We’re well into the latter half of 2018, but it’s never too late to go on a job hunt. Is your resume ready for human resources departments, recruiters, and calls for applications? Review it first.

Hold on… what’s the difference between a bio data (a word still used by old-school hiring managers), a curriculum vitae (CV), and a resume, anyway? Online job market Kalibrr defines it as “a temporary resume for people with no work experience or who [have] yet to graduate from college.” As for the CV and resume, The Undercover Recruiter differentiates them as such: a CV is a full, chronological record of your employment history; while a resume is more compact, and often changes depending on the job you’re applying for.

Now that we have that sorted out, we offer you a basic checklist for reviewing and updating your resume (if you’re not using services like LinkedIn or Kalibrr). Good luck, and cheers to a new career for the year!

The basics

  • These days, some companies don’t require applicants to include photos in their resumes, following international custom. But there are others (specifically, local firms) that want a 1 x 1 or 2 x 2 to go with resumes. Make sure your photo has been taken recently and taken specifically for job applications. No selfies, candids, peace signs, or finger hearts, please! Drop by your local Kodak Express, General Photo Express, or any other booth for your resume photo; and wear a collared shirt or jacket to complete your professional look.
  • It’s also okay to use your preferred name in your resume—you don’t have to put in your complete legal name on the top line. And while most HR departments are used to seeing applicants’ full residential addresses below their names, I think it’s much safer to put in your current city of residence first. They can know exactly where you live once they hire you.
  • Don’t forget to include your current contact details and e-mail address. For the latter, a good format would be [firstname][surname]@[e-mailservice].com. Leave the cutesy e-mail handle elsewhere.

The content

  • In keeping with the definition of a resume, keep yours short and sweet. Tailor the content to the job you’re applying for. Say you’re vying for a writing or editorial position, include only the part- or full-time jobs you’ve had that called for writing and editing work. Save any unrelated information for your CV instead.
  • Some items that were acceptable then are completely laughable now. Please keep details like your religion, height, weight, hobbies, grades/GPA, etc. out of your resume! Don’t add a Character References section if all you’ll say is “available upon request.” And if you’ve been in the workforce for some time now, recruiters don’t need to see your extracurriculars or graduation years.
  • Here’s a “do” instead of a “don’t.” In a 2015 article for Rappler, The Apprentice Asia winner and motivational speaker Jonathan Yabut advised that you change the standard Objectives or Objective Statement section into a brief Career Summary. The point is to provide a “solid and compelling story of what [you] can do” in just one sentence and tell the recruiter why he/she should keep reading and interview/hire you.
  • Instead of putting in generic descriptions of previous work duties and accomplishments, we suggest including a few hard stats (if available). It helps provide a clear picture of what you were tasked to do, and what you accomplished. Also, if it can’t be confirmed by your former employer or colleagues, don’t add it. The general rule is that all information in your resume has to be factual and verifiable.
  • Also, include soft skills that complement your job-related or hard skills. Soft skills are the character and interpersonal skills you possess. It helps recruiters see who you are, and if you’re a good fit for the existing office culture. Besides, hard skills aren’t the only metric for competence.
  • Edit your resume! Be ruthless with it. Make sure there are zero grammatical and typographical errors and keep your resume to a maximum of two pages. No high faluting words, and absolutely no empty claims. Most hiring managers and recruiters deal with plenty of applications every day, and odds are they’ll skim your resume for the important parts.

The aesthetics

  • Unless you’re gunning for a graphic design job, or targeting a startup that loves infographics and buzzwords, you don’t need a flashy or overdesigned resume. It’s a resume, not a brochure. For most applicants, less is more. Check out Google Docs’ or Microsoft Office 365’s simple resume templates.
  • Save your resume in .pdf format. GlassDoor suggests this naming system: [First Name][Surname]-[Application Month and Year].pdf so that recruiters will easily see your resume.

About The Author

KC Calpo is a writer and editor covering the technology, business, and lifestyle beats. She is also an MFA-Creative Writing student at De La Salle University, and an occasional book blogger at The Reading Spree (thereadingspree.com). In between assignments, she likes to read, travel, and binge-watch fantasy/sci-fi/psychological horror shows and movies.