Have you been sending in resume after resume but nobody has been calling you?
You have a confident resume and it should bear results, but it seems that it’s not grabbing attention. How many times have you surfed online looking for ideas or some nice template for a visual revamp but you’re still out in the cold?
Read on as we now take a short journey of exploration of some extra ideas and options to make your resume stand out from the rest and grab attention.
A job description style of resume
Most often, our society is basically untrusting and this spills over to hiring new people. Because of this, people tend to be very overly open and honest in their resume. The resume details every part of the employment history. How many times have you been to an interview and prior to the meeting, you are asked to fill out an application form with the same details again. This we feel is really not needed at all. You’ve already submitted your resume and cover letter and that is enough.
Being overly honest and taking almost a confessional attitude in your resume isn’t just an unprofessional approach, it’s totally unnecessary.
A small check list
Let’s make a check list of what your current resume looks like.
1. Long and detailed-perhaps 4 to 5 pages of work history.
2. Detailed, extensive, repetitive or irrelevant information for the job applied. The employer has to sift through what he needs in the many work experiences.
3. Dry and not creatively written with no cover letter.
4. Untargeted- Doesn’t seem to be on point or highlight ambition and accomplishment.
Employers are a busy bunch. They don’t like long winded reports. They like to see everything on one page if possible. They don’t like to read long unnecessary text. Your resume, if it ever sees daylight, is vetted by the human resources or the secretary and a condensed version is given to the boss. But we think no one is doing this type of work these days except an agency like Xremo.
The curse of similarity
Do you think you’re the only one who has this problem? We don’t think so. When job seekers see jobs online, it seems they just start shooting the same resumes all over the place. On the other side, the moderator receives hundreds of resumes. They may look different, but chances are, they are all almost the same and similar to each other, like brainwashed soldiers marching out of camp, with an employment history format which shows the month and year where so and so worked and the list of experience.
The same experience is repeated in the next job and the next one. This is what we mean by repetition, irrelevant details and all the other boring stuff we listed above. We’re quite sure this is what’s happening in resume land. All these resumes look the same at a glance and is very easy to miss.
Bearing this in mind, we would like to suggest the following changes.
1. Revamp – Transform one generic resume into multiple targeted resumes.
2. Summarise the resume to 1 to 2 pages. Less is more.
3. Condense your vast experience into one Capability Statement. A short paragraph will do nicely.
4. Write an Objective statement – This can be a sentence of an introduction of yourself and then in point form, list your objectives in coming in for this job. Put this at the beginning – at the top.
One more point. Your objective statement can be differently worded and tailored for the different jobs you apply. A general one will not do.
A general statement does not mirror the exact job descriptions. Your mission is to make the employer feel that you are the one who communicates most precisely to the corresponding job requirements, hence the needs of the employer. You also made the job of selecting you easier for them instead of the sifting through. Select a larger font size and speak to them clearly using your words and not just give them some information to process. They might just end up saying, “We think this candidate is saying what we want to hear.”
5. Gaps in Employment History.
Do not worry about this so much. In case you have been saying, “I’ve been working in Company A from December 2011 to May 2013 and then from October 2013 to August 2015.”
The above is ok but not necessary. Once you’ve listed your capabilities, you can just list the company and the years. Exclude the months and you can cover those time gaps.
Just list your employment history in a simple list format at the bottom of the page. Bring all your wonderful capabilities to the front. This way, you’ll have a better chance of being noticed.
6. Do I need to list my entire job history?
The answer is no. Remember, this is a professional job resume and not a trip to the priest to admit where you did wrong. You just have to choose some of the most recent, better and most importantly the relevant ones for each job you apply. So again, each of the resumes you send can be different here too. Be confident, yes?
A generic resume does not work as well as a targeted one.
Make a targeted resume for each job and keep track. A tailor made resume, with irrelevant job experience removed will more likely get you that interview. The key is to get them to focus more easily on your strengths.
7. Write a targeted cover letter.
Everyone has a measure of experience that they are not communicating properly and with clarity. Here is where some creative writing is required. Writing creatively can be hard but can be developed. Write a strong and clear letter which showcases your passion for the job and shows them that you are the right one to meet their needs.
8. Custom Design, Material, Layout and Physical Mail in.
We’ve touched a little on this before. Instead of using old and dated layout formats, why not update them with some modern ones?
A customised approach in design and special paper can be used. A colourful custom made envelope which you can hand in physically via courier. The advantage here is the element of pleasant surprise and trouble taken by you to make this happen. The HR which processes all emailed resumes has to shortlist and print them for the boss, in boring generic A4 paper, but hey, yours is already prepared, printed in pristine Conqueror 100 grams. What a gesture of respect to those who recognise it. They might as well put you on top of the list right away.
Such is the enduring power of the printed page vs emailed ones stuck in some server somewhere waiting to be printed by some forgotten printer in a forgotten corner.
In Part 2, we will do a deeper dive into these important perspectives.