The easiest thing to do when you begin job seeking is to search online for a resume template and replicate that templates with your own professional history. Easy, right? Wrong. Using a resume template will not increase your chances of getting hired because it does exactly the opposite; your resume is supposed to present a unique professional first impression in order to stand out from the competition.
When it comes to finding a new job, increasing your salary and promoting your skills and achievements, the way your resume is presented, structured and written can be the difference between success and failure. With the huge increase of online submissions via employment, career and recruitment sites, it is now easier than ever to apply for jobs. In competitive industries, hiring managers can receive over 1,000 resumes for a particular role. In fact, due to the high volume of applications, many companies now use automated software programs (Automated Resume Screeners) to help with the hiring and elimination process. Many basic resume templates found online can actually interfere with these software programs as the programs are unable to read pictures, tables or images… making your resume unreadable.
Start with a blank piece of paper – what is the best way to make my resume stand out?
Before you even begin the task of writing your resume I would advise you to prepare a list of all the great quantitative achievements and value added skills that you can bring to your next job. Remember that hiring managers are interested in how you are going to be a great asset for the company, and the best way to present this information is through your past achievements. In addition to listing your achievements, include examples and evidence that back up your achievements, and lead with this information.
“Project managed a team that completed the project on time and on budget leading to increased revenues and a reduction in overall costs”
This statement comes across very generic with no evidence to back up the statements. In fact, this statement actually asks more questions than it gives answers. How many people did you project manage? What was the increase in revenues? How did you reduce costs?
After Example (lead with the achievements):
Managed a team of 15 contractors that increased operating revenues (22%, YTD) and reduced costs (18%, YTD) through the effective implementation of continuous process improvements and KPI management.
Three more resume writing tips:
1) Only include information on your resume that adds values
Statistically you only have between 10-20 seconds to attract the reader’s attention. If you fail to make an impression in this time period your resume will most probably be deleted. Remove all unnecessary information. “Interests”, “Hobbies” etc. do not belong on your resume.
2) Bullet points / sub bullet points work to attract the reader’s attention and improve readability
Long sentences are boring to read and make it harder for the reader to recognize the achievement. Using headings, bullet points and sub bullet points will not only professionalize the look of your resume, but it will make the reading process a lot easier.
3) Include a “Qualifications Profile”
A qualifications profile is a fantastic way to introduce yourself to the reader and make a great first impression. As opposed to an objective statement (where you tell the reader what you want), a qualifications profile promotes to the reader the skills (qualifications) you have that will make you the perfect person for their particular role. A strong qualifications profile can immediately develop a great first impression (a weak profile can do the exact opposite).
© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com
Do a simple search in Google for “Resume Templates” and you will soon find that there are literally thousands of templates that you can copy and use. There are even many companies that sell these exact resume templates online. As a resume writing specialist, and someone who has worked alongside multinational companies in relation to hiring and candidate selection, I can tell you that not only can I spot a resume template from a mile away, but more importantly it is the first impression I make about the job candidate based on their template.
In the current competitive job environment I can tell you that it takes a lot more than using a generic resume template found on Google. If you have found and downloaded the template imagine, how many people before you have used the exact same one? Anyone who tells you that a “one size fits all” resume will work for you is wrong and is doing you a massive disfavour.
How should I approach my resume writing?
As a job seeker, you need to promote the skills and achievements that make you unique. As each job seeker is different, there is no formula to follow that will be the same for every person. For example, an entry level candidate or recent graduate will structure their resume completely differently to a senior professional or executive. A graduate with limited work experience needs to highlight their education, university associations, memberships and internships. This type of information needs to appear on page 1 of the resume to capture the reader’s attention as soon as they open your resume. Although you may have worked in retail or hospitality throughout your degree this information while important, is secondary to your educational information.
An executive resume is completely the opposite. Your education is not as important as your work experience. Executive resume writing is highlighting not just your tangible skills but must include your non tangible skills, such as being a good leader and mentor. As past behaviour is the best indicator of how you will perform in the future, the front page of an executive resume needs to emphasise key achievements. When a hiring manager opens up an executive resume you want them to think “look at all the great accomplishments this person has achieved.”
Most people don’t realise that before a hiring manager has opened your resume it has already passed the first stage of the selection process by passing the “Recruiting Software” test. Due to the volume of resumes hiring managers and recruiters can receive; many organisations now use recruiting software to help eliminate and select first round candidates. The problem with software programs is that they often don’t read fancy resume templates. Graphics, tables, boxes, fancy font and colours can actually end up looking like one big mess to a computer program.
My advice is simple. Stay clear of resume templates. Most templates have been around for years and years and have been seen hundreds of times by hiring managers. If you want to stand out from the pack, you need to be unique and this all starts with your resume.
© RedStarResume Publications – http://www.redstarresume.com
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