Firstly, what is a resume? The technical definition of what a resume is, it’s a short and concise document that speaks about your education, work experience and skills that will help the employer evaluate if you are fit for the job posted.
From this definition, the apparent purpose of a resume is to provide a summary of your professional profile with the ultimate goal of matching the right profile for the job position. But what’s the real purpose of this document?
The resume is a tool you use to market yourself. Ultimately, you are promoting yourself as the most suited candidate for the posted job vacancy. The work experience, trainings and skills that you put in your resume will determine whether you have the capacity to take on the position.
The resume is the first document that gets to the hands of the hiring manger or HR officer. Way even before you can speak to these people, your resume has done the initial talking for you. It will speak on your behalf as a candidate for the position. While the document is not comprehensive and cannot speak fully of your capabilities and character, it does make quite an impression for you. If not done properly, a bad resume can cost you your application.
Because it is a tool, you can either make the most out of it or misuse it. A resume properly done is concise, and compelling. This means it should not be as long as curriculum vitae, but it should have compelling information that shows you as a match for the position.
A resume gets you in the initial steps of the screening process. As a marketing tool, it allows you to capture the attention of the employers. In reality, it does not get you the job, but it does weed out the ones that are not fit for it. The initial screening purpose of the resume allows for those that are not fit for the job to not reach the interview, and conversely, for those who have what it takes to make it to the next stage.
This is precisely the reason why it’s a bad idea to fake the information or be inaccurate about the details in your resume. Should you make it to the interview part, you won’t be able to defend the data stated in your resume. You would have wasted both your interviewer’s time and yours, not to mention earning a bad reputation. So it pays to be truthful about what you put in your resume.
As a marketing tool, your resume has to be well thought of. Cramming an outdated resume is a recipe for disaster. This will leave you with desperate attempts to make your resume look good and is usually the reason why people invent things. It is best practice to constantly update your resume, as often as you conduct your appraisal at work.
This allows you to really understand what your achievements are, thus, making your resume not only truthful about your viability as a candidate, but also most compelling out of the others.