which are Times New Roman or Arial. Don’t use too many fonts, also avoid unnecessary bold & italics. In Canada and America, you don’t need to use bold and italics because Résumés are sorted by computers and they don’t add any value to your Résumé.

<b>Font Size</b>
Your Résumé heading should be in size14 and matter in size 12. However, you can adjust it if needed to fit your matter. Never use colour in your Résumé fonts.

You better to write plain English. Be very carefully in spellings and grammar. Run spell checker before your print/transmit your Résumé. Your sentences should be complete; use action verb in your job description. (I will try to cover this later in this article). Be sure that your punctuation is correct and is done consistently.

Once the potential employer touches your Résumé and notices the quality of your Résumé paper quality, his next action is to have a look on the Résumé. If the Résumé is clearly presented, it increases his interest in your Résumé, which compels him read it. So far you have convinced his with your presentation and organizational skills. This is the time you have to force him to recognize your communication skills, experience and education.

Although there are many styles available but Experience style is widely used these days. In the Experience style you focus on your experience. I will walk through with your with each content of the Résumé.

<b>Name and Address</b>
Write your first and last name in Résumé for America and Canada and your full name for Pakistani Résumé. The font size of your name should be 14 and in bold. In the next few lines you should write your address, telephone number, and e-mail address. This information should be aligned in the center. Specimen is as under

Khalid <center>Ahmed
82 Silver Streets, Apt. 512,
North York, ON M4B 6B7
Tel 416-XXX-2352; E-mail</center>

You objective line should give your short term vision. You are not required to show you high ambitions such as “To be Chief Financial Officer of Fortune 500 companies and benchmarking highest echelons of the profession”. This shows that you are a very highly ambitious person and the company may not meet your vision. Employer try to find people for long term, so don’t give a message that you want to make him jumping pad. Your object line should be clear and simple.
• Seeking an entry level (Middle/Senior) Management position in accounting department of a growing company.
• Seeking a position of Accountant/Accounting manager/Finance manager position in accounting department of a growing company.

Your profile should not be more that 5to six lines. Mention you personal soft skills and transferable skills. Soft skills are those which are part of your personality and transferable skills are those that you can train to others.
• Cost & Management Accountant with +10 years experience.
• Strong interpersonal and communication skills with excellent articulation qualities.
• Self-motivated, detail oriented, results driven, and decision making professional.
• Proficient in advanced level Ms Excel and Ms Words.
• Hands on using MS Great Plains, SAP, People Soft etc.

Your experience history should be in chronological order, starting from your recent most job first and then go back to the history. Write your job descriptions under each job. Highlight your exposure most which is required by the employer. But be honest, don’t boost about what you have never done.
First write your company name and in the next line your designation, reporting line and period. Take another one or two lines to describe your company to give employer an idea about the size of your company, nature business, complexity of the transactions etc.

Wal-Mart Canada
Accounting Manager Reporting to Manager Finance Mar. 05-Jun. 09
Wal-Mart, largest retailers in the world with a sales of $900 billions, employees’ force of 350,000 and 4200 outlets across North America, Europe, Australia, and Far East.

After that mention your job responsibilities. Always use action verbs; prepare, generate, extract, reconcile, execute, co-ordinate, supervise, ensure, manage, forecast, review etc. If you are writing job description of a past company used past tense. Some example of the job descriptions are as under

Job Descriptions
• Prepared monthly, quarterly and annual financial statements including analysis, internal management reports and all external reporting packages.
• Ensured accurate general accounting and month-end close process including journal entry, general ledger account reconciliation and analysis.
• Reconciled bank accounts on monthly basis.
• Forecasted cash-flow and estimated budgets and analyzed variances (actual versus projected performance)
• Managed accounts receivable, collections, accounts payable, inventory and payroll.

You next step is to mention your Résumé is your education. This should also the in chronological order. Your highest education should come first with your institution and year of degree/Certification awarded.

CMA-Associate member of the ICMAP 2008
B.Com-University of Karachi 2005

If you are preparing your Résumé for America and Canada, you don’t need to have such a section. An employer has nothing to do with what your father’s name was. Inquiry about your age, race, religion, sect, sex, marital status is prohibited under Discrimination Act. But in Pakistan, you can give your personal information. However, there is only one thing that should be taken care of is your age. Don’t write your date of birth unless and other wise required. Just write your age because an employer is interest in your age to see your level of maturity. He will not celebrate your birthday, believe me.

<b>Reference </b>
In North America, you don’t need to have such a section in your Résumé, because it is understood that you will have to provide your reference at the time of interview. But in Pakistan you can write that “Will be furnished upon request”.

Everyone is welcome to contribute healthy remards,


- zaikhan - 01-23-2010 05:50 PM

Thank you very much.Its what I was looking for.SO much helpful.

- Osama Rules - 01-24-2010 07:41 AM



That is indeed very useful for us.

Loads of thanks!! [)]

- awaisaftab - 02-18-2010 07:36 PM

Good contribution

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