So you’re after a nice new job, huh? Amazing.
Now that you’ve made that swell decision, you’re going to need the sexiest resume in all the land. That’s not just a face value thing either – we all know by now that beauty’s on the inside too, right? (For the sake of me getting married one of these days, I bloody hope so.)
We hit up Karen Tisdell, Professional Resume Writer and Creator of Winning LinkedIn Profiles, to find out what we should be doing on CVs to get it to the top of the pile and inevitably land that dream gig.
FIND THE JOB 1ST, WRITE THE RESUME 2ND
You need a job! First step is writing the resume, right?
First, you’ve gotta find the job you actually want and only then should you give your resume the zhuzh it needs – for a few reasons actually.
“This [tackling the resume first] means that they’re just regurgitating their past, often referred to as word vomit, without focussing on what’s transferrable about their skills. They’re just not capturing what the adverts are looking for or what the employers are looking for,” Karen explains.
Careerbuilder released a report in 2014 that the average resume was read for 6.24 seconds, which is such a teeny tiny amount of time to stand out. Don’t waste that with generic information about your career history – tailor and simplify it for every given job advert. For example, the more relevant a past job is to the role, the more detail you’ll go into when describing that previous position.
USE KEY WORDS
Karen tells me there are hundreds of applicant tracking systems that scan your resume before it lands in human hands (news to me, tbh), and that they’re all working on keyword searches.
Think about it – you’re applying for a job in PR but haven’t used an important term for the industry, like contacts, so they disregard you. Too bad so sad. Robots or not, we’re all culprits of the skim-reading – and your employer will be too. Don’t hurt your chances by forgetting the important words that’ll light up to ’em / make it hard to ignore you.
INJECT YOUR PERSONALITY
In a world where AI is slowly making its mark on the employment scene, many roles that we know now won’t even exist in five years. Scary thought. But you know what robots will never be able to do (I hope)? Have a bangin’ personality like you. Karen says, “The biggest differentiator is going to be your personality, your EQ. Show it.”
(EQ = Emotional Intelligence btw. I didn’t have to look that up but you shouldn’t have to either.)
This is not limited to your cover letter – you should have a touch of ~you~ throughout, including the summary statement which should sit at the top of your CV. If you’re still circulating the same resume template from high school, just wildly refreshed, you might think this is where your objective should be. No! Stop that! It’s outdated. Replace it with your summary statement. “This is not about what you want, it’s about what you offer,” Karen explains.
Oh, and make it personal. “Don’t talk about yourself in the third person. Don’t talk about yourself as if you’re not yourself, that’s just weird.” (Full disclosure, my LinkedIn summary was in third person at the time of writing this and the shame is real.)
TALK YOURSELF UP
Never ever everrr lie on your CV (those sins will be revealed when you actually get the job, after all) but absolutely back yourself. Never forget that the sun shines out of your bum, ears and mouth and you’re going to do great, great things in your career.
Unfortunately, there is a very real thing called the ‘confidence gap’. An internal report by Hewlett Packard found that while men will apply for a job / promotion when they meet 60% of the qualifications, women will only do so if they meet 100% of them. Sure, men still have doubts just like women, but it’s not stopping them from grabbing job opportunities by the horns.
I’m fairly sure a wise soul named Princeton Girl hit the nail on the head when she proclaimed, “Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game.” She also bagged the hottest guy in school by manipulating him through a chatroom, so I trust her choices fully.Image: PeopleImages