Recruiting the right talent is a tough call to make. Think about it from the recruiter’s point of view. You as the recruiter know your company needs smart, dedicated, competent people. You begin to shortlist and wonder as you go through each resume if this person is ready to be part of the company. If this applicant fits the bill. If the applicant is consistent, stable and reliable. And most importantly, will this applicant prove to be a worthy resource.
I know so many of my friends who say that we don’t get called for interviews and we don’t quite understand why.
It is a common notion but it is important to understand what a recruiter is looking for before you start making statements of this kind. For this, a different kind of research is required into the company’s ways and working environment before you submit your resume. You need to understand if your personality gels in with the company’s culture. If you reflect their values and vision. And when you have that information – you need to prepare.
Your resume is your first step. This short document figures in a recruiter’s eyes as a reflection of the resource you could turn out to be. Key point here is potential. Which needs to be communicated in a subtle yet effective way.
You are not expected to write in your resume, I can adapt to any kind of culture, company and can change or modify my ethical values. Your writing style must reflect your confidence and ability to adapt to new environments.
You need to stand for your own beliefs and yet show your willingness to learn and adapt. The right balance is crucial.
You may not be the perfect resource yet. But you could have the potential to be. Your resume and interview both need to convey these two important elements.
Which is also the reason, experts tell you to customize your resumes for each job application.
Every company that is hiring is looking for a certain set of skills. It’s also possible they are looking for an attitude that fits their culture, vision and values.
Of course they are looking for skills. That goes without saying. But they are also looking for other things. They are looking for a value addition. Now the question you need to ask yourself is how you can convey this through your resume or the short interview you may get called for. How can you be the candidate that offers them what they need.
You can start out by writing a resume that speaks to the recruiter. Here are some tips to help you do just that.
Start with an objective statement
This first statement needs to describe how you approach your work. Are you passionate, learning oriented, experienced, sure of yourself and ready to exceed expectations?
Look up keywords like the ones I have mentioned that describe your working style. Include them in your objective statement. Always remember that your achievements, experiences and references should vouch for what you claim here. Your whole resume should link up to this statement.
Hold your ground and use words that help to create a strong footing for what you are about to share with the recruiter.
Make it interesting but not funny. Recruiters look down on funny resumes. This is not the place to be witty. You are asking for an interview. Be professional and mention how you perform under pressure. It’s a good idea to add one major strength here.
Your objective statement needs to be short but precise. It needs to clearly communicate what you envision for your career and this job in particular.
Develop sections. Reflect your thought process
Most people don’t know this, but the way you write your resume reflects your thought process. If you start out from a summary statement and jump to skills and then go back to experience and mention achievements in your experience, the thought process is not exactly impressive. In fact, your resume is aiming for the trash bin.
On the other hand, if you make it easy for the person looking to hire you, develop appropriate sections and create a flow to your resume, the recruiter is going to notice you. If your flow is self explanatory, you can play with the sections to create your own flow of your resume. Your skills can in that case come first, too. That entirely depends on how you build your thought process into your resume.
Important point is to think clearly. Think of what you did last. Start out from your recent position and go backwards. For each experience, mention your most important responsibility and how you managed to turn it around. Use simple language but spray your keywords for relevance.
For tech applicants, their important terminologies must be mentioned. For HR applicants, their keywords need to pop up to give out precise information on how they improved on HR processes and added value.
Similarly, all professionals in their own specific areas need to inform the recruiter about how they have contributed positively to their previous employers.
Be sure to add dates and a one liner about the employer. This adds credibility.
Education, Achievements and Skills
I know that most people mix these up. It’s good to know that your education is the degree you hold from a University, College or Business School. Your achievements are what you have been able to accomplish in your past experiences – in a professional capacity. Don’t make a long list. Aim for 3-5 major achievements.
Mention each one of your achievements separately. If the recruiter asks you a question about your achievements in the interview – you should be able to provide relevant information.
Skills are the basics of any job application, although they generally come way down in the resume. You must mention communication skills. It’s good to mention your proficiency in softwares like Microsoft office etc.
On top of this, mention specifics. For each profession, these will vary. Make sure you are honest. This is not going to go away in a day. If you are hired, your manager will take you up on every word you write here. So don’t exaggerate or lie.
Language and formatting
Proofread your resume yourself. Get it proofread from others too. Get feedback. Format for clarity. Make sure your formatting enhances the flow of your resume, making it reader friendly.
Check for grammar errors. Apply spell checks.
Badly written resumes get you knocked off the interview list without a second’s delay. Make sure you have read and re-read the document at least 15 times.
Use simple formatting. Bullet points are your best friend for resume writing. Make use of them whenever listing down a number of skills or achievements.
Aim for a one pager. If your content is spilling over, aim for fewer words on each page. A good guideline is to keep your word count on each page close to 350 words.
Pictures, images and graphics
Attempt this only if you know how to make the most of the graphics. For graphic designers and creatives, a resume with pictures, graphics and fancy formatting works as a portfolio. And of course infographic resumes with figures, graphs and beautifully designed templates can do wonders for people who are in the business of creativity.
For the more techie kinds, this might be a bit too much and may be perceived in a negative way. So stick to your guns and make sure you prepare a succinct document that is best suited for your line of work.
Customize for every employer
I cannot emphasize this enough. Every employer is unique with its own recruitment policy and unique set of values. While your resume writing style may work for one employer, it may completely turn off another. So customize before you send out your resume for a specific job posting.
Make this the rule of your job hunting process. Customize for every employer. Research the company’s working culture, ways of hiring and their management style. Write accordingly. Tweak your language and always send out an updated document. It takes time and effort but it creates the perception of a professional who takes his/her work seriously.
These are just some of the tips to spruce up a resume that will get noticed by a recruiter. If you need personal coaching or need help in writing up your resume, you can leave me a message here and I will get back to you.
Meanwhile check out this infographic for some great tips for interviews.
Hope your Sunday is fun and relaxing! Happy job hunting!
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