Resume─your self-made ticket to job interview. Recently, my youngest sibling and my younger sister-in-law just graduated and moving to their next chapter of life which is the working life. This is what started me pondering on this. Since I started work over here, I’ve been given the liberty to interview people. So far I’ve looked at roughly 10+ CVs and interviewed most of them. Then I get to look at my own brother and sister’s resume. They all have 1 thing in common and that is the resume was very badly done.
Let’s look at what is resume? To me, resume is like a ticket to your job interview. This ticket is in form of a piece of paper summarizing what you have done with your life so far. The priority will be higher or lower depend on the importance of information provide on the ticket, how well organized and relevant they are, and how nice the ticket look. So basically, from all that I have learn from class, internet and personal experience, a resume should be well organized, nicely formatted, with information provided in chronological order of date time and importance/relevance of information. As for the content on the resume, it’s pretty much depending on what have you done with your life so far. Logically, the more you have done with your life will and the more you’ll have to put on your resume. So it’s plus point. However for fresh graduates, there won’t be so many things other than their qualifications and co-curricular activities. For Cambodian graduates, the phrase “co-curricular activities” is generally very alien to them as well. So yes, their CV is pretty much down to education qualification.
So what’s my problem with their CV? Hmm… I can’t really generalize them. Below are some of issue I have encountered.
- Poor information organization. Generally those information on those type of CVs are difficult to quickly refer to and information are all over the place and not in order or date or time or importance. To me, what this says about candidate is that he/she paid no attention to the viewing audience. For someone with little or not experience in job hunting, to do enough research and produce a well-organized resume is quite tedious and difficult job. So for a fresh grad, a well-organized resume says a lot about how much work the candidate put into it and inherently shows how much he/she care about getting that job interview opportunity.
- Information overflow. In this type of CV, the candidate seems to try too hard to put a lot of things on his/her resume until it becomes so cluttered, irrelevant and down-right unbelievable. And when the word “irrelevant” and “unbelievable” is associated with your resume, it’s definitely not a good sign. For example, I have encountered quite a number of resume for software engineer where the candidate lists down every programming language and programming software under the sun under their programming skill. Even for myself with quite a number of experience as software engineer, I never even dare list more than 5 programming languages as an expertise. And if I’m experience in Microsoft SQL, I would not dare to say that I’m also an expert in Oracle. Yes, you want to fill your resume but when you get too desperate doing it, it will backfire during interview because I always do that to my interviewee. I always ask them something like “I see that you are good in so many programming languages and software, according to your resume you are actually a lot better than me. You can build all kinds of application using all kind of technology. Why are you applying for such a junior level position?” Some other candidate likes to list all their part-time jobs experience in. How is a part-time admin staff experience relevant to credit analyst position? Providing accurate and relevant information to the position one is applying for is crucial because chance the person that review your resume will not have time to read it in detail and do an abstract summary of all the relevant information. That’s the candidate’s job.
- Poor formatting. This refers to the look and feel of the resume. It’s never a requirement for candidate to design their resume. But let just think about it logically, if there is a stack of papers with boring black and white chunk of text full of information and there is a piece of nicely designed paper in there, wouldn’t you notice it and want to take a look at it? So basically, my personal opinion is that good resume formatting and layout design is basically an extra optional step you can take to make your resume stands out. It’s an image thing. And so far, all the resumes I have reviewed, including my brother and sister’s, completely failed in this regard. But what bothers me most is the fact that most of them couldn’t even format the date right nor could they properly list experience base on chronological order.
- Poor Language. You actually don’t need a very powerful English for writing resume but you do need sufficient professional terminology to craft your job description and description of co-curricular activity. Most them basically describe their job responsibility as “I did this….”, “Help with that…”, “Do that…”. These are very weak term to describe your role and responsibility. A more descriptive and professional term like “involved in…”, “Assist/perform…”, “Conduct..”, “Managed..”
It’s a depressing thought to think that students go through their whole life of education just to have opportunity shut out from them because they are unable to produce a quality resume. I’m so surprise that university here doesn’t include job hunting and resume writing as part of their curriculum. It’s such a crucial lesson.