How to try and ensure your resume atleast gets short-listed for interview

From the HR side or the company side, one sees a lot of emails with resumes attached that have no subject line or blank contents or message contents like “I am so and so. If there is any opening for me please inform me” “Please get back to me if there is any requirement” and so on.

  • Why would a HR person who is already overloaded with many things try to open your resume?
  • Why would they take interest even to look at the resume leave aside reaching back to you in case of a requirement?

Points  to understand

Here are few points (there could be other points as well) that one can try to get noticed in a crowded market –

  1. Ensure that your resume is in MS Word format (some firewalls or companies do not allow PDF or zip or some other file formats)
  2. In the Subject line – mention JOB ID – if there is some JOB ID or some job no. then mention that else mention “Job application – new graduate but with apprentice / trainee experience or something interesting”.
  3. In the main contents mention something like “I am so and so and thank you for your time to check out my resume. While I am a new graduate, I have read about your company and its domain. Given my understanding & my education background, I could add value in so and so dept. though I am open to act as a Swiss knife and work in some dept of your choice“. Basically something that catches eye  – something that points that you are aggressive – go getter- team player – able to self-learn – can go the extra mile – don’t have ifs and buts – willing to learn – healthy – continue learning from different sources.
  4. Companies want youngsters who have skills, who are willing to learn, who are willing to stay back and understand the culture of the company, who have diverse skillsets and so on.
  5. While your lack of experience can be an handicap, you can cover that with an willingness to work as an intern for initial 1 month and prove yourself or showcase your social work (in case you are a part of a social organization) or showcase some other research or self-learning activity that you did in past few months. Key is to shine up your value offering.
  6. Close the contents with your sign with your phone no. / mail. While it is also mentioned in the resume, assume that nobody is opening your resume – so if it is at the end of the message it is handy. Thank the other person for his /her time to go through your mail.
  7. Apply a spell-check, check for capital /small letters, check for abbreviations (try not to use it as other person might be oblivious to those abbreviations), ensure that there are paragraphs and then send it to the company.
  8. If you are applying for tech position or any such position, in the hobbies section only write about some tech activity as a hobby and then some other 1 -2 other activities. (If you write 10-12 hobbies, reader might see you as a hobbiest person than a serious worker. Vice versa when you mention the job role as a hobby then your passion or interest in that work gets highlighted)
  9. If you are applying for a technical job then it is better if you can showcase via web any tech work of yours. So if you are applying for a php programmer position, it is better to showcase a php program and then ask the reader to evaluate. A prototype or a program is 10 times better than just a paper resume (similar to an image speaks more than words).

Regarding the resume

If you are experienced with even 1 – 3 years, then start with 3 – 5 bullet points highlighting your value proposition, key skills or points. Words like “Bilingual” or with “Valid Japan visa” can be of help. Basically possible keywords that the HR could be searching for could be of help as within first 15-20 sec the destiny of the resume gets decided.

( You can also mention 2- 3 types of job roles or titles that you think you can fit – in case you are not specifically applying against any particular job id)

How employer shortlist candidates?

In the projects section or company section – keep the information re. the project or company to one line but what you actually did or what you contributed or learnt in the project would be more important to the reader. (Many times candidates write about the company or the project being of 500 man month project etc and then one liner for yourself “Created test specs and executed test cases”. )

In case you have no experience – then you can mention any community project that you have done or any project that you did or any particular technical concept that you have tried and gained some insights. These things give the reader an idea about your mindset or your way of thinking or approach to a problem.

Lastly either in the cover letter or in the resume you can cover few points to plug any negative.

Eg. A negative would be non-experience where you can write that “I know that I have no experience but here is a link where you can check 2 of my programs that I have written in spare time and I can answer any question related to that” or “Upon selection, if I am found to be not putting efforts or unable to grasp, I would go ahead and fire myself”

Another negative could be too much of job changes – Too many job change is a No-No in corporate world. Here it is bit tricky. Safe is to play transparent and close to truth as possible. “I have changed jobs to seek growth in terms of bigger scope and role. While I was at these companies even for a short time, I have added value and ensured that I have delivered them an ROI. But going forward I realized that there was no growth beyond 2-3 years and neither they were able to show me path forward and hence I made a move – now I am looking to stabilize at the same time looking for an opportunity that is a challenge”

Basically something that can reduce the impact.

There are many more points but key is to give due time to research the firm you are applying as well as understand as to why you want to go there and how it could help them as well as you. And then when this interest or passion is put forth through the resume or the cover letter there is a high chance that your resume gets selected by the HR dept..

Wishing you a Happy Job searching.

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