Your resume has a single task— catch the eye of the recruiter and get you shortlisted from a bunch of qualified candidates. It is not an autobiography, but a sales pitch telling a story in a visually appealing manner, while highlighting key elements to get a favourable decision. It is not based on lies or fiction that can destroy your career. Here’s how you can spruce up your resume.

What will you include?

Make your story relevant and not comprehensive. Tailor your resume to the job description provided. Talk about latest job first —in reverse chronological order and keep education below work experience. Include your hobbies only if you are a fresher and can showcase your extracurricular achievements instead of professional experience. If you have 15 to 30 years of work experience, club the first 10-20 years under a single heading. To share additional details, include your LinkedIn profile, your website containing your design portfolio or your finance blog that demonstrates your market expertise and reputation.

Display due diligence

Avoid careless mistakes on your CV as it conveys either a lack of seriousness about the job or worse – an inability to do a job well. Use a spell checker for errors. Read each sentence backwards to weed out similar sounding words and typos. Read it aloud to see if the sentences make sense. Click on each link on the pdf to see if they work. Finally, have at least two other pairs of eyes rechecking your hard work.

DON’T RISK YOUR CAREER

Forge it

It’s a terrible idea to forge a document to get a job. A fake experience letter, photo-shopped salary slips or a fraudulent degree are caught during the employer’s verification process with a past employer or university, leading to a criminal case at worst and negative references in the industry for the rest of your career.

Jazz up your past

It’s easy to lapse into overselling and claim sole responsibility for someone else’s achievement or inflate one’s skills. Recruiters have tons of experience with candidates and ask detailed or indirect questions to expose the truth about how the only real contribution was accompanying the boss on sales calls.

Mess up online

Online social verification is the done thing. Every employer will check out potential hires on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even coding platforms if relevant. If not yet done, it’s time to tidy up your professional profile and clean up your angry rants, embarrassing pics and posts to the extent possible.

Pile on the lies

Worse than lying on a resume is trying to cover it up or defend it thus increasing the negative consequences. If you have already submitted or posted a false resume, choose to correct it or withdraw your application before you are in the docks. If that is not possible, come clean at the earliest and apologise for the error.

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