They say that a mere 7 seconds or less is that one defining moment where your application goes through or gets tossed out. This is perhaps true considering the fact that we ourselves get terribly impatient when a web page takes more than 5 seconds to fully load up or acutely aware when our Wi-Fi starts to lag.
It’s frustratingly inconvenient when modern conveniences don’t work their part.
Imagine yourself as a job recruiter. Your daily routine for the most part includes job matching and sorting. Imagine having to go through hundreds if not thousands of resumes, straining your eyes on screens all day. It would be hard to even remember which is which at times. This is especially hard when you can only focus on one resume at a given moment on screen (because no one sends hard copy these days) or it’s for a very specialized position for an important client. A recruiter or interviewer faces some serious challenges in this respect such as:
1. Time. Making the best of it.
2. Sorting relevance from irrelevance during the shortlisting process.
3. Maintaining that sharp focus.
Needless to say, time is the most pressing of the three above. How would you do it if you were in their shoes?
The answer to this lies in the presentation. It’s quite a tightrope but there is little other choice for a jobseeker than to try and make your resume stand out rather visually. You have to “make the best of their time” and the resume and cover letter is your “face” before being selected. A short and sweet approach is preferable when dealing with people who have little time on their hands. Don’t you agree?
To revamp that cover letter and resume, check out our article “Building a strong portfolio to attract employers”.
Depending on the type of industry, the common A4-sized resumes and cover letters may look generic, unattractive, and irrelevant. This signals that not much work has been put in. Also, long winded paragraphs are quite the turn off. Try saying what you want to say in a single or shorter statement, in point form and leave out all the irrelevant stuff. Try to write clearly defined sections with concisely written descriptions. This is what some applicants may not understand. Long paragraphs often contain information that’s irrelevant to the job being applied, sound nagging and overdone. Consider streamlining your resume and cover letter with these guidelines.
1. Target your words more accurately.
2. Use point form statements instead of paragraphs where needed.
3. Consider a well designed cover letter and resume. Templates are available online.
4. Make it interesting visually so that it stands apart from others.
5. Clearly defined the sections with concisely written descriptions.
- Refine your social media
It’s common nowadays for potential employers to screen you discreetly through your social media. Obviously, this is done to get a closer look at you, what you’re like and who your friends are. However, not all employers or recruiters do this as they lack the time. For further insight, check out our article “Building a strong portfolio to attract employers”.
- The ‘One Page Resume’ advantage
This approach is effective as there is only one page to go through. By doing this, you made their job much easier. As we said in the earlier point, clearly marked areas with spot on descriptions are the way to grab their attention in this short time span. Do not crowd that A4 paper with words as empty space are not a waste, but an advantage which is easy on the scanning eye to target worthy information. Also pay close attention to font type and play with 2-3 font sizes. For more on this, refer to your previous article “Resume’s of Recognition”.
- Taking a cue from design
There are reasons why newspapers have big bold headlines that can be read from across the street and billboards have even fewer words but more on the image. Passing motorists don’t have the time to stop and read because they have to pay attention to the road but they do, only for 2-3 seconds. The same principle applies to your resume and cover letter.
- The one single thing that should stand out in your resume
This one fact is what you can do for the company. In the employer’s mind, concerns like “what you can do for me?” or “ why should I hire you?” are the primary ones. In your capability statement (refer Resumes of Recognition) try wording it out to address that need as directly as possible. This is part of customizing your resume differently for each application. How do you identify the employer’s needs to do this? Just look at the job description and the company’s business focus on their website as well as their pain points. Do not send a generic one size fits all resume which sounds like “I’m a hardworking individual with a proven track record in sales”. Instead try writing it like this and be as industry specific as you can.
“Attained five years of experience in leading a team of designers for above and below the line design work for print, outdoor and social media with specific focus on UI/UX design for brand presence and sales.”
“Attained five years of experience in leading a team of sales executives for automotive and accessories sales with specific focus on after sales & services, accessories sales and business development and follow up in Penang.”
Pretty simple isn’t it? Take note that the above must immediately address the pain points of your potential employer. Review this repeatedly till your words match.
By doing these simple things above, you’ve just worked extra hard to tell the recruiter or employer that you are the right fit for that position.
As always, put into practice all you’ve read and continual changes on your resume is a given. Our career advisors will take you by the hand and partner with you further on engaging the employer in the most targeted way.