Your resume is the first impression a recruiter has about you. One of the biggest mistakes I see clients make is they simply keep adding their jobs to their resumes without really thinking about what type of job they’re really trying to achieve. So, what do the best resumes look like?
- 1. They’re no more than 4 pages. Bear in mind recruiters go through a lot of resumes so you need to make their job easy. Keeping it to 4 pages and telling your story succinctly will be appreciated and make their job easier to sell you to their clients (i.e your new employer!) To do this, provide a career summary on the front page.
2. Untargeted. If you’re counting on just sending your resume in for a job and ‘see what happens’, you’re not really doing yourself any favours. If you’re interested in a job, make sure that your skills, tasks and responsibilities are mapped against the job description or the specifics mentioned in the job ad. This is the easiest way to sell yourself, based on what the employer is looking for. Otherwise it shows that you aren’t actually interested in the job and are just ‘having a go’. The same can be said for the cover letter – make sure it outlines what the employer asked for and how you meet it, not just simply what you think you bring to the role.
3. No glamour shots! A photo is great if you’re going for a modelling job, but for most jobs it’s not necessary, regardless of how good looking you are. Where it is important is if you have a LinkedIn profile (LinkedIn is designed for senior managers and Executives). Your photo should show your face easily and just be of you, not you with your mates drinking or a scenic photo with you in the rainforest. It can be worth investing around $100 for some professional corporate shots (no, this does not mean glamour shots) if you’re serious about LinkedIn. For a resume, it’s really not necessary for most jobs.
4. They have a large set of contact details. Just your name, your address and phone number is fine. Your health status, blood group, driver licence class and marital status are not required unless it is specified in the job ad.
5. They have a career profile or objective. Being clear about who you are, what your background is and what you’re trying to achieve should make up the career profile. This is the first paragraph on your resume and the one that recruiters and employers read first. Make sure it is linked to what the employer is looking for and gives an overview of you. This should be 3 or 4 sentences long.
6. The front page of the resume gives a nice overview of who the person is. The front page of your resume should read like the back cover of a book. It should say almost everything I need to know as an overview and if I want to know more I can dig further into the following pages.
7. Educational background is after experience. Unless you’re going for a graduate role, experience is king! Highlight your career history first and make sure you mention not only the tasks you did but the achievements that you had while you were in that role. Some clients find this hard, so to answer this, ask yourself “how did I make a difference” or “how did I know I did a good job?” For example, did you implement a new program that was adapted across the business? Did you get great feedback on a program you developed or a compliment from a customer?
Making it easy for the reader to put you at the top of the pile is not hard. Just take the time to customise your resume and you’ll be called for interview after interview!