Your resume is your showcase - your main marketing tool. Make an impact. Attract a potential employer’s attention by articulating your skills, experience and achievements. It’s pretty much the only way to get attention when you’re looking for a job.
These days, many employers use software to see if key words used in the job advert show up in your resume. So give them what they want. Study the advert and tailor your resume to suit. Reflect the terms and language the employer uses in your resume, where relevant. Your resume must show that you match all or most of the role’s criteria, and that you have the skills, experience and attributes required.
It’s a daunting prospect to try and stand out from a crowd. Many recruiters scan a resume in fewer than 30 seconds. So yours must make them pause. You do this by highlighting your achievements. Show how you are the one to ace this job. Don’t appear arrogant, but confident. Don’t be excessive, but concise and relevant.
Show how you added value to the previous organisations you worked for. Explain how you saved money or time, exceeded targets and solved problems. Did you contribute to attracting new business? Quantify these with percentages or dollar amounts where possible.
There is no right or wrong way to structure your resume, but it does need to be logical. LinkedIn’s format offers a model to follow. Start with your basic details on the front page (name, address, phone number, mobile number and email address). List your employment history in chronological order starting with the most recent job. List your job title, company name, start and finish date, responsibility and achievements.
Don’t be shy about explaining any gaps in your employment history – such as time spent retraining, travelling or taking care of family. Non-paid experience often adds to your skill set and knowledge. List your training and educational achievements. Include any languages you speak well or relevant technical skills you have. Adding volunteer activities, sports and hobbies suggests you’re well rounded. Note that your references are available on request.
Check your resume for grammar, spelling and readability. Ensure it is an accessible and compelling read that is well-formatted and in a simple font. Your tone should be professional but enthusiastic and confident at the same time. Use action words such as ‘created’, ‘managed’ and ‘supervised’ to describe what you’ve achieved. Some research shows that most people are humble and underplay their accomplishments. Don’t be afraid to use words such as ‘best’ or ‘highest’ if appropriate.
Once you’ve drafted a resume, ask someone you trust – a relative, friend or colleague – to read it and give you honest and direct feedback. If you can get someone who doesn’t know you well to give you some advice that’s even better. Any mistakes will detract from its impact and show you don’t have an eye for detail and precision.
Good luck with the job hunting. Check out how MTC can help you land your dream job.