Throughout my years of providing Talent with a range of career options, I have reviewed thousands of resumes. We all have attempted to create one but there is a lot of confusion on how to create a resume which sells you, not sells you short. Most individuals write theirs as though they are writing an autobiography on their life. They tell you their most recent role and work backward from there. I get it… it is easy and nice to tell, but it misses a significant opportunity. Your resume is the first impression a potential employer will have of you, so you need to leave an outstanding impression. Tell them what you have achieved and why you are the best person for the job.
I have put together a few of my golden rules for writing your resume.
Tailor the resume to the role
One size does not fit all job applications. If you are serious about the role and your application, then take the time to properly read through the advertisement or role description and tailor your application to respond to the key statements. Usually, there are at least 5 to 8 key skill sets required for the position. To capture the reader’s attention make your resume demonstrates how suited you are for the role. Your application must highlight in your resume how your skills compliment what the company is searching for in an employee.
Information that actually makes you stand out
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised by how many resumes I receive that leaves me confused as to what the individual has achieved. Start your approach to writing your resume by thinking of yourself as a product and your resume is the core document in your marketing campaign. Sure, you might have a fancy title and may have worked on all these interesting and exciting projects, but if you can’t articulate what you achieved the reader will lose interest in you, and quickly!
What really sets you apart is your achievements. Focus less on, ‘I’ve done this, I’ve done that, I’ve done that too…’ and more on what you have actually achieved. But, what’s the difference? Well, what was the legacy that you left behind? What would your referees say about your performance? (Tip: If you don’t know – ask them!)
Reflecting on your own career can be testing. Often people think they haven’t achieved anything notable in their roles and were simply, doing their job. Talent who work in roles that often require repetitive work are regularly guilty of this. Answering phones may feel like a day to day task but answering quickly, efficiently and enthusiastically that actively engages people is a unique selling point. Ask your peers in the workplace, what they see as your achievements as they will often tell you things that you would never directly think of. Don’t think that you don’t add any value!
When a candidate makes a forceful achievement based statement/s in their resume, this is then reinforced and expanded upon during the interview and afterward independently verified by the referee this will make you really stand out during a recruitment assignment. It shows you have great self-awareness plus huge integrity, critically important attributes.
Include your achievements in chronological order of when they occurred. Presumably, the more you achieve, the more you learned and the more that you have to offer your new employer. Include facts and figures where you can, without breaking commercial confidentiality.
Have a resume which is reflective of the industry
For different industries, we typically see different resumes in terms of layout and design. Graphics can certainly catch the readers eyes, but the devil is in the details. Sure, these niceties are suitable if you are applying for a marketing job, but this may not be suitable to every industry. If you know that your resume is going through an agency, remember that they are experienced at aligning your skills with the position they are looking to fill. In this instance, focusing on balancing the design and content as getting this wrong can work against you.
In my experience, 10% of candidates are asked to attend an interview, so the odds of getting to this stage are already against you. Of course, no one gets the job based on their resume alone but it can mean the difference between being put to one side until next time, or being provided the opportunity to attend an interview.