Published on 7 October 2015 by Editorial
Nobody can ever underestimate how important it is to have a good resume. First impressions count, and the first impression that a potential employer will have of you, is going to depend on how you present your resume. This is going to be your one and only chance to capture a potential employer’s attention, or for your resume to be tossed into the file of those they don’t want to pursue. Each country/region in the world and every professional you talk to will have a different opinion as to how a resume should look and what it should or shouldn’t contain. What works in Detroit, may not work in Munich and perhaps wont work in Dubai. However from years of experience of working in the automotive industry in the Middle East, with the majority of the automotive organizations, we have gained a good understanding of what clients what to see in a candidate resume.
The statistics are that the average employer only spends a few seconds looking at a resume, so it is imperative that it makes an impression. In this increasingly competitive job market you need to have a professional resume that contains the right information, so that it will stand out amongst the countless other resumes that potential employers will be looking at, and give you the best possible chance of getting their attention. You need to remember that you only have a few seconds that the potential employer is going to be taking to glance at your resume, so it’s very important to make sure that all the years you have been working and studying are going to be represented properly in your resume.
There are different formats that you can chose from, when deciding on how your resume should be displayed:
A chronological resume: This is the most common type of resume format used. The chronological format lists your most recent employment history (or education) first, with your jobs appearing by date in a time line. This is the traditional method of formatting a resume, and places more emphasis on your job titles and your employment history over your skills. Chronological resumes generally work best for job seekers with a stable career progression in one or two fields. Here’s how to know if this format is for you:
Chronological resumes are best suited to the following job seekers:
- A stable work history with few breaks in your employment time line
- Staying in the same field.
- If your job titles show increased responsibility and higher position levels.
- Your past job titles match employer job requirements.
A functional resume: The functional resume will focus far more on your skills and achievements, rather than job titles and places of employment. Functional resumes give you the platform to display your skills and experiences.
This format also lets candidates gloss over gaps in their work history or play down positions that were not relevant etc. Functional resumes are best suited to the following job seekers:
- Graduates and those wanting to make a career change
- Those wanting to highlight specific skills, knowledge, or abilities.
- You’re re-entering the job market after an absence
- If you have a variety of different or unrelated work experiences
- You have large gaps in your work history
In the Middle East the most common type of resume is the chronological resume, however regardless of which type of resume you chose, what the employers are looking for, is pretty much the same. How display it, is up to you, but try as far as possible to include as much of the following information.
- Contact Information – It is extremely important to supply your contact details on your resume. Some applicants forget this basic yet very essential piece of information. Don’t forget to write your telephone or mobile number and your email address. You would be amazed at how many job seekers make mistakes when filling out their contact details.
- Career Profile – Here you should include a brief summary of your skills and areas of expertise. This will quickly give the potential employer an idea as to what you can do.
- Work Experience – Include all your work history experience, preferably including the company, job title, responsibilities and the dates of the companies where you are currently working or previously associated with.
- Achievements – list the top achievements for your last few jobs.
- Education – Include all your educational qualifications here. Ensure you include ALL your education, including licenses or certifications you have acquired.
- Skills – Mention any relevant skills in terms of software and hardware systems and other technical skills.
It is very important to ensure that you are completely honest on your resume. Don’t fiddle around with dates etc if you have been unemployed and don’t want the employer to know. Rather be upfront as resume fraud is illegal, and should they do checks, which they probably will, you can forget any chance of them employing you.
The most common question is how long should my resume be? The American 1 page resume is too short for the Middle Eastern market and the Asian 10 page resume way too long! We recommend between 3-5 pages, depending on how advanced you are in your career.
Finally, if you are going to have a picture on your resume, make sure it is a professional one – no passport photos, no selfies, and no casual pictures. A picture speaks a thousand words and you don’t want to judged on your ability as an employer by a poor quality picture!
Michael Leonard is Managing Partner Middle East & Africa for Liase Automotive Executive Search and founder of Aspiriti Automotive Recruitment.