A few thoughts on resume writing: KEEP IT SHORT.
Unless you have been working for years, ONE PAGE IS ENOUGH.
When your resume hits the desk of a hiring manager with a stack of your competition, you get just an average of 3 minutes, 14 seconds before they move on to the next candidate.
With this mind, what would you do differently?
Is “writing a 6 page lab report in 2 hours” considered a skill I can put on my resume?
— EV$O (@evies2) December 4, 2016
Would you continue your scramble like everyone else?
Asking yourself questions like:
“What font should I use?”
“What size should it be?”
“Which word should I bold and which should be in italics?”
“WHAT ABOUT SPACING?”
Like you, I went through the web trying to figure the “magic format” that will have the hiring manager “hooked onto my every word” and immediately call me up for an interview. But… it doesn’t exist.
Don’t get me wrong. Formatting is important, it forms the first overall impression when they look at your résumé.
BUT… what’s even more important is your choice of words.
The right words in the right order will give the reader the message, and ultimately lead them to shortlist you as you progress through the interview process.
One of the most commonly cited CV put offs mistakes people do is writing every single word as generically as can be (e.g. Performed tasks under deadlines and co-operated with teammates)
Resume Writing: Very important, but keeping it confined to one page is the bane of my existence.
— Sacha Forstner (@sachaforstner) December 1, 2016
So, how do you write an irresistible résumé that attracts interviews like a magnet?
3 Tips to keep in mind:
Tip #1 – Sell the Truth and Make it Fascinating
YOUR RESUMÉ IS A MARKETING PIECE.
There are a million ways to list your academics.
You could tell the truth and say:
“University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts; GPA 3.50; Second Upper Class Honours”
Or you could say:
“University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts; Second Upper Class Honours, Distinction in Arts, History, Psychology and Social Studies.”
There are no rules saying that you have to list your achievements in a particular way. Your resume is your canvas.
But one of the questions I get asked a lot is what you should do if your grades are mediocre?
The answer? Simple – Just highlight your strengths and downplay your weaknesses.
For example, you can say:
“University of ANON; Bachelor of Arts;
Subjects include__(strong and relevant subject title 1, 2, 3) __.”
Psychological research shows that simply including a certain name or label can spark a relative association with that name.
Example A: “I have worked as a driver, call operator and retail assistant.”
Example B: “I have worked for Uber, Apple and ZARA.”
Which sentence jumped out at you? Why?
Because the three companies have spent millions and billions of dollars on marketing to establish their brand presence and personalities.
By putting names like that on your résumé, be it a minor role, the reader will subconsciously think of the words associated with that brand.
Words like “innovative, tech, design, professional, international” will come to mind as they read your résumé.
Sell the truth (don’t lie) and make it fascinating.
The point is to show them the things you’ve achieved that are relevant and of interest to them; NOT anything and everything you’ve achieved throughout your life.
Imagine that you’re on a first date and your date asks what you did over the weekend. What would you say?
You would say what makes you desirable. DUH.
You wouldn’t say that you cried yourself to sleep, or that you lounged around in bed, too lazy even to shower. The same goes with writing your résumé. It’s your first date with the company and it’s your opportunity to make yourself shine.
Be sure to position yourself in the best possible light.
Tip #2 – Wearing Your Bosses Shoes
me writing my resume: i am an 18 year old disappointment but i wont disappoint u. please hire me. thank u.
— bronte tonsillitis (@brcnte) November 24, 2016
Your RÉSUMÉ is the first (and sometimes only) thing the company sees of you. Don’t you want to make an impression?
The people who work in Human Resources spend literally eight hours a day, 8am to 5pm, five days a week, looking through HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of people, and you – yes, YOU – just taking the time to understand how they’ll feel when it’s time to read your CV will make all the difference.
When was the last time you came across a video you shared on Facebook? Do you think the creator of that video just woke up, recorded it, edited it and posted it online without a second thought?
In reality, a lot of time and effort was put into editing that video second-by-second, and the title for that post was rewritten at least 10 times before they actually clicked “Publish”.
From the employer’s perspective, they want someone who is not just smart and reliable, but also a team player; somebody who, ultimately, is really good fun to work with.
*writing my resume*
-timing a song so it ends right as I pull into my driveway
-drinking coffee at midnight and still falling asleep
— Courtney Deacon (@c_deacs) November 23, 2016
You’ve seen it happen before…
Someone with poorer grades than you got hired for a great job.
How did that even happen?!
Because that person knew how to socialize on top well as promoting “skills” that are relevant for the job.
RULE OF THUMB: Emphasize on RESULTS (remember a lot of people can tell you what they did, but rarely what they achieved), and use numbers wherever possible.
Picture this; you went against all your friends and families wishes for a secure future, and decided to build your own business. It didn’t make money for the first year. You did what you could to pay the bills. Once the business was ready, you jumped in full-time. You can only do so much. You decide to hire someone to manage your operations while you go out and make more deals.
Two people send you their résumés:
Person A: “Performed daily operations and kept store clean.”
Person B: “Streamlined operations resulting in 30% more sales per week.”
Which one would you bet your hard-earned company’s money on?
Another example is:
Pitch A: I can help you be more attractive.
Pitch B: I can help you get your first date in under 5 days.
Pitch B got your attention, huh?
Tip #3 – Be a Storyteller
Your résumé tells a story to the employer. Therefore, it should be written in a narrative that gives the reader an impression of what you’re about in less than five seconds.
If you throw in ALL your achievements from the spelling bee, to your efforts in taekwondo, to your interest in pottery – it gives very mixed signals to the reader.
They would go, “This person does everything, therefore they are not really good at anything!”
Like the saying, “If you love everyone, it means that you love no one in particular.”
So, what are the one or two main words you’d want to be associated with?
After hours of the recruiter reviewing other applicants, what would you want to stand out and be remembered for?
If your résumé included pottery, the spelling bee, and taekwondo, they can’t have a clear memory of what you really stand for.
Me after every writing class:
Must update resume
Must redo my entire website
Must vent to my cat about being a senior
— Samantha Brodsky (@sammybrods) November 15, 2016
But if your résumé includes that you’ve attended business conferences, or that you’ve done marketing and sales, they’ll recall you as the guy who did business or marketing – whichever is more memorable in their recruiting heads!
Make your message as memorable as possible.
What are your two words?
It’s worth noting that your résumé represents your very first impression. And first impressions last.
Considering a man in a navy suit with leather black shoes compared to the same man in an orange suit with cowboy boots, the former will be considered more professional simply because he’s perceived as such. His past achievements are the same, it was just the way he appeared that made the difference.
This post was written and contributed by Ben Sim from iPrice Group
Image via Unsplash