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10 TIPS for writing an effective RESUME

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How many of you are familiar with the term “resume”? This expression was first used in the United States and after that, it took place in the well known Latin expression Curriculum Vitae or CV. In other words, resumes are used to make the best impression on a potential employer. Consider it as an essential tool for marketing yourself. However, it is not just paperwork, it is more than that. It outlines not only your accomplishments but also your skills and your education. It helps others to see how your experiences contribute to a company’s success.

There are so many options to choose from when it comes to how you write your resume – and some of them conflicting. Therefore it could be pretty difficult for you, the job seeker, to decide which one is right. Still, having a rock-solid resume is critical to landing your next job.

We know it can be confusing, so most of you stick to the old traditional layout. It can be a great option! But how can your resume catch the eye of a hiring manager? An executive once said: “HR managers serve on the front lines of a company’s recruitment efforts and are often the gatekeepers of the interview process. Because they can receive a large volume of applications, you may only have a matter of SECONDS to make a lasting impression. “. For that reason, try to make sure that you have already included a career summary at the top, which provides a quick snapshot of your skills and accomplishments. It is your responsibility to make things easier for them.
However, should we stick to the old traditional outline? There is nothing wrong with that, but let us give you a few tips before you get started. Having a great standard resume will help you every single time than a mediocre creative one. Here are 10 steps for you to make your resume stand out in the sea of applicants.

Be honest.
If you are wondering if it would be alright to invent false stories on your resume, we assure you that it would not help you. Maybe in the short term, but you don’t want to take that risk.
There’s never a good reason not to be honest when you’re writing it. You will get caught, and that would not make you feel great about it, you would probably get a bad reputation and, of course, not allow you to move forward in the recruiting process. Choosing the truth is important. The 34th president of the United States, Dwight D. Eisenhower, once said: “ I know only one method of operation. To be honest with others as I am with myself”. You don’t have to be perfect to make something great. Be confident in your achievements, let the audience see the real you, in time you will gain respect and also inspire others from your team.

2. Don’t make it about yourself.
We constantly believe that a resume is all about us, so we focus on showing all of our skills and abilities while we neglect the interests of our readers. According to a leading career advisor, Marc Cenedella, that would be a complete failure. However, he recommended focusing on how your work impacted your previous boss and how it could help your future employer, rather than what it meant to you. He also said: “You want to show your ability to succeed at the kind of job you’re looking for by advertising your past success in the kind of skills required for the job you want.” The plan is to get your foot through the door and not tell your life story. For recent graduates, professional experience can be replaced with memberships at university clubs and other social groups that denote your ability to be a top performer.

3. Write about your experience.
This might be the most crucial component of the whole application. When employees are asking for your resume they are actually asking about your job history. The number one rule is to show only the most recent 10-15 years of your career history and also stick with the most relevant experience for the position to which you are applying. Keep it recent and relevant. Avoid listing irrelevant experience. Nonetheless, if you are early in your career, not all your work experience is related to your next job. It is your experience that can tell a story. Whether that is your ability to commit to a job for a long period of time, or simply the knowledge you gained through jobs during school, it’s worth mentioning. While you show off every accomplishment, keep one another thing in mind: do not exaggerate. Readers can spot exaggerations in a second.

4. Focus on relevant keywords.
As we all know these days, the job market is tougher and your responsibility is to discover a way to stand out among the competition. To accomplish that, the first step is getting the person who is in front of you to focus on your resume, instead of throwing a lot of “maybes”. It is very important to avoid using empty words such as team player, hard worker, and detail-oriented. Your skills and achievements talk more about you than these words. Also, aim to use proactive action verbs. Some effective verbs are: supplied, developed, created, invented, stream lighting, trained, thoughtful. Furthermore, analyze your job description, see what words are used frequently and put them into your bullet points, and that will help you get noticed by the applicant tracking systems.

5. Careful attention to quality over quantity.
Throughout your resume, pinpoint similar responsibilities presented in the job description as much as you can. Check your bullet points and see if there are any useful details for the company. You can also polish certain qualities by focusing on how you present the details.
Before adding what, when and where: what roles and duties were performed, for how long did you work there, and where, remember that a large resume tells the audience the same thing. They do not expect that. You must go beyond telling what and start showing how. You can show your audience how you have added value to companies in the past by quantifying your accomplishments. From our perspective finding one highly qualified candidate is far more important than finding two good candidates that could fit the bill. A business author and speaker, Tom Peters, said: “You will be remembered, for the quality of your work, not the quantity of your work. No one evaluates Picasso based on the number of paintings he churned out”. We know that for every employer in the world it is hard to remain productive and engaged. Therefore we encourage you to be passionate and perseverant, it shouldn’t be hard when you are in the right place.

6. The power of bullet points.
If you’re someone with a pretty plain career history and path, bullet points are here to the rescue, rather than a type of paragraph.
Each bullet point is important, try to focus on your quantifiable achievements, not just on your tasks and responsibilities.
It’s essential that your current job is as detailed as possible. As you go back in time, use a limited number of job description bullet points and add only relevant duties and accomplishments. Under no circumstances write about every task you’ve performed. Make each resume bullet point earn its place!

7. Show your personality by writing about your hobbies.
Candidates commonly have a section at the bottom of their resume to describe what they like to do in their free time. Every hobby is unique and that is a good option for the employees to see what they have in common. But before rushing to fill it with your part-time hobbies, you can use it to show more about you than tell about what you like to do. Don’t get us wrong, your hobbies are important, but we care more about who you are. If you volunteer or have another important part of your life, sum it up, and say why you were enthusiastic to spend your time on that activity. This section gives you the opportunity to show a better perspective of you as an employee and indirectly describe your personality. While adding personality to your resume shows that you are a person and not just an employee.

8. Add the finishing touches.
Is it necessary to include references or not? It’s questionable and not really that important. If a hiring manager deems you to be a great fit for the job, they will ask for them at the right time. Pay attention to your spelling and grammar. Save your resume properly, don’t forget to save it as “Mary Joe Resume” instead of “Resume”. And save it in PDF. It is one less step for the hiring manager to take. We highly recommend getting it reviewed by a professional. Also, we advise you to refresh it on a regular basis. Add any other new responsibilities and new skills, and keep it updated. And even if you’re not trying to find a new job, there are many good reasons to keep this document streamlined. Once a time, do yourself a favor, spend at least 30 minutes and give your resume the finessing it needs. No matter how enthusiastic and involved you are with your current position, always be prepared to take a step forward for a more senior one.

9. The more concise, the better.
Your resume length shouldn’t be based only on your experience, you should also include the type of job you are looking for. For entry-level applicants, less is more. You should definitely drive for a one-page resume. When you’re trying to keep things to one page, you should know that only so many things can fit in on your resume. This can also work for most employees transitioning to a new career field. Except for mid-level candidates, with about 5 -10 years of related experience, you might need to write a two-page resume. This allows you the space to mention all relevant information and work history, while still making your resume definable. Being into a department that requires technical skills, your resume should be no longer than two- pages. This space is exactly what you need to include all your technical skills and experiences. As for executives or senior-level managers, they often have an extended list of accomplishments and experiences that they have to include. This is also applicable to people who are practicing science or academia. They will need additional space in their resume if they want to include their licenses, patents or publications. These job seekers cannot write a resume that is one or two pages, they will probably stick to the two or three pages or even longer.

10. Be ready for the interview.
Don’t forget to have your application written properly and go get that dream job! And after you get the job, be the person who creates masterpieces. And inspire everyone from your team. Don’t do good things, make good things greater.

We created this piece to provide you all the information you need for writing a resume from scratch or, why not, updating the old one. Don’t forget that the first impression matters most, it says everything about you. The true fact is that the ancient Greeks spent a lot of time thinking and writing about the effects of one personality on another. They broke down the process of communication into three parts, which they called ethos(credibility), pathos(emotional) and logos (logical).

We know job searches can feel overwhelming, regardless of what stage you’re at in your career. Breathe. Take it one step at a time, and make sure you give your resume the right amount of attention.

What are the best practices for job search?

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While it’s good to take note of the best practices out there, we recommend you take your own approach, tweak and customize what you find out there.

Why is it important, you ask? Because that’s what’s going to help you filter through the hundreds of job openings. Here are our recommendations:

  1. Don’t apply for all and any jobs, better apply for a select few with fierce attention to quality than to submit your stock resume to hundreds of job applications. When searching for a job, start with the end in mind: “I’m searching for a/this job because….” Why are you looking for a job? What’s your number one motivator? Is it career advancement? Better pay? Exciting new challenges? Now, once you have that pictured, keep it on top of everything else in your mind because that’s your number one driver!
  2. Know what you want. Think about your ideal job, what’s really important to you and what’s negotiable. That will help you navigate what jobs you apply to, how you differentiate companies if you’re willing to take a pay cut to help you switch industries or career, or where you see yourself fulfilled.
  3. If you wonder what a company looks like “on the inside”, check Glassdoor, or just try to connect with people who already work there (mutual connections or via social media). Don’t just apply for a job, apply for a job at a company you would like to work for, that cares for employees and treats them like they’re a key factor in its success.
  4. Write your resume as if it would be for your dream job. Spend time to make your resume concise, and state what’s really critical to the job and company you are applying to, quantify and provide specific details – don’t use words like “some”, “a few” or “more” but rather mention x% increase in productivity/sales, managed Y number of people, and reduced costs by Z% in T months, etc.
  5. Write with the reader in mind. It’s better for your resume to be shorter rather than longer – expect recruiters and managers to have limited time. Thus, it’s really important that your resume can easily be measured by the person who reads it. How do your facts and numbers correlate with what the job description is requiring? Have you used the same keywords? Can you switch some of your vocabularies with the wording that’s been used in the job description?
  6. Use a resume template. There are plenty of templates out there, and also tools to help you out (like MS Word’s new Resume Assistant from Linkedin). Don’t shy away from using a design-oriented/more creative resume as long as it doesn’t hinder readability.
  7. Always be ready to provide references – talk to the people who can be a reference for you – ideally supervisors or clients representatives who can speak to your abilities. Ask them what’s the best way they wish to be contacted for reference check (i.e. via Phone or email first?). Let them know what kind of job(s) you’re applying to and what they can expect as questions, contexts, etc.
  8. Be humble. Strike the right balance between facts that show the level of your abilities and desire to develop or improve other skills. May it be via a letter of interest or during your interview, the natural tendency is to highlight every and all great aspects of yourself. However, making it clear you have personal development goals and aspirations, and long terms goals says a lot about you (i.e. hit-and-run, or vision driven, non-complacent, etc.).
  9. Go prepared for an interview. Read ahead about the company’s reason for existence (vision, mission, what they sell or do) as well as their principles, who their customers are, and especially what attracted your attention about them. Have questions prepared ahead of an interview, questions that relate to the job or to confirm your understanding of the company. You don’t have a second chance to make the first impression, so make it count.
  10. Be confident. When you get at an interview, by that point, you already know why you are there, why you have been called to interview, what drives you and who you are talking to. Don’t use words like “I guess”, “perhaps” or “maybe.” Rather use statements “It’s my understanding that…”, “I know based on … ”, “I recommend” or “I strongly believe”. This will let the interviewer know that you have created your own perceptions, and opinions and that you’re not doubting yourself, or that you’ll change your view based on what you hear. In other words “Own who you are!”

This isn’t a comprehensive list. However, you can see a dotted line between all 10 points about: do your homework, do the research, be disciplined. Until you find a job, you need to be the best at finding one!

And finally: although there are thousands of applicants out there, you are unique based on your upbringing, personality, experiences, values, goals or vision. So act like it when searching, applying or interviewing for a job!

 

Photo credit: Photo by Damian Zaleski on Unsplash

What do recruiters look for in a resumé at first glance?

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To get the best talent for the client, a recruiter will spend the time to evaluate resumes in accordance with the target profile. They will look at the resume components that relate to the candidate’s potential to be successful in the client’s organization. They will try to understand both tangible and intangible facets of a candidate’s background in relation to the client’s requirements for that position. Here are 10 specific areas that recruiters look at:

  1. What kind of organizations, teams, and cultures has the candidate worked in (i.e. corporate vs entrepreneurial, teamwork vs individual/expert consulting focuses work, focused on innovation/continuous improvement, etc.)?
  2. Is there any recent time gap in the resume? Could that kind of gap affect the relevancy of the candidate’s skills for the role they are applying for?
  3. If a candidate has focused on contract work, it may appear like job hopping – clarify whether a job was a contract or not by mentioning it in the resume. It could be that for the current job the client is looking for loyalty to previous employers (i.e. 3+ years average) or for someone who can come in and solve a problem and move on.
  4. Amount and relevancy of quantifiable achievements/facts – i.e. for each job, list top 3 achievements, and top 3 activities you’ve been involved in.
  5. The resume should not be too long (more 3 pages), or too short (less than a page), and with just enough info to strike a good balance between keeping it brief and having enough facts.
  6. If you are a recent graduate, fill in the page with the main school, extracurricular or internship projects that you were involved in – what you did and what were the outcomes.
  7. Resumes must be customized for each role in the sense of emphasizing the skills and expertise relevant to the role that the candidate is applying for.
  8. With today’s tools available online, there’s no reason why a resume would not be verified for grammar and spelling accuracy.
  9. Finally, the resume should be structured in such a way that it’s easy to read, without using difficult or unusual fonts (mainly sans serif fonts are easier to read – such as Arial, Segoe UI or Verdana)
  10. Make sure to insert page numbers if your resume is longer than a page. It makes it easy to follow through multiple pages.

Finally, make sure that the resume shows the real you. After all, a resume is a document that shows not only what you did, but what your potential is for your next employer. Use it wisely!

 

Photo credit: Nik MacMillan on Unsplash