Looking at the 77 eagle-eyed students from Ngee Ann Polytechnic who have come to spend their precious Saturday with me reminds me so much of my own days back then when I was still a student. Aptly titled the resume writing and interview skills workshop, this is the highlight for every student as he or she enters the final year very soon.
 
I find it a true honour to be invited to do this workshop again. Because I know if every student learns the art of crafting a good resume, it will make a huge difference in whatever path he or she chooses to take post-graduation. 
 
After graduation, there are generally two options you can consider. The first is to look for a job. The second is to pursue further studies. Interestingly, both options require you to present a meaningful case for yourself. This often comes in the form of a resume. 
 
In universities where places in popular courses such as business, medicine or law, it is customary for an applicant to send a resume to the faculty for consideration as well.
 
There is nothing sacred or mysterious about the resume. Just think of your resume as your self-introduction to the world. 
 
I’ve been asked these two questions so many times that it just rolls off my tongue – is there such a thing called the perfect resume? And if it exists, how can I create the perfect resume?
 
I’m happy to tell you that yes the perfect resume does exist. And I’m now going to share with you 3 tips on how you can create it.

 
Resume Tip #1: Decide On The Right Format

Generally, there are two formats to the resume – choose between the chronological and functional. For fresh graduates, I will always advocate using the chronological format. 
 
As the name suggests, the chronological format allows you to list your most information first. This is important as employers can at first glance see what your most recent achievements are, without having to pan downwards.

For mid-career entrants or jobseekers with ample work experience, you can consider using the functional format as it offers you more scope to express your experience in prose.
 
 
Resume Tip #2: Focus on The Content
 
You need to package the resume in such a way that it looks impressive. As you only have two pages maximum (the first page is a snapshot of your personal data, educational qualifications, work experience and achievements; there really is a challenge to squeeze everything in. Page two is reserved for your referees).
 
When talking about content, I cannot not mention the overall presentation of the resume. Be selective intellectually.

Don’t put everything in the resume as it will look too crammed. Aesthetics is important. List down everything that you can remember. Then choose the ones that will make you stand out.
 
A typical case in point – some students asked me if they should indicate they completed their PSLE. 
 
What do you think?
 
Comparing your PSLE with your GCE ‘O’ Levels, which holds more weight? 

 
Resume Tip #3: Sell Yourself With The Right Language

As Asians, many of us are shy to showcase our talents and capabilities. But let me remind you – if you don’t allow your resume to shine, you will never have the chance to get that dream career you want!

Words can make or break us. And often words too have the powers of persuasion. Thus, it will be good if you use persuasive language in your resume to ‘sell’ yourself to your prospective employer. And very often, I’m emphasizing using action verbs. 
 
Consider this: “assisted” versus “teamed up with”.
 
Who wants to be a mere assistant? You are better off being a minion instead! 
 
On the contrary, the verb “teamed up with” not only gives an impression that you are resourceful to find like-minded people to work on a project, it also sends across a connotation that you are a team-player. In this new economy, no employer will want to hire a conceited, think-he-knows-it-all employee.

 
I love experiential learning and getting things done on the spot. That was also why I made it mandatory for students to bring along their laptops so that they could finish up their resumes before they left the lecture hall. Imagine getting your resume done, and checked personally by me…that is the real value all will walk away with at the end of today’s resume writing and interview skills workshop.

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It’s the start of a brand new year. Welcome 2016!

 
Back during school days, I remember teachers mentioning about the great American dream which struck a chord in me where "that dream of a land in which life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement.” 

Yes, I fully agree we all want a better life!
 
Closer home and while growing up, I observed Singaporeans pursuing our own Singapore dream in the form of the 5Cs - cash, car, credit card, condominium and country club. 
 
While materialism is largely good as it means we have a comfortable life, let us not forget there will always be other non-material related Cs we can pursue.
 
I’ve often been asked what the key ingredients to a successful business are. If you ask me, there are 5Cs that I always employ in both my businesses and daily life. Here’s sharing my 5Cs to business success.
 

#1: C Is For Courage
 
Courage is doing what is right, even if it is not a popular decision.
 
An example would be learning to say no to certain groups of people who come your way. Well, not everyone is going to be your client. Those who haggle over price and cannot see the value will definitely not be mine.
 
Rather than be a small fish in a big ocean, I would rather you be a big fish in a small pond instead. You dominate the field and become the industry leader. In other words, it is better to go niche.
 

#2: C Is For Confidence
 
Confidence is what separates the lions from the lambs. You may be good at your craft but unless you exude it, others will not know how good you are. 
 
Being confident is simply knowing your stuff so well that you become a walking repository of information. When asked or quizzed, you are able to handle all questions skillfully and leave your audience or client impressed. 
 
Confidence is innate but it is a valuable skill that can be mastered over time. All you need is practice, lots of practice.
 
Personally, confidence comes from the way you carry yourself and how you communicate with others. In short, it is equivalent to your brand.
 
If you are confident, you can even melt the coldest person on earth.

 
#3: C Is For Capability

We all have strengths that we are proud of. Rather than harping on our weaknesses and the need to improve upon them, I would rather you focus on your strengths and display them to the fullest. 
 
Successful business owners do not do everything themselves. They find others who are able to complement them. So if you know you are not so good in a particular area, then you should find someone who is an expert in that area so he/she will be a good fit for you.
 
Learn to play up your strengths and do what you are good at. I’m 100% positive you will be a much happier person too.

 
#4: C Is For Commitment
 
Never give up until you succeed. Always remember that Rome wasn’t built in a day. The main reason why most people never make it is because they give up too easily. Yes the going may be tough, but the tough gets going too.
 
This applies to all spheres of life – whether it is in business, personal relationships or working out in the gym.
 
There is a thin line between commitment and stubbornness though. Being stubborn means doing the same thing over and over again despite knowing the end result will still be disappointment.

Being committed on the other hand is different. It entails remaining passionate and aligning (and constant re-aligning) both systems and processes to meet the end goal.

 
#5: C Is For Creativity
 
I am creative because I do things differently from others. This gives me the comparative advantage. You can also call it my Unique Value Proposition (UVP). 
 
Imagine if you are competing in a particular industry and replicating exactly what your competitors are doing, I will worry for you.
 
Creativity is not just reserved for musicians, actors or designers. As business owners, it is imperative for all of us to be creative.
 
The good news is we all have creative genes in us. The onus is on you whether you want to activate those genes. Start by undergoing a brainstorming session and before your self-righteous genes jump up and start telling you those new ideas will not work, keep going and tell yourself there are no bad nor stupid ideas. 
 
Thanks for reading. Do share if you like :)

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