So its that time again. You’re in desperate need of a new beginning, and you decide its time to start looking for a new job. First, you start doing some networking and or maybe take some time scrolling through some popular employment search engines for job listings. You’ve narrowed down a list of potential jobs, and you’re confident that you’re a strong applicant, as you should be.
How do you set yourself apart when going up against potentially thousands of applicants for one position? Your resume, cover letter, and or letters of recommendation set the stage for any employment opportunity. Regardless of how charismatic, respectful, compassionate, and hardworking you are, if the documentation you submit doesn’t reflect this. Hiring managers will most likely look past your application, and you will never be able to sell yourself during an interview.
Let us discuss some significant red flags that commonly appear in resumes and ways to fix them.
The Resume Makeover
Step 1. Avoid messy and distracting formatting
Hiring managers inboxes are continually getting flooded with job applications. The last thing they want is to take precious time to decipher your resume. The longer it takes them to find critical components such as your prior work history and references, the less likely they will contact you for a follow-up interview. Be mindful of hiring managers time when formatting your resume. Keep it clear and to the point.
- Stay consistent through your resume, including font styles, font sizes, and tenses.
- Be sure to separate segments of your resume (i.e. education, professional experience, etc.) with clear headers.
- Click here to check out some free downloadable resume templates.
Step 2. Adaptability
The biggest mistake you can make is sending an identical resume out to numerous different jobs. No two jobs are the same. Therefore your resume should be explicitly adapted towards the skills and qualifications detailed on a job listing. Doing this correctly requires some homework. Before you press submit on a job application, you MUST do your research beforehand. Learn about the company mission statement. Try and find reviews from prior employees. What type of credentials did they hold? What is the company public engagement? Lastly, if applicable, be familiar with the CEO of the company as well as the manager whom you’d report to if offered the job.
All this research strengthens you as an applicant in multiple different ways. After a precise investigation of a company, you can quickly adapt the master copy of your resume to fit the position you are applying for. Hiring managers and recruiters can then easily detect specific skills they’re looking for in an applicant. Most importantly, it makes you looked prepared that you care about the job and the company. People want to work with others who are passionate and hardworking. Investing time to learn the in’s and out’s of a company that you apply for shows you’re strong desire to get hired, and gives insight to your expected work ethic once hired.
- Use resume optimization sites such as Jobscan.co to figure out what hard and soft skills to list on your resume for a specific job you are applying for.
- Be sure not to list skills not applicable to you. There must be action behind the statements contained on your resume. Sooner rather than later the truth with surface
- DO YOUR RESEARCH
- Keep a master copy of your resume on file and adapt this to each job you apply to
Step 3. Resume Length
No one wants to read a novel when sorting through job applications. Again, it is imperative to be mindful of job recruiters and hiring managers’ time. A 4-page long resume reveals a couple of things about you. First, it shows you did not do your research. Adding in unnecessary fluff that is unrelated to the job you are applying for only hurts you. It shows you lake focus, attention to detail, and inability to follow directions. A resume is your first impression. If a job listing asks for a requirement of 1-2 years in the field of marketing and all your resume highlights are the skills obtained while babysitting, you most likely will NOT get a call for an interview. Also, when you don’t have the suggested job experience for a position, it is critical to tie in your previous work history.
For example – If you’re applying for a job in management but only have experience as a front desk assistant. You can describe your front desk position as follows:
- In this role, I worked directly with clients, assisting with scheduling appointments, processing payments, and delegating concerns to proper staff members. Day-to-day tasks were fast-past, requiring me to pinpoint problems and initiate creative solutions. I owe my success in this position to my ability to learn new skills quickly and efficiently. Often I was tasked with organizing and maintaining cohesive teams of staff members. During my time here, I obtained an employee of the month recognition for my company dedication.
Although not directly a higher management position, the way the job is described ties directly into the skills desired by a manager role.
- Rule of thumb: Try not to extend your professional experience back more than 5-6 years, unless necessary to explain gaps in employment history.
- Only list relevant and recent experience on your resume
Now that you’ve given your resume a complete makeover you’re all set to apply for that next job!
Are you someone who has trouble networking during big job fairs? Check out my tips on how to network as an introvert here.
Leave a comment below and let me know what field you’re interested in going into.