How to land your Dream Job: Step 2: The Perfect Resume
The previous post gave you an insight into some of the best practices to help you secure your dream job. This week, we will look at an important aspect of any job hunt, YOUR RESUME.
Your resume can either be your gateway to your new job or it can become a roadblock to your progress. With the competition heating up for every job and the sheer number of applications companies receive, getting your resume to near perfection has probably never been more important.
Before you even get a chance to showcase your achievements and capabilities in person, your resume needs to create an impact first. Your resume needs to stand out amongst the competition. Your resume has to help you pass through the initial screening process and get you through, into the next round.
The most important aspect to keep in mind is that the company is looking for the best candidate suited for that particular job. Therefore, it is imperative, that you pull out all the stops, to show that you are the best-suited candidate for the job.
You might have all the knowledge and skills needed to be able to ace the job, but if your resume doesn’t do the talking first, you are never going to get your chance to showcase yourself. So you must put in a lot of time and care into crafting your resume.
Here are some of my top tips to help you with crafting a resume that will do the talking for you.
Fine Tune Your Resume for Every New Job Application
Different roles would have different responsibilities, functions, and the skills necessary to succeed in the job. So make sure you put in the time and effort to present your skills, achievements, and education or any certifications that you have, to support your candidature.
Highlight aspects of your career or personality that are relevant for the role that you are seeking.
Make sure to go over the roles and responsibilities that are listed in the job description, and present your accomplishments, your qualifications, and especially your skills to suit the position that you are applying for.
Make Your Resume Bot Friendly
With the number of applications companies receive, the initial screening of resumes is now done by software bots. Even before a human being gets to look at your resume, the software filters out resume that it deems inadequate.
While the bots offer a lot of advantages to the company, they also have one disadvantage, they cannot scan through certain content on the resume. So you need to keep this aspect in mind when you create your resume.
Bots generally cannot scan images and are not as effective in scanning tables either. So when you use an image of some sort, make sure there is an accompanying text to explain what the image is all about. Images can be great to showcase certain elements like percentages or any other aspect of your resume, however, it would come down to nothing if that element doesn’t make it past the bot’s scrutiny.
Again, this is a small detail that can propel you past the initial screening process.
Keywords for every job would include some of the major criteria that need to be satisfied to be eligible for the job. This includes qualifications, certifications, job experience, knowledge of certain tools etc to name a few.
When a company sets out a series of requirements for a job, it is up to you to present yourself as a person who meets all the requirements for the job. So you can take a look at the job description and include whatever aspects you meet in your resume.
Make It Concise
Your resume should present all your vital information, concisely as possible. So be sure to present aspects of your professional life that is important to this job and not too many things that are not relevant.
Try to restrict your resume to two pages or it is also fine to stretch it to three, however, try to avoid anything beyond that.
Drafting a custom resume for each job and sticking to present the information most relevant to the job that you are applying for, is the best way to restrict your resume length.
Highlight Your Accomplishments
Your accomplishments are the crowning glory of your career, so be sure to let them shine on your resume.
Mention the awards you won and the key accomplishments on the job.
For example, if you were responsible for overseeing the transition of a process, you would want to mention that, as a key point in your resume.
If you can quantify your achievements, it is even better. Like if you were able to increase sales by some percentage or if you have improved the efficiency of your department by some percentage, be sure to mention that.
Showcasing your accomplishments is a lot more valuable than just talking about your skills or mentioning the functions you were responsible for.
When you talk about a skill you possess, also mention how it helped you with your job.
If you want to talk about your interpersonal skills, you would also want to mention how it helped you with your job. For example, were you able to manage disputes on the job or were you able to accomplish a higher success rate than the rest of your team.
Try to include aspects that might be relevant to the job that you are applying for.
Include Promotions Details
Showcasing the growth you have attained in your career is vital. It portrays you as a person who has been making progress.
So don’t restrict your resume to only showing the highest position you occupied in the company, be sure to present the growth that you have attained in the company as well.
Keep it Professional
Seasoned professionals would have moved beyond some of these things, however, I thought I would mention this anyway. It is important to display a degree of professionalism in your resume.
Keep an eye on the tone of the resume, you don’t want to sound like a teenager or someone who wants to show off their “cool quotient”. You need to sound like a mature individual upon whom the company can rely on.
So polish up the language used and if you are using an email address you created while you were in college, it is time to create a new one. It is free!
Make Sure All Information Is Up To Date
Again, something that might just be overlooked at times. If it has been a while since you applied for a job, if you have changed your mobile number or if you have changed your residence since then, it is obvious that your resume reflects your current information. So be sure to pay attention to every word that is in your resume.
Make sure, all the information that you have on your resume, like the work experience, your mobile number, your residential address, your email address are all up to date.
Designs include the layout, the fonts and, the colors you use on your resume.
Whether you choose to download a resume template or build one from scratch or if you are looking to update your old resume, pay close attention to the feel your resume gives.
Make sure you use fonts and colors that are professional. Fonts such as Arial, Verdana, Calibri etc give a professional look to your resume.
Define a clear hierarchy in the text (i.e) to differentiate between the various headings and other pieces of text. Use bold fonts only for headings and subheadings. Unless there is something that you want to highlight, do not use bold font in the body section of your resume.
Avoid flashy colours such as reds or yellows. Mostly, shades of blue or grey colours are preferred.
When it comes to layout, choose something that is not very confusing. Make sure the different sections of your resume do not overflow and there is a clear distinction between sections.
Proofread & Take an Opinion
Take the time out to make your resume, sometimes people are in a rush to finish and this aspect of proofreading is something that gets left behind.
Once you are done with writing your resume, make sure you proofread it once, look for any spelling mistakes that you would have overlooked, any grammatical errors and make sure you are satisfied with how your resume portrays you.
Just to be sure, consider taking some feedback from anyone you would trust.
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, you might have cases where you wouldn’t have made the cut. So, instead of letting that negatively affect you, opt to get in touch with the HR of the company and figure out where the gaps were in terms of communication.
Getting feedback at this stage of the hiring process might be a little more difficult, however, give a try.
The first hurdle you need to overcome during any job search is to first get your resume shortlisted.
To progress further, your resume needs to stand out and most importantly, portray you as the ideal candidate for the job.
Your resume has to convey all your achievements, showcase your experience and your skills in detail.
Customize your resume for the specific job that you are applying for.
Present your skills and experience in a manner that makes you look better suited for the job. Highlight aspects that would be more important for the role that you are applying for.
Most large companies have all applications screened by software first. Only if the software finds elements in your resume that meets the job description, will it even let a human get their eyes on it. If not it will get rejected right at the first hurdle.
Include some of the keywords, listed in the job description ( as long as it is applicable ). Keywords like the preferred experience level, the qualifications or the certifications required, the skills required etc., is what the bot would be scanning your resume to find. So be sure to include all the applicable information.
Highlight your accomplishments and the promotions you have earned, these are aspects that will add value to your resume. Wherever possible, showcase an accomplishment in a quantifiable format.
Use a simple design, let it be easy for the reader to follow all the sections in your resume. Use different font sizes and weights, to differentiate between headings, sub-headings, and body text. Be sure to use professional colours only.
Maintain a professional tone, make sure all the information is up to date. Most importantly, proofread and make sure it meets your expectations.
These are some of the things that should help in your quest to attain your dream job.