CV and Cover Letter Tips

When writing your first resume, or updating your existing resume it may be a challenge to figure out where to start. There are lots of different types and styles of resumes and this can cause some confusion. Don’t worry, you can create a resume of any style, as long as it accurately represents who you are and highlights your skills and your abilities. Follow some of the tips below for coming up with a winning resume.

Be Focused

Before you even start writing you needed to clarify your job target. If you don’t have a clear vision of what type of career you want, you will not be able to create a resume that appeals to the people who are reading it. Remember your resume is a sales tool that should make a strong case as to why the employer would be crazy not to hire you.
If you have more than one career interest, you should probably make several resumes which are directed towards each of the areas that interest you. This is much better than a one-size-fits-all approach.
Having trouble finding your focus? Come into the PDRC and speak to one of our councilors.

Research Research Research

Go online (Free online services available at the PDRC for clients registered on the DEED) and find out everything you can about the industry that you want to be a part of, and the major employers. For instance, if you want to be part of the International Development World, find out all you can about the operations of the World Bank and the UN in Nepal and all the other big International NGOs.

The next step in your research is to try to talk to some people in the industry and find out what qualifications people are looking for. If you need to upgrade some skills, enroll in continuing education classes and see what offerings are available from the PDRC. (The PDRC offers many services including soft skill training)

Develop a Great Profile

Okay, now it is time to get down to writing and the first thing to write is definitely the hardest to write. Your resume “Profile” is the area at the top of the resume that will tell hiring managers exactly what you want. Don’t expect them to figure it out; this is your opportunity to tell them. 

In the past this section has been titled “Objectives” but times change. The old way of doing things usually had a bland statement that said something like “Seeking a challenging career in database management with opportunities for growth and advancement”. The Profile is different and emphasizes how you can help the organization: “Dynamic database programmer with advanced technical knowledge, seeking to use these strengths to solve problems with a growing software company.”
The Profile area is the perfect place to write a few hard hitting sentences that emphasizes your real talents. BUT (there is always a but) avoid loose silly phrases like “Excellent communicator’ or “People person”. These phrases are old and tired and on almost every resume from new graduates. Leave the phrases behind and soon you will be leaving the people behind as your career takes off.

Focus on Your Achievements 

In order to compete in today’s job market you must have a resume that is accomplishment focused in order to ensure you get as many interview calls as possible. If you have held a prior job, don’t focus on the boring job description, focus instead on the outcomes of your efforts. Instead of saying “Responsible for troubleshooting and maintaining 9 computers” try “Improved system stability and upgraded workstations to a more efficient operating system reducing downtime by 35%”.

For each position you have held, use action verbs and tell the story of how you benefited your employers by cutting down costs, improving service etc. 

 If you have no previous job experience you will need to be creative and look back at your school experience and make the most of it. Your club involvement and extra-curricular activities will tell the potential employer a great deal about your character and skills. 

Proofread and get Other’s opinions

Your resume must be perfect. Carefully proofread your resume to ensure proper grammar, punctuation and usage.
Often the biggest challenge of resume writing is the fact that we are writing about ourselves. You could probably more easily create a resume for your best friend than you can for yourself. This is the time, after completing to this stage, to give the resume to a friend and encourage them to look at where you undersold yourself. Get them to look, not for mistakes, but rather talents and strengths you have left out.