The Sunday Times guide to

The Sunday Times pieces together a template for an ideal resume, culled from tips provided by eight recruitment firms and HR directors across various industries. To use this guide, simply replace the examples below with your personal details.
Personal particulars (I)
▪ Photo: Not necessary unless required or when applying for a position where presentation is important, such as in sales or marketing. Should be an indoor shot no bigger than passport size. No provocative poses or party or holiday pictures. ▪ E-mail address: E-mail account with one’s name and surname as a user ID to seem professional. No funny userids like jellybean, as one Sunday Times reader had.

From the HR experts

A clear career objective
A short sentence outlining your career ambitions would help an employer understand what positions you are best suited for, and show that you know what you want. It should of course be an objective that is related to the job you are applying for.

Career objective
▪ Short sentence describing your career goals and how you hope to develop professionally.

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A concise career summary
A career summary, or a short paragraph summarising your work history and strengths, helps a prospective employer understand at a glance what you are capable of.

Career summary
▪ A few sentences summarising your work history and achievements and personal strengths. ▪ This is basically one chance to sell yourself to recruiters at a glance.

Focus on achievements on the job rather than responsibilities
Job responsibilities are similar across different companies. What is different are your achievements, which will differentiate you from other applicants.

Work experience
▪ Reverse chronologically listed. ▪ No gaps in between. Travel breaks, entrepreneurial stints or career gaps should be explained. ▪ First list the position and the company then the dates. ▪ Explain reasons for leaving the company. Avoid stating that it is for personal reasons.


Use of action words and active sentences
Your achievements should be listed in short, clearly written phrases. Use active words such as directed, managed, planned or increased. For example, instead of saying you were ‘part of a product design team’ you could say you ‘facilitated meetings for the product development team which led to cost savings due to reduced miscommunication between departments’.


Educational background
▪ Do not have to list all the subjects taken at each institution. ▪ List achievements if possible, ie, awards, scholarships, distinctions. ▪ Remove those that are irrelevant. ▪ Fresh grads could do well to list referees if they have done reseach work with renowned faculty. ▪ Fresh grads should list CCAs because employers want to see team work and leadership qualities.

Chronologically arranged and two to three pages long. Five pages is the maximum
Your work experiences and educational background should be arranged in a reverse chronological order, starting with the latest job held and with no gaps in between. The period when you weren’t working should be explained. List the information in bullet points. Recruiters are busy people and often have no time for long-winded resumes.

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A generic resume
A pet peeve of recruiters are resumes that do not highlight what qualities or qualifications the candidate possesses that are relevant to the position being applied for.

Hobbies or personal info
▪ Do not list too many – only those relevant to the position applied for.

▪ Say can be provided on request, as some industries are so niche that listing it directly may have you judged even before you get the chance to be interviewed.

Grammatical errors and typo mistakes
If you are sloppy in your resume, employers will assume you are a careless person or that you will lack enthusiasm for the job should you be hired.

▪ Type font 12 in common font like Times New Roman. ▪ Save in the lowest version of Word document to ensure that all parties can open it. ▪ About two or three pages long is fine, no longer than five ▪ No fanciful formatting or coloured or scented paper that can distract the reader.

Lack of personal details and contact information
Personal particulars and contact information should be clearly indicated at the front of the resume.

Poorly presented photographs
A picture can speak a thousand words. One showing you looking sloppy or sexually provocative may indicate you are not serious enough about the job. Avoid holiday snapshots too.

Personal particulars (II)
▪ Age: Unless the position is a physically demanding one where age matters, it can be left out. ▪ Nationality: For job vacancies that make a distinction between locals or foreigners.


Expected salary
This should not be mentioned until the final stages of the recruitment process. Recruiters with a budget in mind may skip candidates who overstate their expected salaries.

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