Applying for a new job is never an easy process. Whether you’re fresh out of education and it’s your first time seeking a position, or you’re a veteran worker looking for the next move up in your career, the experience is always the same. You’ll feel a little nervous (and if you don’t, you probably don’t care enough). You’ll be excited about the challenge that lies ahead. More than anything else, even if you’re not all that superstitious, you’ll be crossing your fingers and praying to whatever deity you believe in that you’ll be lucky.
Luck does play a role in finding the right job. If the vacancy you’re applying for is a good one, there will be many applications from candidates just like you. For an employer, the recruitment process turns into a mobile slots game. If you don’t win when you spin playing mobile slots, you simply spin again and see what happens next time. That’s how employers treat resumes and applicants. If they don’t like what’s in front of them, they’ll simply ditch it and move on to the next one. As is the case with UK slots, the jackpot will turn up eventually. It might be the first resume they look at, or it might be the hundredth.
It’s precisely because there will be so many resumes rolling in that you have to make sure yours stands out from the crowd. The jobs market is solid right now, but you still need a way of making sure you get a foot in the door and grabbing that all-important face-to-face interview so you can sell yourself as the best person for the vacancy. With that in mind, here are five great tips for spicing up your resume.
1. Lead with a great headline
Contrary to common practice, your name shouldn’t be the most visible thing at the top of your resume. Your potential employer isn’t going to give you an interview based on nothing but your name (unless you’re lucky enough to come from a rich or famous family, in which case you have nothing to worry about anyway). They’re interested in either what you’ve done most recently, or what you’re doing right now. Your current or most recent job title should, therefore, be the first thing they see. List that as a headline, and then also include as sub-headline providing further detail. Ideally, the sub-headline should include how many years of experience you have, and your core responsibilities.
2. Emphasize Success
Nobody likes reading the trivial day-to-day tasks of somebody’s work. It’s not relevant to why you’d make a good candidate for the vacancy which is being advertised. What the person reading your resume wants to know is whether you’re good at what you do. Cut out all the banality, and don’t bother with the ‘a day in the life’ summaries that far too many candidates include. Instead, use the space to summarize your greatest achievements within the role. List any skills or qualifications you’ve gained in the same section.
3. Tailor Your Resume
If you’ve been sending the same resume off to dozens of different companies, we’re not surprised if you aren’t getting the results that you’d hoped for. A non-tailored resume is a basic resume, and a basic resume isn’t going to cut it at the top level. For entry-level jobs, speaking in broad and general terms is fine. For a specified role with a prestigious company, your resume needs to reflect the company you wish to work for. Go to their website. Look at the style of language they use, and reflect it. Look at the key skills they want for the position, and reference those specific key skills in your resume. Let them join the dots between what they need, and what you are. Every resume you send should be unique.
4. Use A Grammar Checker
A simple spellcheck is not enough when it comes to a resume. You only get one chance to make a first impression on a company, and so it has to be perfect. If your resume turns up full of errors, then your chance is already blown. There are employers out there who will simply stop reading a resume if they spot a mistake on it, because they’ve concluded that you don’t pay attention to detail. Using a basic spellchecker isn’t enough to cover this point off. A spellchecker will identify basic syntax errors, but it can’t discern the difference between there and there, for example. Nor will it pick up on accidental plurals, or misspellings which also happen to be words. A service like Grammarly will do all of this for you. Free trials are available, and so there’s no reason not to take advantage of them.
5. Be Succinct
As we mentioned right at the start of this article, an employer who’s offering an attractive vacancy will likely receive hundreds of resumes. Sifting through them takes time, and time is not something that successful business owners are blessed with a surplus of. If your resume is too long, don’t expect anybody to put in the time to read it. Ideally, with some judicious editing and intelligent use of formatting, you should be able to contain everything you want to say on a single side of A4 paper. We appreciate that some of our readers with more career experience may not be able to do this, but two pages are your absolute maximum. No resume should ever be more than two pages in total. If you’ve finished writing up your career history and you’re beyond that point, you need to go back through it and cut out the things which don’t need to be there.
A resume is, in essence, a marketing tool. The best commercials are short, sharp, and upbeat about the virtues of whatever it is they’re trying to sell to you. You’re trying to sell yourself to somebody you’ve never met. Keep it to the point, get the headlines right, don’t make mistakes, and your chances of an interview will increase accordingly. Don’t forget you can always expand upon your brief points when you get the interview – it will give you something to talk about when you’re in the room.
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