But the tighter and more competitive the job market, the more crucial it is to have a resume that really stands out, speaks to recruiters’ needs – and does you proper justice.
In the current market, you need a professional resume to compete.
However good yours is, it can always be improved. Following on from my previous resume tips, here’s another 5 to keep you reviewing, amending and perfecting your applications…
Resume Tip #1: Change your perspective; cut the objective
Your resume’s purpose is to demonstrate how you match the recruiter’s needs. It’s all about what you can offer – your relevant qualifications, experience, skills and strengths – and how they’ll add value to the employer, effectively solving their problems.
If your resume leads with an ‘Objective’, you’re telling me what you want – not what you bring. That’s never a great start to a relationship… and in a buyer’s market, it’s way off mark.
Suggestion? Kick off your resume with a Personal Profile or Career Summary – and use it to sum up your career, spell out your brand and sell what you’re offering.
Resume Tip #2: Lose the photo
This one’s contentious, as yes, some people love resume photos. Unfortunately, just as many recruiters really dislike them – and you have no idea which kind of person your resume’s going to. My suggestion? Play it safe. If you’re not going to be hired specifically on your looks, then you don’t need that picture. I promise you, no-one ever turned down a promising candidate for the lack of a photo…
Resume Tip #3: Link your resume to LinkedIn
One of the first things I do before I meet a client is look them up on LinkedIn, and I’m not alone – well over 90% of recruiters do the same. Assuming you have a relevant, professional and up-to-date LinkedIn profile, then add the address to your resume, to make sure your recruiter finds the right ‘you’, quickly and easily.
Sending them directly to your LinkedIn profile also means you may by-pass less favourable digital real estate. On that note, I’d suggest googling yourself to check what’s out there – and setting up a google alert to keep you informed of anything new posted about you – as well as being religious with your Facebook privacy settings…
And if you don’t have a LinkedIn profile? Well, now you know that you’re losing an opportunity to get in front of over 90% of recruiters… and it’s definitely time for a re-think.
Resume Tip #4: Lose the business waffle
There’s this weird thing that happens when otherwise normal people start writing formal business documents. Clear communication turns into wordy, convoluted and confusing prose… whereby people speak of the beneficial manner in which their prior and ongoing experience has entrenched and enhanced key skills capability…
This kind of language doesn’t convey intelligence – it just makes it really hard to read your resume. You’ll only have a recruiter’s attention for around 30 seconds anyway, so make it count! Write clearly and concisely, in plain English.
If in doubt, try reading it out loud; If you wouldn’t dream of saying it, don’t type it.
Resume Tip #5: Be aware of Applicant Tracking Systems
If you’re putting a hard-copy resume in someone’s hand, then you can ignore this bit. But it’s more likely that you’re applying on-line… in which case, you need to know about the software that many companies now use, to scan your resume for job-relevant keywords. Apparently around 90% of big organisations are now using this, to help them cut through the huge volume of job applications they receive.
Fail to factor the right key-words in, and this software weeds you out. But even if you get them in there, it won’t help you, if your resume can’t be read properly by the software; That is, if you use fancy fonts, graphics, shading or other ‘unreadable’ formatting in your resume. At a recent careers event, a professional resume writer put the ‘strike-out’ rate at around 75% of resumes.
That’s only 25% of applications that make it to the recruiter. Are you in there?
With resumes, there was a time when you could wing it a bit – when good enough was good enough – but in this market, that won’t fly.