Many resume aids and tips most times tend to understate the level of difficulty attributable to skilfully outlining all your career on just a single page.
This time around, it is important to let you know that writing a resume capable of getting you your dream job is more than just jam-packing together a list of all positions you’ve held in your work career, the schools you’ve attended, various companies you’ve worked with, and the glorifying skills you possess.
The resume is not just a paper containing your personal details, it is the most important marketing document at your disposal during the course of your job hunt. It introduces you to the company’s hiring manager and more importantly, it serves as the go-to-reference for your career.
There are several poorly constructed resumes, these kinds of resumes will most likely trip over at the first hurdle and will most likely not get you sitting at the company’s lobby waiting to be interviewed. Hence, it is very important that you understand the key components that make up a good resume.
Below are some of the issues I’ve identified over the years that inspired and motivated me to come up with this resume’s Do’s and Don’ts list:
1. Customize Your Resume Every Time
As a way of ensuring that your resume is appropriately inclined to the type of job or position you're applying for, ensure that your qualifications and expertise that fits the specific job requirement are well highlighted.
Aaron Babb, director of Aevum Health explains “Whenever we look for new talent to join our team, we first filter out resumes that don’t apply to our business. Next, the resumes that look custom or tweaked to us will get highlighted, as we know the applicant put in the extra effort.”
He further explains “Applicants that go further to seek out exactly how they can contribute to our business, before we explain to them the role stand out above the rest”.
Nowadays, most employers make use of screening software that scans documents for distinct keywords with respect to the job description. As a result, it is advisable to follow the leads on the job listings.
2. Format Resume in Chronological Order
This involves highlighting your experiences from most recent to older experiences. Most of the recruitment agencies find it more convenient to view a candidate’s work experience from the most recent to the least recent. But in a situation where you have very relevant employment info located further below your career path, then a highlight career summary in dot point format becomes necessary right before your history of employment.
3. Highlight Your Achievements
When listing your past projects and positions, try to give genuine examples of the influence or effect of the project in question on the company’s growth and development. Did the project lead to an increase in sales, widen the customer base or reach the target market? And were you offered more responsibilities after proving yourself?
4. Show Off Your Technical Skills and Education
This is very essential especially in a situation where certain skills are specified in the job listing. Precisely give a summary of the technologies and software you know, while also specifying your level of proficiency and the length of usage over the years for each one listed.
Jenny Le and Pamela Yip, Chief Bubblers a.k.a co-founders of Bubble Tea Club, had this to say for those looking for a job during COVID - “If you’re applying for a job in a competitive industry, it’s great if you can show something that is uncommon or unique to an employer. The reality is that you’re getting compared side by side with a handful of other great applicants and the only way you can secure an interview is by having skills that help you stand out.”
5. Note Your Accomplishments
It is very important that you include a brief list of many awards and special recognitions you’ve received over the years. Also worthy of mention are your volunteer opportunities, conferences you’ve attended, and various workshops you’ve had the opportunity to speak.
6. Give Your References a Heads up
It is advisable to notify your key contacts in advance about the possibility of getting calls or emails seeking information about you. This is a great way of boosting your chance of being interviewed and employed.
7. Linkedin is Essential
You’re spending so much time to optimize your resume, but don’t forget about Linkedin, the social media network for professionals. From applying for a job directly to having a profile so recruiters can find you, Linkedin is a platform you can’t afford to skip.
You can further optimize your profile by posting industry articles and sharing your thoughts with your network and build up a following.
1. Resume Shouldn’t be Too Long or Overcrowded
Employers don’t usually have the luxury of time to read the entire contents in your resume, making the resume too long is a sure way of getting your resume cast aside. Make it simple, short and error-free. Ensure that only important information is specified. This makes it easy for employers to navigate through key information.
2. Don’t Include Your Picture
Do not include your picture in your resume unless otherwise specified by the employers. This is because photos can be used to judge your personality by certain sets of employers which in the most likely sense might not be in your favour.
3. Do Not Fabricate Your Job Experience and Education
Once an employer discovers a piece of fabricated information in your resume, you will most likely be disqualified with immediate effect. Ensure that you are honest and include only accurate and genuine information in your resume.
4. State “References will be made available upon request”
This should also be avoided as much as possible. After seeing this in your resume, the interviewer might assume you can’t provide this contact upon request, hence, might as you as being unserious. In some other cases, the employers might request for them upfront. Ensure that you read the job description carefully to get a feel of what the employer really wants.
5. Make Use of Your Company’s Phone Number or Email Address
It is highly discouraged to use your current company’s phone number or mail in your resume. Instead, use your personal phone number or mail regardless of whether your boss is aware of your intent to leave or not.
An adequately refined resume is no doubt the foundation of your job hunt. However, in order to land your dream job, developing a very sound and winning strategy is paramount. Why not reach out to a professional recruiter to assist you with winning tips on how to write your cover letter, prepare adequately for an interview, how to initiate or respond to salary negotiation and so many other beneficial career advice.
Felix is the founder of Society of Speed, an automotive journal covering the unique lifestyle of supercar owners. Alongside automotive journalism, Felix recently graduated from university with a finance degree and enjoys helping students and other young founders grow their projects.