“How to start building a good résumé?”


Author: Larry Medina (Head of Career Services, Alumni & Corporate Relations) at ESSEC Asia-Pacific


It is critical to understand the skills you have against the requirements for the target role. I touched on this in my last #ESSECAPAC Career Tips series. I’ll expand on it this week. 

Most people build their résumé by putting together a chronological list of work experiences and education. From this point onwards, I recommend that you view yourself as a walking portfolio of skills. 

Understanding your skills and highlighting them through your achievements is the first step in building a good résumé.

Before writing your résumé, the first step is to audit your abilities and fully understand your portfolio skills. 

You can start with your current résumé. If you do not have one, write down all of your responsibilities and achievements that you have had during your internships or full-time roles. Then, for each item, analyze the skill that it represents. 

For example, let’s say you have the achievement, “Negotiated a product distribution contract in Thailand, Indonesia, and Singapore, increasing sales by 10% while maintaining margins.” 

With this achievement, you can add negotiation, cross-cultural understanding, product pricing, and product costing to your portfolio of skills. You can use this same approach with your co-curricular activities.  

For example, “Captained football team to the regional championship” would highlight your leadership, teamwork, and communication skills. 

It is time-consuming to do this but once you have completed an audit, you will understand your overall portfolio of skills and which ones you use regularly.  

You will also have an advantage because most candidates do not take the time to understand their complete set of skills fully. This approach will give you confidence that you have plenty of marketable skills to highlight in your résumé.  

After you complete this, you will always be able to compare any job description to your list of skills and map it back to the exact responsibility or achievement that represents that skill.  It will make customizing your résumé for specific roles much more manageable.    

To recap, the first important step is to understand your portfolio of skills. One should do a skills audit by reviewing a complete list of responsibilities and achievements and documenting the skills that they represent. Having a good understanding of your skills will have other benefits that we will discuss in my future career tips. 

 Larry Medina is the Head of Career Services, Alumni & Corporate Relations at ESSEC Asia-Pacific Business School. For more career tips, follow #careertipswithlarry.  Read previous tips from this series.

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