Are you a fresh graduate on the hunt for a job? Or even a university student looking to gain experience through an internship? Then It’s time to craft a winning resume and land your dream job, but under the umbrella of many jobseekers in Bahrain and having about six seconds to knock the socks off your future employers, it’s not particularly easy.
But, we at Startup MGZN sat down with Mahmood Zeyad, Co-Founder of Majra, and are here to give you an instant makeover guide to buttering and spicing up all those juicy details about yourself to help you outshine your competitors.
- Do your research. If you really want to reel in your — hopefully — future employers, then show them how you can squeeze right in with their culture and environment. Basically, take out your reading glasses and understand what, why and how the organization is operating, their main objective, their purpose, and etcetera, whether it be a startup, a governmental institution or a corporate player. Knowing what their looking for will help you to see what qualities you should flex in the application process, and have them see it’s love at first sight.
- Brag about your achievements. I’m not saying list everything you’ve ever minimally participated in since you were six, but what you should do is highlight the relevant ones. If you’re applying for a spot as an International Relations Officer, showing off that you won the most diplomatic in a Model United Nations conference is impressive. It displays that you have experience on the field, you have interests and passions and that your intellect is not one limited by the books.
According to Mahmood, don’t forget: use your active voice, not your passive one. Because while we may express ourselves daily using the passive voice, the problem with using it on a resume is that it downplays your accomplishments. You are responsible for your own career, don’t make it sound like you stood on the sidelines and watched it happen. So, instead of saying that “profit margins grew 50%” as a result of your arrival, replace this passive formulation with “increased profit margins by 50%” that highlights success from the beginning, and as you the catalyst responsible.
That will set you apart as a candidate by making employers feel like they already know you and so, develops a personal connection. Such achievements can range from student councils, volunteer work and professional societies to clubs and innate talents, you just have to be creative enough!
- Judge a book by its cover. I know that’s not the metaphor that you’re used to hearing, but in your CV, outward appearance is very very important. Your format and design should put forth the professionalism your experiences and skills communicate in a clear and clean manner. Think of it as marketing your own individual brand — don’t get lost in the crowd. Do not, by all means, use a knock-off Instagram profile picture in your CV and especially no filters! Keep the flower crowns off your CV, you want to be taken seriously: smart and serious. Avoid paragraphs and make it concise – consider bullet points are your new best friend. Use white space liberally, leave space between various sections to avoid one huge chunk of information.
Remember, you’re trying to make it as easy as possible for employers to identify your qualities in respect to the vacancy, so help them connect the dots. You don’t have much time, and frankly neither do they, so avoid at all costs having a CV that’s too long, 1-2 pages is ultimate. “Avoid unnecessary personal information,” Mahmood emphasizes, such as your CPR and marital status. A plain white CV is similar to showing up to your interview in sweatpants, and no one wants that. One platform that will aid your success in CV Designing is Canva, that provides ready-made and personalized templates for you. So, get some cosmetics and give it a wow factor — but don’t go too crazy.
- Sell your story. Finally, a short, sharp paragraph that sits at the top of your CV is your opportunity to share your direction at the current stage of your career path. Show them you have future potential, your plan, what you want to achieve and what you dream to do as an individual in your society. Here is where you can display how your characteristics are perfect for the job, based on your research of the organization!
As easy it may sound, however, when you set out to write it, you may have a very strong impulse to talk about all your job responsibilities, making it unnecessarily lengthy and boring. Make sure you use keywords to describe your potential and give it a personal touch. Mention your concrete goals using affirmative sentences to send across your determination, and highlight your relevant achievements. It’s basically the synopsis to you, and the first thing your employer learns about you, so don’t go over the top: balance out the realism of it all.