4 Entrepreneurs Reveal ‘What They Look for in a Resume and What Turns Them Off’

Building the perfect resume is a skill that everyone needs to master early in their professional life

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BY Jared Carl Millan - 07 Sep 2017

Entrepreneurs Resume Turn Ons Offs

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Building the perfect resume is the key to landing that job you’ve always dreamed of, and a skill that everyone needs to master early in their professional life. If you think it’s tough, then you’re right; a significant amount of effort and introspection, as well as sincerity and restraint, go into the whole process.

On the one hand, you want to show off all your marketable skills and convince your potential employer of your greatness. Yet on the other, you need to strike a perfect balance between not revealing too much while successfully showing off your personality.

Inc. Southeast Asia reached out to four entrepreneurs in the region to offer insights on what they look for in a resume, and what turns them off. If you want to take your resume to the next level, read on.

Keith Wang, Co-Founder, Opinir.com

“Business achievements,” he says. “A great CV tells a compelling story of the candidate's career, explains achievements well through figures and showcases special or unconventional accomplishments.”

On the other hand, Wang finds extraneous information on a resume unimportant. When asked what puts him off, he says, “When it's irrelevant to the role applied for.”

Joel Leong, Co-Founder and CEO, GroupHunt.sg

For Leong, a candidate’s personal narrative is crucial to the resume. “I look for a trajectory or story,” he says. “I try to understand if there's a clear path the applicant took, or if there are inherent interests that led them to chart a certain path. This allows me to know what skill sets they have, but more importantly if they have the ability to make things happen.”

As for the turn offs, he says, “When the information is presented poorly and without thought. Poor formatting, spelling errors, and short employment periods.”

Rina Loh, Co-Founder, FoodZaps.com

For founder Rina Loh, there are two different metrics for different kinds of applicants. For fresh graduates, she says “school activities and awards, a photo of the graduate, a self-introduction of how passionate you are into getting into the company” are important. For more experienced candidates, she looks for “current employer company name, the role or participation in projects handled, photo of the candidate, current remuneration.”

Furthermore, she says that although attaching one’s photo on the resume is not particularly important, it does leave her with an impression of the candidate. “The photo of the candidate is not crucial for selection but as an employer, I am able to see what you submitted and compare when we meet for an interview, a fuller experience to discover and get to know you. If you look exactly or similar to your CV photo, I will be pleased.”

A streamlined resume is also crucial for Loh: “Too much minor details given for the scope of work done” turns her off a resume, she says.

Alessia Anniballo, General Manager at District6.co

For general manager Alessia Anniballo, an overarching career trajectory is admirable, but at the same time a candidate’s extracurricular records are also a factor in the selection process.

“If I can see in a CV that the candidate grew professionally during his or her career and that he or she has achieved good KPIs, this is already something that makes me consider that person,” Anniballo reveals. “The section about personal interests also usually catches my eye. If a person plays some sports at high levels or won some other prizes, for example, a writing contest, he or she is more [likely] to be called for an interview.”