With January and February known as the most popular hiring months, it’s time to either create or update your resume. If you’re writing your first resume, we know just how nerve-wracking it can be and have asked Sarah from Weber Shandwick Malaysia for help with a step-by-step guide. She oversees their internship program, which has provided her with years of recruiting experience. Read on for her tips on how you can put together an effective resume:

1. Don’t forget the basics!

Always include your name, phone number, email and address – these are the first things employers see and learn about you. An address allows them to know where you’re based. If you’re afraid of adding a photo because you don’t want to be judged – forget that perception! Include a smartly dressed photo of yourself to make it more personal, and put a face to the name.

2. Keep it short and crisp

Employers might have a minimal amount of time to review your resume, especially if they have a few to go through, so it’s important to make it a seamless process for them. Avoid submitting more than 3 pages (1 is ideal) by placing your information in easy-to-read columns or tabs. Summarise the content or use shorter sentences to provide a clearer and more concise picture – be careful of using jargons or short-forms that the interviewer might not understand. 

3. Highlight your skill set

Remember, your resume should showcase a skill set that matches the job’s requirements. Elaborate on the relevant work you’ve done and frame it well – for example, instead of saying “contacted F&B vendors for an event”, you can present it as “managed F&B requirements for an event”. You would also need to highlight your proficiency in certain work tools/programmes e.g. if your work requires video editing, include what programmes you use and are well-versed in.

4. Add your important achievements

Got a milestone you’d like to mention? This is your time to shine! Add the awards you’ve won, such as ‘Employee of the Month’, to help prospective employers see why you would be a valuable employee. Think of your resume as an advertisement for yourself.

5. List down your past experiences

Don’t just share where you’ve worked, but also, how you’ve contributed to each company – and your best work! Details are important here (to showcase the extent of your work scope), but only highlight the key ones not every employer you’ve worked with.

6. Include your education and certification 

Share your educational background and, more importantly, your professional certification for industries/careers where it is a prerequisite – for example, accountancy and financial planning.

7. Have references

Some companies may want to check in with referees to get a better sense your work style and capabilities. Make sure you suggest referees who can give an objective overview of your work experience and, if possible, someone who is central to the work you did (such as a direct supervisor). 

8. Prepare supporting materials

Compile your academic transcripts, sample essays (including ones in the languages you are proficient in) or other work you’ve done (in any form e.g. photos, videos or designs). Always ask the interviewer if they require supporting materials, so you can prepare them for their reference. 

9. Don’t overlook the design

You don’t have to be a designer to put together a clean, readable resume – simply make sure the formatting and alignment are in order. However, if you are a design student and the job you’re applying for is in the creative industry, you might consider adding shapes and colours, or using a more eye-catching layout to showcase your creativity and stand out from the crowd.

10. Make sure you proof read!

Some prospective employers may be put off if there are too many errors – this shows poor quality control and an inability to pay attention to detail. For a better first impression, make sure the language used is grammatically correct. Check your resume several times for grammar and spelling errors.

Even if you have a job, keep updating your resume so it’ll always be ready to send out. Who knows, an amazing job opportunity may come around and you’d want want to apply for it right away. Good luck!