A Fresh Grad's Guide to Resume Writing: What to Include + How to Stand Out

by Erwin Colcol for spot.ph   |  Sep 5, 2022
Image: Pexels Art: Ines Munoz
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Writing a resume is always tricky since it's the single, most important document that could make or break an applicant's chances of landing a job.

At a time when many employees seek better opportunities as they adjust to the new normal, it's possible that one's resume could get lost among hundreds of other applications. That's why it's important for applicants to know how to stand out, a human resources expert said.

"Paano nakakatulong yung impressive summarizes? Malaki yung importance because the resume really highlights ano yung experience, yung educational attainment, yung job history nung applicant pati yung kanyang competencies," senior human resources manager Michelle Morales told reportr.

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What are the essentials of a resume?

The resume summarizes the most relevant personal and professional information that an employer needs to know about an applicant. It highlights the skills and competencies that could show a prospective employee's fitness to the position he or she is applying for.

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"Nagiging impressive yung resume if the applicant can customize or at least match yung kanyang competencies, skills and knowledge doon sa position and doon sa industry," Morales said.

A resume can come in various formats, and is often interchanged by employees and employers with the curriculum vitae or CV.

While both documents serve as an applicant's introduction to the hiring manager, the resume is shorter and is used for entry to mid-level applications, while the CV is much longer and is submitted for higher level positions that require more work experience, according to Morales.

"For example, mag-aapply ka in an academe, siyempre CV yan. Kapag naman fresh grad ka, resume will do," Morales said, adding that a resume is usually only one to two pages long.

"Nagma-matter din yung position level. So for example experienced ka na and you are applying for a supervisory level, CV yung pwede mong i-send kasi at least maha-highlight mo doon yung mga achievements from your previous companies," she also said.

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What should you include in the resume? Aside from your personal information such as your name and contact details, the key elements of a resume are your skills and competencies relevant to the job you are applying for, as well as your educational attainment and work experience.

"Kapag sa resume, talagang summary ng skills or competencies mo, educational attainment, yung qualifications mo. Whereas sa CV naman, mas comprehensive siya, parang detailed synopsis ng career mo," Morales said.

How can you make your resume stand out?

While there is no hard and fast rule in writing a resume, knowing what hiring managers look for can give you an edge over other applicants for the position you are gunning for.

For those who are ready to try to try their luck in their chosen careers, here are some tips from Morales on how to write an effective and impressive resume:

Start with your skills

For many HR managers like Morales, the applicant's skills and competencies are his most important assets. That's why it's always good to put them above everything else in your resume.

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"Kung ipa-pattern mo siya, what are your strengths, your skills, your competencies, yun yung gusto makita ng mga recruiter," Morales said.

"Kailangan yung ilalagay mo doon is yung something na hinahanap nung recruiter or ng company which is based doon sa kanilang job posting. So kapag nabasa ko na yan at nandun yung keywords, magiging interested na akong basahin yung next part," she added.

After your skills and competencies, you can now indicate your educational attainment and work experience. For fresh graduates, Morales suggested to include their internship. For applicants with previous work experience, make sure that you highlight your key skills and learnings from your past positions.

It would also help if you put your achievements in the resume, Morales said. For fresh graduates, indicate your membership in the organizations you joined in college which could show your work ethic and experience in the your chosen field.

Customize your resume

Update your resume every time you intend to send an application to ensure that it is tailor-fit to the position you are applying for. This will increase your chances of getting shortlisted as the hiring manager will see that your skills and competencies match with what they are looking for, Morales said.

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"Nasanay tayo na meron lang tayong template sa resume. Doon nagkakaroon ng gap, kasi ang resume dapat kino-customize din siya depende sa industry o sa position na ina-applyan mo," Morales said.

For example, if you are applying to be join a company's creatives team, make sure to include your proficiency in various graphic tools and software. If you are looking to join the media industry, indicate what types of writing you can do, and attach some writing samples.

"Kailangan yung ilalagay mo doon is yung something na hinahanap nung recruiter or ng company which is based doon sa kanilang job posting," Morales said.

Include a photo

As the resume is a tool to introduce the applicant to the employer, Morales suggested to include a photo at the top part of the document --- just make sure that it is taken professionally.

"For applicants, iisipin dapat nila yung perspective ng recruiter. ' Paano ba ako makikilala ng recruiter?' So ako personally I still prefer na meron pa ring professional photo doon sa resume, though hindi rin naman ako masyado tumitingin doon," she said.

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"It's just that if you want the recruiter to really get to know you better, that's your way of introducing yourself to the recruiter," she added.

Send your resume in a professional way

Don't just send your resume for the sake of sending one. If you are applying for a job online, make sure that subject and body of your email are still written in a professional manner. It would also help if you would write a short cover letter for your application.

"Kahit maganda yung resumes, pero kung paano siya sinend is not so pleasing sa mata ng recruiter, wala rin," Morales said.

"The moment that you submitted your resume, yun na yung start ng recruitment. Kaya professionalism is very important," she added.

Michelle Morales is a psychometrician, human resources manager, and co-founder of Leading with Success, an eLearning company which aims to infuse positivity in the workplace.

This story originally appeared on Reportr.world.

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* Minor edits have been made by the Candymag.com editors.

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