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 20 seconds’ tops before they move on to the next candidate.
With this mind, what would you do differently?
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” & 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 resume.
BUT… what is even more important are the choice of WORDS to put on your resume.
The right choice of words in the right order will give the reader the right message you are trying to send out and ultimately make them shortlist you and send you an e-mail inviting you for an interview.
One of the most common mistakes people do is writing every single word as clinical as can be (e.g. Performed tasks under deadlines & co-operated with teammates) — which will make your resume so common and boring.
So, how do you write an irresistible resume that attracts interviews like a magnet?
The 3 Tips To Keep in Mind:
Tip #1 – Sell the Truth & Make it Fascinating.
YOUR RESUME IS A MARKETING PIECE.
There are a million ways to list your academics.
You could tell the truth & 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 & Social Studies.”
There are no rules saying that you have to list your achievements in a particular way. Your resume is your canvas.
But I get asked a lot what to 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 & relevant subject title 1, 2, 3) __.”
Psychology research shows that simply including a certain name or label sparks a relative association with that name.
Example A: “I have worked as a driver, call operator & retail assistant.”
Example B: “I have worked for Uber, Apple & ZARA.”
Which sentence jumped out at you? Why?
Because the 3 companies have spent millions and billions of dollars on marketing to establish their brand presence & personality.
By putting names like that on your resume, 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 resume.
Sell the truth (don’t lie) & make it fascinating.
The point is to show them what you have achieved that is relevant and of interest to them. Not everything and anything you have achieved.
Imagine that you are on your first date and your date asked you 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 you picked your nose on the way there.
The same goes to writing your resume. It’s your first date with the company and it’s your opportunity to make yourself shine.
Position yourself in the best light possible.
Tip #2 – Wearing Your Boss’s Shoes.
Your RESUME is the first (and sometimes, the only) thing the company sees of you. Wouldn’t you want to make an impression?
Mind you, the people who work in Human Resource spend literally 8 hours a day, 8am to 5pm, 5 days a week, looking through HUNDREDS and THOUSANDS of people, and you, yes you, just taking the time to understand how they would feel and perceive you when it’s your turn – 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, record it, edit it and posted it online without a thought?
In reality, a lot of effort and time was spent to edit that video second-by-second and the title for that post was rewritten at least 10 times before they actually click the “Publish” button.
From the employer’s perspective, they want someone who is not just smart & reliable, but they also want a team player, somebody who is fun to work with.
You seen it before.
Someone with poorer grades than you got hired for a great job.
How does this happen?
Because that person knew very well how to socialize besides just having the “skills” 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). Use numbers where possible.
Picture this, you went against all your friend’s & 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 sent their resumes to you:
Person A: “Performed daily operations & 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 under 5 days.
Pitch B got your attention huh?
Tip #3 – Be a storyteller.
Your resume tells a story to the employer.
Your resume should have a narrative that gives the reader an impression of what you are about in less than 5 seconds.
If you just throw in ALL your achievements from your spelling bee, to your 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 good at anything!”
Like the saying “if you love everyone, it means that you love no one in particular.”
In essence, what are the 1 or 2 main words that you want to be associated with?
After the hours of reviewing other applicants, what do you want to be remembered as?
If your resume included pottery, spelling bee, taekwondo, they can’t have a clear memory of what you stand for.
But if your resume included just attending business conferences, did marketing and sales, they will recall you as the business & marketing guy, whichever is more memorable in their heads.
Make your message as memorable as possible.
What are your 2 words?
It is worth noting that your resume is your 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 is perceived as such. His past achievements are the same, it was just the way he appeared that made the difference.