Don't Be Lazy, Write your Own​ Resume

Don't Be Lazy, Write your Own​ Resume

Kamal Karanth 17/05/2018 5

In a world of uncertainty, we don’t know when we will need our CVs to be ready next. Yes, there is LinkedIn for the socially active ones, but how many update it? The majority of LinkedIn profiles describe their tenure with past employers with just designations. It’s an irony that we spend very little time to describe ourselves in the world where self-projection is considered a potent weapon. 

The last time I wrote a résumé ‘peacefully’ was 22 years ago, when I was just out of college and did not worry about what needs to be in a résumé, added to the fact that the contents did not exceed a page. Recently when one of my prospective investors asked me to send a one-pager about myself, I realised life had come full circle. One page is all that matters. Anything more than that is information overload, nobody is going to read beyond that, so don’t waste your time writing long résumés. I am not kidding; the average time a recruiter takes to read a résumé is less than a minute. Not that the recruiters have got BOTS power; just that they are mandated to look for things they need, not what you want to convey — precisely the reason resume reading and matching should soon be done by machines. 

Would we still need résumés for the future? I reckon yes. The medium we use to depict ourselves may change, but we would still need to talk about our past. As much as hiring is done keeping the future potential in mind we still need an indicator of the past. That’s where a résumé is a great starting point. When did you last write your résumé for a job? I wrote mine eight years ago, but struggled with the content as I wasn't sure what my next employer wanted to see. In my view the résumé writing in the current context is flawed as 

  • More often we start by editing our last résumé or copy/paste from similar looking profiles of others, as we attend to our CV only when a recruiter calls us.
  •  We outsource it to so called professionals for a fee, either because we are lazy or we can afford it
  • Average length of résumés for working professionals today is about three long pages. We add all the details of our life and work and make it too lengthy for it to hold anybody’s interest,

If it’s your résumé why won’t you spend a couple of hours to write a page on your own from scratch as the best person who could describe you is you? Yes, there are some nuances, but they are all common sense rather than rocket science. 

We thought LinkedIn would eliminate résumés. It hasn't, yet, though it has given them a different dimension. We have pundits telling us that digital résumés are here, video résumés are the future, but I think the standard one-pager is an important part of your description. I know LinkedIn does some justice to profiles, but it also ‘curtails’ your creativity to certain extent. Video CVs will not work for many of us who are camera-shy and may become discriminatory in many ways, just like if adding your photo to the résumé enhances or diminishes it based on who is seeing it. So, what’s the secret to résumé writing in the future?

  1. Write your one-pager résumés once a year. (Some of us may need to do that more than that)
  2. Make them short and precise, be consistent with what you have on LinkedIn. Some employers have all the time in the world to see both.
  3. Your achievements are more important than your job description which is easy to reference check later. Yes, the product, technologies are important to mention, but you will know that better.
  4. It’s your résumé, not your employer’s, so don’t waste time detailing what they do. If you are working for not so famous organisations, just mention their URL for people to click on if they want to know more.

Despite all the rhetoric above let me state this:

There is nothing like working hard and making an impact on your organisation. The good word spreads and you will get calls from people who will be in awe of you.

Subsequently when they meet you the reference and reputation gets the better of you than the contents of the CV sent before that. Your own career track record in the form of assurance and confidence will take care of the interview needs.

We don’t need our CVs when we are at the peak of our success. Most often we prepare CVs when we are not performing or out of favour with our current employer.

If you haven’t got a reputation or a track record, then you will always need a well written CV, this can be your passport every two years or so when your employer finds you out.

Resumes are a chance to make your own statement, every time you copy it, it's like posing in front of somebody else's car!

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  • Matt Paterson

    Although many people can write their own CVs, and do it well, others struggle with a variety of problems such as spelling errors that's why they proofread their CV.

  • Levi Cunningham

    The more concise information you can give your CV, the better. One page is more than enough.

  • Jordan Watson

    Take the time to think about your career aims, your past achievements, and the value you bring, before you start writing your CV.

  • Mark Walpole

    A CV is used as a springboard for questions at interview, so you need to make sure you feel happy with the way it's written and with the choice of words. Never lie while writing your CV, this could backfire. HR managers are skilled at spotting gaps and mistakes.

  • Lily Grafton

    Being involved in the writing process of your CV means that it sounds more authentic.

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Kamal Karanth

Management Expert

Kamal is the Co-Founder of Xpheno, a specialist talent solutions company that offers direct hire, IT staff augmentation and engineering professional services. Xpheno brings people and companies together, to contribute to the creation of high-performing specialist workforce. Kamal holds a Bachelor degree in Microbiology from Bangalore University. 

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