A Step-By-Step Guide to Resume Writing in Malaysia – With Samples!
Are you here because you want to know what on earth is a resume and have no idea what to do? Well, fret not! Because we have a step by step guide to crafting an awesome resume. And don’t worry, it won’t be as difficult as assembling that Ikea drawer in your room.
Disclaimer: for the purpose of this article, I will only be using the word “resume”. I am well aware that in some countries, CV and resume have different meanings. Here in Malaysia, however, there is no real difference between CV and resume. It is treated as the same.
I hope this clarifies any confusion and misunderstanding.
If you do not wish to go through the whole article, we have prepared some sample resumes for different types of career path for you!
- Business Resume
- IT Resume
- Engineering Resume
Many people don’t seem to understand and tend to oversee the importance of using a resume template. Imagine this, employers go through dozens and dozens of resumes for every job. After a period of time, it can get monotonous.
If you use a template that is too plain or generic, your resume can get lost in the shuffle. Thus, it would not be able to stand out amongst all the other candidates.
Having said that, if you are struggling to come up with a suitable canvas to start off your resume, fret not! With the convenience of the internet, there are a lot of template options available in just a few clicks away.
With these templates laid out before you, a foundation has already been created for you. Subsequently, you will realise that the process is much smoother and easier than you think.
You can choose your desired template from Microsoft Word, Novoresume or Canva. Or go ahead and click on one of our samples. And if you still have not found your preferred one, there are plenty on other websites, just Google them!
Having a format that is neat and well-constructed really does help employers scan through your resume more effectively. On average, employers only take 6 seconds to scan through your resume. For that reason, I would suggest that you make the most of that time by having an organised resume.
- Use fonts that are easy to read (Eg. Arial, Helvetica, Calibri). Avoid using overly-fancy fonts. The standard font size is 12.
- Keep your resume at 2 pages max. Be sure to include only relevant and valuable information.
- Use bullet points to make sure employers are able to see the information you provide at one glance. Combining 5 to 6 lines in a densely compacted paragraph renders the reader to overlook several main points.
- Select appropriate margins. Recommended line spacings are 1.15 and 1.5 with a 1-inch margin size on all sides. Cutback on the amount of white space shown on your resume. You would be surprised on the number of pages you are able to reduce by doing this.
- Craft your resume according to the job or industry you are applying for. For example, if you are applying for a graphic designer position, your resume would be more visual-inclined as compared to the resume of a software engineer.
3. Contact Information
The mandatory 4 basic information about yourself are:
- Full name
- Current location (It is not compulsory to include your full address). Do include in your resume if you are willing to travel/relocate.
- Primary e-mail address
- Handphone number
Optional: Featured pages / accounts / portfolios / profile picture
Avoid giving out irrelevant details. Your employer will request for you to fill up a form during your interview if they require these informations.
4. Personal Profile
Your introduction is basically your first pitch to your employer. Some employers have to read tons of resume and they merely skim through each of them. The best way to catch their attention is by writing an awesome introduction.
You can write about:
- Who you are
- Write about your drive
- Highest qualification
- Recent work experience
- End with your value/ career goal
Make sure all the information is relevant to the position you’re applying for.
5. Work Experience or Education, which one comes first?
You might be thinking which one should come first, work experience or education?
The answer is BOTH!
Well, let’s break it down this way…
Generally, if you are a student with no work experiences or internship, education should come first. Followed by any extra-curricular or voluntary activities.
On the other hand, if you have a great number of working experiences, your working experience should come first. Followed by your education section, extra-curricular and voluntary activities.
Relevancy is the key here.
Similarly, your experiences should always be in REVERSE CHRONOLOGICAL order.
It is vital to include your achievements under your experiences.
Many people tend to overlook this step because they do not realise that including your achievements show employers what you are capable of bringing to the table.
If I was an employer, I have received 2 different resumes (resume A & resume B) from 2 different people, and both of them have similar duties as well as responsibilities from the same company. However, if resume A has achievements included and resume B does not, resume A will definitely stand out compared to resume B.
Keep in mind that your resume serves as a tool for you to sell yourself to recruiters. Essentially, employers know that past achievements usually predict future achievements.
You need to indicate the differences you have made in your work instead of making general claims. It signifies that you are a qualified and competent candidate, as well as a driven and motivated asset to the company.
Tips: Include facts and figures in your achievements.
I know… I know…
Quantifying your achievements can be pretty difficult. But then again, if you give it a little more thought, it is possible to measure your achievements in figures. It can be as simple as “increased sales by 30%”, “increased efficiency in the team by 10%”, “Promotions to leadership position” or “first employee to launch an app” etc.
As a student, academic achievements such as scholarships, honour roll, Dean’s List, top student of the year, valedictorian etc., should be listed as your achievements.
7. Extra – Curricular / Voluntary Activities
“Join extra-curricular activities in your university, it will be beneficial for you.” Does this ring a bell?
If you have participated in any extra-curricular activity, does not matter if it is sports, clubs and society or even voluntary activities, it exhibits significant transferable skills that are extremely valuable in your work place.
Many employers would like to know what you can offer besides your academics. Students that participated in in extra-curricular activities generally demonstrate a well-developed soft skill in relative to leadership, time management, adaptability, decision making etc.
Be involved in the committee. Don’t just join the club, make a difference in it!
Being in the organising team makes you stand out amongst others. Employers will be looking for evidence that you made a difference, faced challenges, and picked up numerous new skills.
Similar to your work experience and education section, this section should include your position, responsibility and achievements (if any) as well.
Your information should also be arranged in a reverse chronological order.
Now that employers are familiar with your working experience, education and achievements. A skills section is what makes you unique as a jobseeker. On top of that, the skills on your resume can consist of both hard and soft skills
Hard skills can be learned and trained. There are usually designated levels and can be measured. Hard skills are generally quantifiable. For example, Information Technology (IT) is a hard skill. IT experts can have basic IT knowledge but can also take courses to acquire advanced programming language skills.
It is important for you to include your hard skills in your resume so that employers know your qualifications.
Soft skills on the other hand are not quantifiable. These skills are usually self-developed and self-taught. These skills are always changing depending on your circumstances, environment, and culture. Communication and networking skills are perfect examples of soft skills.
Most jobs require both hard skills and soft skills. You do not have to separate your skills into two parts. A section titled “skills” will do!
Tip: Refrain from using generic and vague terms like “self-motivated” and “team player”. Instead, you should focus on particular skills rather than making blind statements that suggest perfection, and don’t make bigger claims than your evidence allows. Let your experience do the talking.
9. Other Experiences
So, what falls under this section?
Marathons, business case challenges, courses or trainings undertaken, can also be added in your resume. This would indicate that you are expanding your horizon which can be beneficial and valuable to the company you are applying for.
Other Things to Take Note of
- Your resume should not comprise of your results and certificates. If the job you are applying for necessitates you to present them, we suggest you separate these documents into a different file.
- Proofread your resume, ensure that there are no typos in it. You can use Grammarly as a mistake-free writing tool (psssttt… not an ad)
- Download your resume file in PDF to make sure that your text will not go out of alignment.
Phew! We have finally covered all the steps you need to take to construct an A+ resume! It’s a lot of information to take in, I know. But once you dive right into the resume making process, you’ll find that it isn’t so difficult after all. Now, go out there and impress potential employers! We wish you all the best in your job search.