It is internship, work immersion, and on-the-job training (OJT) season once again. And before you know it, you’ll be graduating, hunting for a job that suits you, and paying your bills. But prior to reaching that destination, you’d have to deal with the nightmare that is job application. Searching here and there for companies you’d like to work for a long time is one thing, but working on your application requirements is another. Many fresh graduates struggle to get past this stage because they don’t know what to put on their résumé and portfolio.
Do not sweat it. Truth be told, there is no one-size-fits-all formula when it comes to creating your résumé or portfolio. But you can definitely strategize an approach to ace that job application and bag your dream job.
First off, let us define what a résumé is and how it differs from a CV.
A résumé (“to sum up” in French) is a short, concise document presenting a brief overview of essential information about one’s work experience, educational background, and skills. It is usually one to two pages long and is used for job applications.
On the other hand, a Curriculum Vitae (Latin for “course of life”) or CV is a longer, more comprehensive document that details the entire course of one’s career, including one’s education, professional career, awards, notable projects, and other achievements. A CV has no length limit as it depends on the individual’s level of experience. A CV is also typically used for academic purposes such as grants or research fellowships.
Here are some things you have to remember when creating your résumé:
- Keep it brief, concise, and easy to read (simplicity is key!)
- Mention only the information relevant to the job position you’re applying for (most applicants forget this!)
- Remember to tailor your résumé depending on the particular job requirements and industries you’re targeting
- Be straightforward. It’s a résumé, not a novel.
- Remember that recruiters do not have the luxury of time to read every single detail about you. Be direct.
- Keep it to one page only. We know we said résumés can be up to two pages long but recruiters like them shorter. The shorter, the better. It’s a summary after all.
- Put your preferred pronouns, if you’re comfortable doing so.
- Include an objective or purpose statement. Make sure it’s specific and practical though.
- Remember to proofread your résumé before sending it. You don’t want to have a bad impression on the company/ies you’re applying for (the recruiters will thank you!).
- Avoid putting false information about yourself.
- Use colorful layouts and distracting designs. You will not earn a bonus point for that
- Include a 2×2 photo, a 1×1 photo, or any photo of yourself for that matter (unless you’re applying to be a model)
- Mention unnecessary personal information
- Include irrelevant work experience or achievements
- Put details that are not related to the job you’re applying for (yes, including that one seminar you attended in high school)
- Apply for a job you’re not qualified for. Make sure you meet the minimum qualifications, skill set, and experience. This is to save you some time.
- Include your salary expectations
- Lie about your achievements, experiences, and skills
- Put improper email addresses
You may check out Zety for quicker résumé-building. Beyond its wide selection of résumé templates, which you can customize depending on the layout and color scheme that you like, Zety also offers job application tips from experts.
Aside from résumés and CVs, portfolios are also essential to amp up your job applications. Here are some things you have to remember when creating your portfolio:
- Compile and curate your portfolio to show only your best or favorite works.
- Showcase the type of work you want to do professionally. You’re applying for a job after all.
- Provide context, especially if the works you’re presenting include images or designs that not everyone can understand easily.
- Consider the user interface (UI) of your portfolio site.
- Make it easy and pleasant to look through. Avoid complicated designs.
- Keep the “About” page short and sweet. Write one paragraph that says who you are, what kind of work you like to do, and a little bit about your experiences.
- Remember that images are important.
- Add important links if you can. If you have a blog site or a published article on a website, you may include the link to it.
- Show your personality. As much as you want to impress the company/ies you’re applying for, you need to make sure that your portfolio screams you.
- Include everything you’ve created. We know you want to impress the company/ies you’re applying for but only choose the works that stand out.
- Use a distracting layout or design
- Mention unnecessary information or details
- Show only one type of work. Do you take photographs and write articles at the same time? You can include both in your portfolio.
- Forget to update your portfolio from time to time
- Make your portfolio too complicated to navigate
For easier portfolio-making, you may check out Behance. With Behance, you may show off your best projects and most creative work in just a few steps, and the best thing about this platform? It’s FREE. It also acts as a social media platform where you can connect with fellow professionals.
Job applications may look easy but they sure take a lot of time, hard work, and tons of proofreading. Remember that these are just some things you may consider when applying for one. There is no definite formula when it comes to creating your portfolio or résumé.
Good luck and get that job you’ve been eyeing for!