You are sitting on your couch opening new mails, not too thrilled about paying the overdue bills.
After weeks of waiting, you finally spotted a letter from one of the jobs you applied for. You open it with excitement and it certainly was not the news you were expecting – it read “no vacancies”.
What a bummer right? I know, I was in this position 5 years ago and been there like so many times, my stomach crunches. Well, why not sip another sauvignon blanc to comfort yourself and put your feet up for the rest of your day.
It does not have to be like this, all melodramatic and masking the disappointment with wine.
With some simple strategies, you could create a captivating and distinctive resume to get the results that you want.
I am going to share what I did, how I changed my approach and, how I fixed my resume to become more marketable.
Resume writing is one of the most dreaded yet essential processes in the job hunting game. You have to do it right the first time.
NO HALF-ASS, SIMPLE AND/OR UNFORMATTED GENERIC RESUME WILL GET YOU THAT JOB!
No pun intended, but, it’s a tool which requires detail and care in preparation.
Competition is fierce and every head-hunter or individual is on the prowl for the next big position. Most jobs are not even advertised, so, this means you have to pinpoint which organization you want to work with and tailor your resume for each job that you are applying for. Customize it in a way that will stand out.
Let’s get to work.
But first, I want you to think about these questions.
What does your resume say about you? Is it hurting you or helping you?
Your resume should be the #1TopMarketableTool that you carry with you at all times. It basically outlines your career history, education and experience. It does not matter which stage of your career you are at; whether you are unemployed, underemployed, a recent graduate or simply another career changer, let your resume speak for itself.
You don’t want to be left behind in this dynamic world of work. – Learn to stand-out.
I have four versions of my resume – I am bold about this. When I want a job and I know I can do it – I go in HARD.
You have to want it bad – even if you do not get the job, at least, aim to land the interview, it will show that you are marketable and place your name in the pool for future prospects.
Ready to get that job?
Let’s begin with 4 key hacks to keep in mind when preparing your resume
- Apply only for the jobs which you are qualified for:
Start by conducting research on the company that you plan to apply to before you customize your resume. Do not apply for random jobs and get disappointed when you do not land the interview. Be honest with yourself. Do not apply for a job which is asking for a first degree, specific technical skills and experience when you only have an associate degree and no experience. This just shows that you are desperately seeking a job and not a career. Be honest and realistic when searching.
- Keep it short and relevant:
Do not include the junior level position you held six years ago. The recruiter does not need to know about the time you were a secretary in a club where your task was to write minutes. Do not include Microsoft office since this is a given skill. However, do ensure you include all new skills that are applicable to the position.
- Keep it updated:
How many versions of your resume do you have? I attended an interview for a position which I had applied for 9 months before. On the day of the interview, I brought updated copies of my resume and handed it out to the four individuals on the interview panel. A lot had changed since I applied for the positions but, how else would the interviewers know this if I had not told them. I learned a new program and it would be an asset for the job I was being interviewed for at the time. Update it as your capacity increase.
- Proof-read for grammar and spelling errors:
Spending time preparing your resume and not having it reviewed is like pouring oil on the floor and stepping in it. You will land on your face or maybe your bum. Recruiters will be turned-off at a document with errors that could have been avoided. Ask a friend, family, coach or mentor to review it before distribution.
With an epic resume, you can feel more confident during the interview, break the ice and earn double points (don’t take my word for it) – just try, but these techniques worked for me in the past.
That’s not all. Moving on to the details and format.
RESUME FORMAT + BASIC DETAILS
Most resumes are chronological with your most recent professional experience listed first. Sometimes we forget the minor things yet, they make a huge difference.
Remember to include your full address and contact details. Always keep a professional email address – by this I mean yourname@gmail/hotmail etcetera not, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com and, include the best number to contact you (not your mother or siblings’ contact). If you do not have a cell phone but have a landline, include it too. You want to be accessible if an opportunity arises.
Font & Spacing:
Times New Romans – Font 12, 12pt spacing single paragraph
Margins – 1 all around
Content order + details:
Career summary/professional profile: Include a short description of your professional goals.
Summary of qualifications and key skills: This should be at the top since it’s the first thing the recruiter or hiring manager will look for when screening candidates. List your top transferable skills and key achievements at the top. The name can vary from key skills or key strengths.
Here are two examples of how this section can be presented:
Example 1: Summary of qualifications
- Dynamic and ability to work in a fast-paced environment
- Excellent written and oral communication skills: Served as a newspaper columnist for the Jamaican Gleaner for three years
- Demonstrated leadership skills: managed a small team of volunteers for a research project
- Versed in project management and logistics coordination: implemented a 9 months livelihood recovery training project in displaced communities
Example 2: Key Skills/Strengths
- Computer: WordPress, SPSS Statistical Software, Microsoft Projects, MS Office Applications, Adobe Photoshop, Autocad
- Laboratory: DNA testing, cloning
- Languages: Fluent English, Conversational French, Basic Arabic
- Other: Event Planning, QuickBooks, Technical writing, Social Media Marketing
Professional Experience: Use action verbs like pioneered, delivered, and implemented. Avoid lengthy jargon or irrelevant work done. Use bullet points and get straight to the point.
Example 1: Not Accepted:
Project Consultant – BNTF
BNTF is a small development unit which forms part of the Caribbean Development Bank poverty reduction unit. During my time there I was able to work with women from displaced communities to help them source jobs. I helped organized training and attended a few to show my inclusion.
Example 2: Accepted
Project Consultant – BNTF
- Developed and conducted a baseline training needs assessment
- Implemented a 6 months livelihood recovery training project for displaced men and women
- Sourced and coordinated a group of 48 women as part of a training program
- Compiled a three day – small business development training
- Initiated a contingency plan post-project
Place in chronological order (the most recent at the top) and be sure to include the institution name, location, degree earned/field of study. If you do not have a first degree included certifications or highest level of education.
Training and Certifications: Include any professional training acquired.
Memberships/Affiliations: Include key memberships
- Elected President of Rotary Club – 2016 to 2017
- Board of director of DAIC
Include key volunteer experience you have undertaken within the last five years.
X-out the references: Yes, I said it. Do not include any references until you are asked to.
BE HONEST AND DO NOT EXAGGERATE!
The format of your resume is also dependent on your experience level. For instance, a new college graduate might have a one-page resume whilst a university graduate or young professional with 5 years’ experience will have a two page. It also depends on how often you switch jobs.
Once you take your time to craft your resume, you will be able to highlight your key strengths and core competencies. It will not be too bulky.
Just remember you have a few minutes to capture the hiring manager or recruiters’ attention. Let your resume speak for itself.
And if you do not know how or have the time, we do resume critique and writing. Get in touch with me via email firstname.lastname@example.org.