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Writing the One-Page Resume

Starting out on the job hunt? The first thing you need is a resume - a concise one. Wall Street banker Asif Khan provides his tips to creating the perfect image of yourself -on one piece of paper.
BY Asif Khan |   05-07-2013
Asif Khan

A resume is the most important marketing tool for a job seeker – it can make, or break, your job search. It is important to put your best foot forward at every opportunity and the resume is where you have to show your absolute best – this one document represents you when you are not there and will be the key evidence used at the crucial entry point for employers who will determine if the person behind that piece of paper deserves an interview.
 
I have interacted with several students and job seekers during the course of my career, who came to me through personal and professional referrals, and have screened resumes to select candidates for my respective business organizations. In this process, I have looked at thousands of resumes over a long period of time and can assure you that no employer can spend more than a few seconds on every resume they read - this is the one chance a person gets to stand out in order to be picked from the pack – in that very first fundamental step to a job.
 
Here is my advice on the steps to writing your resume:
 
First and foremost, I am an ardent fan of learning through experiences and will ask you to look at a sample of resumes from your career services, friends and family and even the Internet. These will help to give you an idea of formatting and how to make your “career-to-date” look presentable. I would also recommend that you join linked-in, a global online business rolodex that will be useful over the coming years and give you a glimpse of other professionals and associated backgrounds.
 
Start compiling a list of internships, academic achievements, extra-curricular activities, any research or projects. Organize your thoughts in a few sentences about every such experience including your contribution and learning process.
 
Its time to put your salesperson hat on and think of key highlights related to the above experiences and hone in on the skills developed and tangible accomplishments for the purposes of the resume. Please use a consistent format, action verbs and bullet points. As I always tell students and job candidates, use bullet points for accomplishments and not for job descriptions - your job description should never exceed one or two lines.
 
Employers are not expecting miracles but are simply looking for your ability to organize your thoughts in a simple yet effective manner. Remember, you can’t lie about any of the accomplishments as this is unethical, and experienced interviewers will catch you very quickly and expose your lack of depth.
 
You resume should never have any formatting or spelling errors and be always be limited to a single page. I have 15 years of experience yet still keep a one-page resume as it is important to keep it concise and focused. I recently interviewed a candidate who had a great background but had two spelling errors on his resume. When I asked him what he thought about his attention to detail, he responded that he was very detailed and thorough - but it was hard for me to believe that given the most important document for his job search had two glaring errors in it.
 
You should know that employers like to hire people with  varied interests so anything from your hobbies to volunteer activities or related involvement speaks to you as a person so always include a few of these traits. We are all unique in some ways so think about a trait or a hobby that makes you stand out, you want to stand out from the crowd so think out of the box.
 
Last but not the least, share your resume with friends and any business contacts and get their feedback. The primary objective is for your resume to generate enough interest and curiosity leading to an interview or a conversation with the potential employer so act and work like a professional. The sooner you think like a professional, the sooner you will come across as one.
 

Asif Khan is a Wall Street banker with 15 years of experience – he has held senior roles in corporate finance, research, sales & trading in securitized products, and emerging markets. Beginning his career at Salomon Brothers in NY, he has also worked at Credit Suisse, Goldman Sachs & Morgan Stanley. He is currently Managing Director with a boutique investment banking firm in NY. Khan holds an M.B.A. from William E. Simon School at University of Rochester and a BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration) from Connecticut State University. 

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