This was first published on Medium by Mohammad Danish Siddiqui.It was these words – “but I don’t know what you did,” on a phone call which made me realize that I have been creating my resumes all wrong. I have created numerous resumes trying to make them look very different from others in the stack. I tried experimenting with different layouts and styles reordering some headings and stuff so the things that I think were most important were on the top. Somehow one of my resumes did caught an eye of the interviewer who told me that my resume looks good, but he doesn’t know how good I am.
So the whole purpose of resume is not to show how creative can you be in creating resumes but to show how good you are for the position you are applying for. So what I did wrong which you shouldn’t be doing is
Focusing more on styling than content
I am pretty good at creating resumes using Photoshop so that I can make them look different with all those color schemes and effects. I was trying to find a job as a game developer and tried to give my resumes an artistic look giving them a more gamified feel so that it would be more suitable to my job.
The above resume might look good to the normal readers, but it isn’t as good for the employer. The resume might look creative or at least different from most of the resumes you see, but there is a major mistake. It is not telling how good I am, it does say that I have worked on a couple of projects but what part did I play in the project?
Not writing what I actually did
So you have just 20 seconds to make your resume catch the eye of the reader, with in those 20 seconds either you’ll be called for an interview or your resume will be thrown away. This is what we have been told by all those popular sites, but they forget to mention, “Don’t make it necessarily that short so that you miss out important stuff.”
So this time I tried keeping it more simple, instead of going to two pages, I utilized the columns and used a small font. It is still bigger than a normal A-4 size, it’s just the Photoshop letting me show it as one image.
The resume does highlight my achievements and shows some of my skills that I think I have but no where in the resume I have written about what I did with those skills. Every other resume says that the candidate wants to work in a highly creative environment on challenging tasks, but have you done something already? How do I know that you are ready to take on those challenging tasks? Are you fit for our fast paced culture? What tasks have you accomplished with your skills?
What you should do
Describe every thing you were responsible for
So when I realised that my resume doesn’t say much about me, I tried to be more specific and less artistic this time.
Describing what roles have you been into and what you did there. This time resume tells a bit more about me that, I was responsible for creating games, participating in meetings, discussing ideas etc. This time I am more focused on telling my role as a software engineer and discussing about what I did being in that role. If you have a lot to tell, don’t go for paragraphs use bullets instead.
Just listing down the projects doesn’t work neither writing down what project does is good. You should write what you did in the projects you have listed. Every project I have written lists down the tasks I have accomplished.
Resumes is your fist contact with your employer, so definitely you should be telling him what skills you have, what have you accomplished, what roles you have been into, how are you a perfect fit for their company. Therefore instead of focusing on styling and looks of your resume you should be focused on delivering the right content.