A lot of people underestimate the power, influence and the usefulness of a simple resume, relegating its role to merely being an information or fact sheet about an applicant. They think it is the same as a “bio-data”, where a prospective employer can find out the “important” details about an applicant.
What they don’t know is that the resume can make or break their chances of getting a job. They send in a haphazardly written resume, prepared on the fly, and when they do not get a call back from the hiring manager for an interview, they wonder why.
They are stumped as to the reasons why they were not given the opportunity to appear for a job interview, while other candidates – who were clearly inferior in terms of skills, qualifications and work experience – were invited for one.
The resume is seen by many jobseekers as the document where they can put everything about them, and will get them the job. Although the ultimate end is the same – getting the job – the resume is actually designed for something more specific: to get the candidate’s foot in the door by way of an interview.
The immediate goal of jobseekers is to score that job interview. For many, that is the most difficult part, which is why they pay extra attention on the preparation of their resumes, because that is the document that will decide whether they will be included in the list of applicants to be interviewed or not. In other words, you, the candidate, are the main attraction; your resume is your hook. It is what will lure the hiring manager to take a longer look at your talent potentials and what you can offer.
There is a great likelihood that your resume lacks in one or more of these 17 key areas listed below. Some minor tweaks in your curriculum vitae can help you get noticed by the prospective employer and get you the job you desire. Increase your chances to shine at the interview with these tips:
While it is true that there is no fixed or standard format for resumes, regardless of the sheer number of templates floating almost everywhere, this allows applicants to be as flexible as they want with their resume preparation. They should always make sure that the resume comprises of the key sections that hiring managers are looking for. The key sections include:
There could be other information that you can add in the resume, which can make you stand out among other applicants to increase your chances of qualifying for a job interview. However, the above three are a must-have in every resume to merit more than a passing glance or a cursory look.
Experts recommend that you should your resume length limited to a single page, as recruiters and hiring managers have short attention span. This is understandable, considering how recruiters and hiring managers may be dealing with stacks and stacks of resumes on a regular basis.
A short comprehensive resume attracts the attention of the hiring manager, who is more interested in seeing the relevant bits or highlights in your career growth. The million dollar question is: is the one-page rule fixed? Not really. There are instances where two pages may be required, and this is often the case with candidates with long work histories or experiences. Keep it up to a maximum of two pages.
This is common sense. If you want your resume to be noticed, then you want the reader to continue reading the document, while making sure it is actually readable. Much of the issue is already addressed using a Word processor, but it all boils down to the choice of words and resume styling, formatting and design. Communicate to the recruiter via your resume using simple sentences, straightforward and easy to understand words.
By keeping things simple and straightforward, you are getting rid of potential clutter that may lead to the confusion (and, worst case scenario, disinterest) of the reader of the resume.
Consistency is very important if you want the recruiter to keep reading your resume. If you used a black font color, make sure it remains consistent throughout the document, except for the odd color in a personal logo that you may have included. If you used one font style for a section heading and another style for the bullet points under the section, do that for all the section headings and section bodies. This will also help in making your resume look more professional.
The same rule on consistency applies to the structure of the resume. Keeping the structure parallel and the presentation consistent all throughout the resume for a more organised and neat look.
Vague and ambiguous details are sure to turn anyone away from continuing on reading your resume. Specificity means providing the barest details about the accomplishment or task that gives it more impact. It’s suggested you include how you performed your duties, and how you were able to provide an impact to the job and the organization as a whole.
You may be applying in two companies at the same time, as a PR manager in company A and as an office administrator in company B. Your past work experience shows that you have more experience in PR, so it should not be a problem highlighting your PR skills, qualifications and experience in your resume, putting them above the fold.
However, for the resume for company B, it would be better if you put your PR background on the backseat and highlight your administrative skills on the first part of the resume instead. By reviewing the job description of the open position, you will be able to tell which skills and qualifications are going to be prioritised by the recruiter.
Take your cue from there, and choose what to put in your resume, and where to put them. In fact, it would be a good idea to use the actual words and phrases used in the job description to write in your resume.
You have to get over the desire of putting everything in your resume. Remember, you are not writing an autobiography in bullet point form; you are writing a resume that will hook the recruiter and reel him in, strong enough to call you up for an interview.
Think of the resume as a summary, not a comprehensive record of your work history, experience, and education. You are supposed to put only the highlights on there, which means that you have to include only the best information about yourself. Also choosing what to include is not the only concern faced by most jobseekers, even placement matters. As a recruiter’s eyes always draw to the top of the document, this is where you can grab the opportunity to engage attention.
Mention only relevant experience and skills. In the past, objective statements used to be a critical part of the resume. This is no longer the case. Unless you are in the process of making a career change or transition calling in for an explanation, you can choose to ditch the objective statement altogether.
The details of work history and experience will be listed in chronological order, but in reverse, meaning the most recent employment will be the first on the list, while the oldest work experience will be the last. And when dealing with exact date and figures, make sure you get the details correctly. Some digits might slip or be overlooked, which is why the last point is very important to complete your resume, before you click “send”.
Even a misplaced letter or typographical error can change the impression of a recruiter reading the resume. Make sure that you proofread your resume as you go along. You could have someone else go over it with an objective eye.
A grammatical error, a typo, a misplaced punctuation mark, all these can have major effects on the content of your resume and also in building a first impression about you to be called in for an interview.
These tweaks should help finding yourself fielding more calls and emails from recruiters, asking for the preliminary job interview to know you better. Good luck!
This article is a brief excerpt from the original published here.