When browsing your local bookstore, what makes you decide what to get? Like most people, you turn to the back cover and read what the book is about. Based on that short summary, you consider if the book is worth the listed price. Will it be worth the time you invest reading it? What will you get out of finishing that book? All these questions arise just by reading a few sentences. And usually, it’s not enough to have a good and captivating summary. It has to stand out and be better than the other summaries you read just seconds ago.
Obviously, you already know that the analogy above refers to you as the job seeker. You are the book, and your resume is the summary on which the reader, or the employer, will make a decision about you, so your back cover summary should count. It will make a difference between getting that interview invitation, or you being stuck at your current job, or even worse, unemployed.
To keep you ahead of the game, the following resume tips are not so obvious, and are commonly overlooked by job seekers.
1) Being consistent.
Make sure even the smallest details in your resume are consistent all throughout. If you are referring to your current job and responsibilities, you can choose to write it in present, or in past tense, but just pick one. Don’t shift from one tense to another. This also applies to any formatting to the document. If you highlight names of people and companies by making them bold, do it for the other names as well. Ensure your margins and basic spacing are equal all throughout. This is a simple tip but is commonly overlooked, especially those resumes which are only updated once in a blue moon.
2) A single glance goes a long way.
Before reading the content, it is possible for the employer to already have an impression about you and the way you work just with how your resume looks. Does it look cramped? Is it too cluttered? Were you too lazy to complete abbreviations? All of these may be red flags just by quickly scanning your resume.
3) Avoid going conventional just for the sake of going conventional.
It’s easy to find a general formula for what to put in a resume. Usually, it would include your personal details, an objective, employment history, education, workshops and seminars attended, skills and references. It’s all relevant information your employer will keep an eye out for, but if you do this conventional approach, make it work for you. If you choose to put an objective, make sure it is a specific, realistic and attainable objective, and avoid having a blanket statement that involves you finding a company where you can unleash your potential. Also, if you choose to put in a references section, make sure you put references. Don’t dedicate a space in your resume for references if all you’ll put under there is “references available upon request”. If you feel that certain details are not really necessary for the job, do away with them.
4) Tailor your resume to the job opening.
Don’t just put everything about yourself in your resume. Filter to it to match the job you are applying for. A hiring manager from a tech company will probably not need to know that you worked part-time as a server for a local coffee shop before you got your first office job.
On the other hand, don’t completely take out any detail that is not directly related to the job at hand. What do we mean? Take for example that same local coffee shop we mentioned above. If your work involved supervising overall operations, you may use that experience to highlight your management skills, etc.
Avoid sending out the same resume to different companies you apply for. Review the job description and scan your resume. If it matches, send it out. If it doesn’t tweak it for that specific job. The recruiter will know a blanket resume when they see one.
5) Tailor your resume to the job you want, not the job you don’t want.
Some job seekers miss this, especially the ones who want to escape a certain part of their current job. If you would like to move away from a certain responsibility, do not give hiring managers the impression that you are looking to do that job function. If your resume highlights a part of your current responsibilities you don’t enjoy, you are sending a signal to the employer that you would want to have similar task. As an alternative, you can highlight your skills in something you enjoy more.
Make your resumes stand out for the right reasons. Give a summary of you, excite your potential employers and make hiring managers take notice and pick you among all the other books in the bookstore. Good luck!
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