HOW TO PREPARE YOUR RESUME

Why prepare a resume?

First impressions are important! Your resume, sometimes called a CV, is usually the first impression about you for any potential employer. It is one of the most important steps taken along the path to a new and better career opportunity. Therefore, it is important that your resume be written in a professional style, markets your strengths, your skills, and your accomplishments. Your resume should also show the employer that are a good match for the job.

Most of iSearch Japan’s client companies are foreign companies. So, if you are working with one of iSearch’s Japan recruiters you will need to prepare your resume in three formats.

  1. The standard Japanese “rirekisho” format. This is just a chronological listing of your work and education experience and includes your personal information.
  2. An English resume the includes a strong summary of your skills and experience. It should also include a more detailed work and education history than the rirekisho.
  3. A Japanese language copy of the full English resume. Remember to make sure that the two resumes state the same things.

If you are working with our San Francisco office you will generally only need the English resume. However, we also serve Japanese companies in the USA and Europe, so if a Japanese resume is needed we will let you know.

What format should you use?

Resumes that are heavily formatted using tables or graphics might look appealing to you, but potential employers often find them to be cumbersome to read. Hiring Managers and HR Departments are busy people. Like all busy people they will take the quickest and shortest route to a solution. Wading through a heavily formatted, overly complicated, resume slows them down so these resumes may never make it to the top of the resume pile.

Don’t embed your personal information in a header or footer in the resume.  Put this information at the top of the resume, but not in a header or footer. When iSearch presents your resume to our clients we remove all personal information except for your name, unless the client requires your name, address, phone, and email as part of their resume submission process. uses an online Applicant Tracking System (ATS) that to be input before we can submit your resume to the client company. An ATS allows the company to keep track of which recruiting agency they received your resume from and on what date and at what time. This helps avoid conflict if you happen to be introduced by two agencies for the same position.

Be sure your email is one that is professional. For example, suzuki93@gmail.com, but not bigdoglover@gmail.com.

It is best to use MS Word or a program that is compatible with MS Word. Remember, minimize, or better yet, eliminate tables and graphics. You can also use a Rich Text format. Using bullet points is fine.

What is important in your resume?

First of all, the information has to be 100% factual. Do not embellish the facts and never put anything in your resume that is not completely true.

Companies often ask for copies of education degrees and certificates that are listed in your resume. You should make sure you have an official copy from the school or institute issuing the degrees or certificates listed in your resume.

The information should be presented professionally, in a straight-forward style, and include the keywords that will make your resume show up in a database search when a company is looking for a person with specific experience or skills.

How many resumes do you need?

The “one resume fits all” approach is not always the best method. You may need to rewrite your resume to fit the requirements of a specific job. Read the job description carefully, study the hiring company’s website, do other online research, and talk with your recruiter. Make sure you include the skills and experience that match the job description.

If the recruiter feels you need to rewrite your resume he or she will tell you so. Recruiters should not rewrite it for you. It is your resume, and it needs to come from you, not from the recruiter’s rewrite. Of course, a good recruiter will never recommend that you rewrite your resume to include information that is not true.

What should go into your resume and how many pages should it be?

First, let’s look at the length. You may have heard that a resume should be a maximum of two pages. Two to three pages is a good guideline to keep in mind.

However, your resume should be as many pages as it takes to include your entire job history, but don’t just paste and copy from job to job if the duties were the same or very similar. That needlessly lengthens your resume and busy Hiring Managers and HR people are unlikely to read through it.

Do not put an objective in your resume. Objectives serve no useful purpose to HR Managers and Hiring Managers because objectives are about what you want – not about what you can provide to the company hiring you.

Instead, start your resume with a summary that tells the reader what you are good at and why you are qualified for the role you’re applying for. The summary should be one or two paragraphs of your experience and skills. Skills to include are the skills that make an impact and are relevant to the job you are applying for.

Make sure your resume is meaningful and not filled with things like, “I am a results oriented leader with high level communications skills.” Include Keywords in the summary, but don’t use too many. Keyword “stuffing” is easily recognized by the HR Managers and Hiring Managers. Remember, read the job description and figure out the appropriate Keywords.

If you have worked with well known clients, or famous companies, include them. For example, if you closed deals with major companies like Hitachi, or Toyota, or Google you can include something like “Closed two sales deals with Hitachi for a total of thirty million yen.”

If you include social account links they should only be your professional social accounts, not your personal accounts. For example, you might want to include your LinkedIn link or an Instagram account that you manage for your company. If you include these account links make sure they are up to date and show your professional picture. A picture of your dog or a cartoon character is not appropriate on a professional social account.

Hobbies may be included, but only the hobbies that highlight your positive qualities or skills. For example, if you are a triathlete (shows determination) or write articles or a blog about your area of expertise (shows creativity and interest in your work), include them. If you collect stamps or seashells, or like going to movies or shopping, leave them out.

How should your experience be presented?

Put in the details for each job you have held for the last 8 to 10 years in chronological order starting with your most recent job and working backwards. One or two short paragraphs should be enough with a few bullet points. Beyond the last 8 to 10 years just put in the companies, dates, job title, and at most 2 or 3 bullet points (if any at all) highlighting what you did.

In the details include:

  • Company name
  • Department and Job Title (don’t just say something like “IT Manager.” Be specific. Were you a network manager? An applications manager? A project manager?)
  • Start and end dates. Include the month and year. Resumes with years only are sometimes looked upon with suspicion (e.g., is the candidate trying to hide a few blank months?)
  • Your specific duties as they apply to the job you did.
  • (Did you increase sales by 25%? Did you come up with an idea that saved the company a large amount of money? Use actual numbers, not vague statements.)
  • (Remember, you want your resume to come up to the top of the list in a keyword database search.)
  • Any special awards related to the work you did or the job you are applying for

Include your personal data (home address, phone numbers, email addresses, date of birth, etc.).

Recruiters normally don’t share the personal information with clients unless as noted earlier it is required for an ATS submission system that is used by some companies.

Once a client is ready to make you an offer the recruiter will typically be asked to provide your personal information.

What should NOT go into your resume?

Should you put in an objective? As stated earlier the answer is, “generally not.” If you are applying to a company for some non-specific job it may help, but most of the time, you don’t need it. A good recruiter will find out your objectives when they meet you to talk about your experience and career goals.

Don’t include irrelevant information that does not relate to the job you are applying for. Each job you are applying for may require different information about your experience, but the information needs to be relevant. That is why you may need a different resume for each job. Your resume needs to “speak to” the hiring manager.

Don’t use generic phrases like, “hard worker” or “people friendly” or “proactive”. Most people are hard workers, most are people friendly, so mentioning these traits don’t really make you any different than thousands of other people. As noted above, you should focus on your specific skills and accomplishments – the ones that make you stand out from the crowd and make you different from all the other people apply for the position.

The reason for leaving each job. Of course, the reasons are important, but you should normally discuss those reasons with your recruiters, and then during your interview with the hiring company, if asked. If necessary, the recruiter will include the relevant information when your resume is submitted to clients.

There is no need to include generic skills that most people in today’s job market should have. Things like, “MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint”, or “Proficient in eMail”.

“References available upon request.”  If companies you’re applying to need references for you they, or the recruiter, will ask you.

Finally, most every word processing program includes a spell checker and grammar checker, so use them!

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