With over 15 years of business experience at a senior level, I’ve written and read plenty of resumes. As a candidate, it’s the trickiest two pages you’ll ever write. As a recruiter, it’s the fastest two pages you’ll ever read. So what’s the secret of a successful resume?
In my option the five essentials are;
1. First impressions count
Remember this is the first impression an employer has of you. This anonymous looking piece of paper needs to bring you to life and convince a time-strapped recruiter that you are the candidate they’ve been waiting for. Keep it short, easy to read and error free. Keep language simple avoiding technical language and industry jargon. Keep it neat. Attention to detail reveals a lot about a candidate, so take your time with the formatting and layout. Finally, before you hit send get a friend to proofread it for you.
2. One size doesn’t fit all
Every resume you send must be tailored to that job. Read the job description and personal specification carefully. Include the skills and experience that match up to the requirements of the job. Also, research the company. What do they stand for, what’s the culture of the organization, what are they passionate about? Demonstrate how you would be a good fit for the company.
3. Proof is in the pudding
Quantify your achievements. Use genuine examples and numbers to back up your claims. A generic claim made more personal and specific will massively increase the impact of what you saying. For example, contrast “I increased the company’s sales significantly” (generic) with, “My ‘recommend a friend’ initiative lead to a 20% increase in sales” (specific). However, remember not to over claim, you need to honestly talk about your achievements during an interview.
4.Action speaks louder than words
An action verb sets the tone of your resume. It makes the point you are trying to convey more interesting and hard hitting. A simple sentence like, “The filing system was upgraded by my team” changed to “I initiated and managed a complete overhaul of company’s information management system”, shows your direct involvement.
5. Go the extra mile
Find out who is going to read it beforehand. An HR manager will treat your resume very differently to a recruiting manager or a CEO and this will have a bearing on what you include. So ring the HR department to find out who will be reading your resume. Research them on LinkedIn and write a personalized covering letter/email to them. Follow up your submission after you’ve sent it just in case it’s fallen into the cyber black hole.
Once you’ve written your resume remember to keep it up to date and relevant.
Best of luck with your next role!
All our language students have the opportunity to join our free Saturday Personality Development classes. Sessions cover a wide range of useful topics from resume writing, to interview techniques, time management and presentation skills. Not only will they help you build you confidence but they will ensure you gain value insight and knowledge designed to help you take your next steps.