Your resume (sometimes called “CV”) is your most important tool when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, or how much experience you have – if your resume is poorly presented or badly written, you’re going to have trouble getting the job you want – or even an interview.If you’re searching for a job right now, chances are you’ve heard the terms ‘resume or CV’ thrown around quite often. In fact, you’ve probably spent a good amount of time updating these career material when applying for new positions.
Let’s define Resume as “self-advertisement” that sums up your experience on one page. Your resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application. It gives the hiring manager an overview of the qualifications you have for the job for which you’re applying.
THE PURPOSE OF A RESUME
Your resume is a marketing tool. It needs to demonstrate:
- That you are employable
- How you meet the job and the organization’s requirements
- That you have the right qualifications and education
- That you have the right experience and skills
- That you have the right level of professionalism for the job
Resumes Should Be Fact-Driven
Your resume should provide clear and quantifiable proof of your skills and abilities as a professional.
This is important because your resume must be 6-second worthy – that’s the amount of time a recruiter or hiring manager spends initially skimming your resume. If they don’t see what they need during the initial skim, you’ve just gone into the ‘no’ pile. Additionally, their eyes work in a Z pattern, meaning left-to-right across the top of the resume, and then back down the left-hand side.
How Your Resume Can Become 6-Second Worthy
The best indicator that your resume beats the 6-second skim is with a single glance – do you see white space? Good resumes are well-formatted with plenty of white space.
In fact, it’s better that your resume goes onto a second page rather than trying to cram all the information in small, nearly unreadable lines. A good rule of thumb is to never use a font smaller than 11 points on your resume.
Here’s what make most CV’s stand Out from the rest
- It should be easy to read: The resume should have plenty of white space and should be one or two pages long.
- It must be nicely organized: Line spacing should be right, Company’s name must be bold, title italicized, job details arranged in bullet points and no single typographical error should be found.
- Font should be nothing fancy:Too many candidates waste time obsessing over which font to use. Your font should be simple and easy to read and is advisable to use font size 11 or 12.
- It should tell a story: It should be able to tell a story about your career journey. From the top to the end, the employer must be able to see a “staircase pattern’ of your career growth. In other words, the chronological list of work history — in order of date, with the most recent position at the top — should show a clear progression of more senior roles and more advanced responsibilities.
- It should list your accomplishments, rather than just responsibilities: Employers or HR are not interested in reading what you copied and pasted from the original job description listing. What employers really want to know is whether you’re an above average candidate who’s capable of delivering quantifiable results. It’s always better to highlight your responsibilities by detailing your most impressive accomplishments; Examples:
- Instead of “expanded operations to international markets,” say “expanded operations to eight new countries in Nigeria.”
- Instead of “led marketing and sales team,” say “supervised marketing and sales team and achieved 15% annual growth vs. 0.5% budget.”
- It should tell the truth: There shouldn’t be any discrepancies that raise red flags. Everything must be believable and the numbers of working experience must not be exaggerated. Even better, the resume should have links to your previous employer’s LinkedIn page and professional website, which included a portfolio of their work. This will make it easier for the employer to fact-check the resume. While big accomplishments and recognizable company names will give you an advantage, make no mistake: Employers will do a reference check — and if they find out that you lied about something, it’s game over.
- It shouldn’t have any cliché claims: There shouldn’t be generic and high-level claims such as “creative,” “hard-working,” “results-driven,” “excellent communicator” or, “team player.” Including any of these cliché terms will make your hiring manager roll their eyes in less than a second. Skip the cheesy adjectives and overused terms and go for action verbs instead. Examples like:
- Instead of “excellent communicator,” say “presented at face-to-face client meetings and spoke at college recruiting events.”
- Instead of “highly creative,” say “designed and implemented new global application monitoring platform.”
Now this brings us to another big question;
Do I need to change my resume for each application?
This is a very important question, as many applicant make mistake of submitting same resume to 6 different job applications. You need to tailor your resume to every job application so that it responds to the specific requirements of the job you’re applying for.
You might not need to change much, but you do need to make sure your opening statement, your key skills and your personal attributes all respond to the needs of the role, based on the job ad (if there was one) and the research you’ve done into the job.
You should also tailor your resume to show how your work experience specifically meets the needs of the job you’re applying for.
How to tailor your resume
Ways that you can tailor your resume include:
- Using your opening statement to link your experience and education to the organisation and the requirements of the job
- Listing your most relevant key skills first
- Including examples of achievements that meet the advertised requirements of the job
- Including specifically relevant key words and phrases throughout your resume