(File pix) When writing a resume, job applicants should create an outstanding first impression through an attention grabbing layout, powerful keywords and clearly articulated achievements. Pix by Hafiz Sohaimi

WHEN writing a resume, job applicants should create an outstanding first impression through an attention grabbing layout, powerful keywords and clearly articulated achievements.

Career Expert managing director Ainul Naim, a resume consultant, said a good resume is one that attracts recruitment managers and promises a job interview opportunity.

A resume is a tool to promote and market yourself to the industry.

“When the industry offers you an interview, you know that your resume is good. A good resume is a masterpiece of your own, crafted with proper guidance,” she added.

A lot of effort should be put into writing a resume.

“Writing a good resume is where the life of a graduate begins. It is important for graduates to learn to write their own resume — it’s an art of your ownself.

“If they fail to make a good impression through the resume, then it will be a rough career journey ahead.

“It requires a lot of effort to market yourself, much more than the work put in at university.”

As a Certified Professional Rèsumè Writer and Certified Employment Interview Professional with more than 13 years of experience, Hans Toh said the best resume is one that is tailored made for a specific position.

An excellent resume contains three key elements — relevant working experience, measurable achievements and educational background or professional training obtained.

“In a resume, work experiences are the subjects while measurable achievements are the grades. You only have less than 10 seconds to market yourself. That is all it takes for employers to read your resume and know you.

“Fresh graduates should keep their resumes to one or two pages. Don’t make the mistake that the longer the resume, the better.

“The information presented in the resume has to be relevant to the job,” he added.

Job seekers should ideally start planning three months before they graduate. “Every year, public and private universities produce hundred of thousands of graduates who compete in the job market. So it is important to kick-start the job hunt as early as possible.”

Fresh graduates make similar mistakes in their resumes which are not meant to be a history of every course, training and examination in their life.

“I’m not saying these are not important but highlight your skills suitable for the job you are applying for.”

There are two types of skills — specific job-related skills and transferable skills that are general and can survive the shift from one industry to another.

“Highlight the ones that match the requirements of the position — the more matches, the higher the chances of getting a job interview.

Provide relevant, important information in short, simple sentences and bullet points, and your resume will have a much higher chance of catching the right attention.

“Details such as format, standardised headings and spacing as well as font sizes make the overall appearance of the resume look well-planned. Use bullet points instead of long-winded sentences.

“State your facts, and leave out unnecessary flowery words and adjectives unless you’re applying to be a writer. Avoid unnecessary use of bold and italics, they are for emphasis only.”

Toh has developed highly effective resumes and cover letters for many clients in all fields throughout the country.

Since 2002, he has reviewed and written over 10,000 resumes for all levels of career progression including entry, junior, managerial and senior management.

He also provides coaching on effective interviewing skills and conducts workshops at universities and colleges. He recently published a book on resume-writing and interview techniques, Get Hired!

Toh studied engineering and worked in the field for several years before he switched to a career as a resume-writing specialist. “Young graduates should not limit themselves to their comfort zone and apply for jobs in their field of studies.

“Highlight qualities such as good communication skills and leadership to show their potential to employers.”

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