This article is aimed at helping those of us who struggle constantly with writing that winning resume. First of all, it is not the resume that gets you that dream job; that is down to YOU, the winning resume will only get you to the interview stage. In all my experience, I have never known anyone get a job straight off the back of a resume.
Where do I start?
First and foremost you start with the job advertisement. When looking for jobs, try covering up the job titles and focus solely on what skills, experience and qualities the employer is actually looking for. By doing this, you will be pleasantly surprised at how many jobs you may have overlooked because the title somehow made you think you could not do it.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 1
Start going through the criteria, highlighting where you experience matches what they are looking for. With essential criteria, if you match at least 90% you should apply for that vacancy. With the desirable criteria, if you match 60% – apply! Alongside the job description you should also have company research you have gleaned from their website or talking to people who already work in the organisation to which you are applying. This too needs to be considered when following the tips below.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 2
Start at the main body of your resume, the Career Summary and you can fill everything else once this is done. It is easier to compile a winning profile once you realise how well matched for the job you are.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 3
Starting with the criteria you match and have highlighted, write a bullet point for each one and this must be evidence based. For example, each bullet point should start with a word that ends ‘ed’, i.e. coached, implemented, designed, delivered etc. These are action words. I have seen many resumes that have lots of ‘responsible for’, but what does this tell the reader? You may have been responsible for something in the workplace but did you actually do it?
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 4
Consider some achievements. This is your Unique Selling Point (USP). If there are 3 of you going for the same job and you all have similar experience and skills, what is going to make you stand out from the other two people? Achievements to be considered should be based on what YOU have done and not necessarily what your team did. Examples of these could be:
• Ideas you came up with that were implemented and in doing so saved the company money in terms of efficiencies or less staff required to do a specific task
• Charity events you have taken part in and raised money for worthwhile causes
• Any training courses you attended where you finished in the top 3 and out of how many
• Any awards or accolades you were given as a result of your work efforts
• Any promotions received ahead of peer group
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 5
Now to the Profile which should be the first paragraph in your resume. This should be no longer than 5 or 6 lines and is basically your 30 second commercial. It needs to be written in such a way that the reader is captured and is interested enough to want to read the rest of your resume. It should contain information around ASQ – Aims, Skills, Qualifications although not necessarily in that order.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 6
Follow this paragraph up with a set of Key Skills. These key skills should tell the employer more about you as a person. For example:
• Flexible approach to working hours
• Willing to commute/relocate
• Pro-active individual who is results focussed whilst remaining mindful of exceeding customer expectations
• IT literate: competent in using all MS packages
• Excellent sickness record, no absences in last 10 years
• Hands on leadership style with added ability to motivate teams through strong work ethic and consultative approach to all tasks
• Willing to accept responsibility for mistakes and learn from them
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 7
Your career summary should follow the Key Skills section and should include a Job Title, Company Name and the dates you worked there. If you are applying for a position that is similar to all your previous jobs, then you should do a reverse chronological resume. This shows your natural progression and experience gained within one industry and that is what you are promoting.
If, on the other hand you have had many varied jobs, you should consider a Functional CV. This is where you are selling your experience under several job title headings, again all bullet pointed and starting with the ‘ed’ words.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 8
Next section you should focus on is Qualifications. Do not put a whole list of qualifications down there that are irrelevant. Keep them specific but in doing so, refer to your company research and the job description and perhaps you could add some additional ones that although not outlined in the job advert, you know they would be sought after in this company.
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 9
Your final section should be Personal Interests. Keep this very short and be aware of how the reader may perceive your hobbies. For example, if you’re a keen sky-diver or involved in other dangerous sports, could they consider you to be a high risk of injury that results in taking lengthy time off work?
Resume Writing Guide Tip # 10
Never send a duplicate resume or CV to more than one employer. Every resume you do should be targeted to ONE and only ONE specific position. Each employer must feel when reading it that you are the right person for the role and you really want to work for them and only them.
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