September 22, 2020
Building a resume that lands you a job
Resumes are like cakes, there are many different recipes and ways to make one, but finding the right one for your industry and the hiring managers taste is the hard part.
Time and time again, I get people asking me to review their resume or to provide feedback on their resume. To which I respond with, What job are you applying for? Or send me some of the roles you are looking at? Let’s be clear. A resume is a targeted document to a focused brief (the key selection criteria). Yes, you can (and I do recommend) having a document that has all of your experience, like a portfolio of work which you can grab for your resume depending on the role you are applying for. This portfolio of work should exist in a LinkedIn format as well 😉
But for the sake of this blog, I’m going to concentrate on the elements of a resume which will make yours stand out when you are applying for roles, along with tips and hacks to help you on your journey.
Industry & Opinions
You don’t wear sneakers to the opera or wear a soccer jersey to an AFL game. Just like you wouldn’t use an events / PR resume format for a Legal Firm or that format for a Government Job. Some resume formats and styling are suited to specific industries. I recommend connecting with a recruiter or double down on your google research to help you understand what templates are appropriate for which industry. This brings me to another vital point, be careful who you ask for advice. You don’t go to your dentist to gain insight into your car. Same rules apply with resumes, go to a professional in the field. A common problem that I always hear is people gain the wrong advice. They ask there best mate, their mum or even their dog, individuals who love you but may not have the right knowledge to assist in getting you that dream job! I recommend the following tips to understand in depth what type of resume you need and where to get the right opinions. These include:
- Review your network and see whom you may know in the industry you are looking to crack, ask them to review your resume or put you in contact with one of their connections
- Jump onto an industry body websites. There will be tips and contacts you can tap into
- Engage with a mentor or career coach to help you along the process 😉
Having the right content is vital! Keywords and phrases are vital! Ensuring that these words and phrases address the key selection criteria is vital! I recommend a resume to be no more than two pages long, three absolutely max if you are a seasoned veteran. There are many simple formulas to use when developing the right content, traditional models which I think work well is the basic CAR model. Challenge Action and Result. This framework means that you share your experience in the form of contributions and achievements, which are a vital reframe compared to the responsibilities. You are continually aiming to write your resume with the same language used in the role and organisation. To make this happen, follow these steps:
- Take out a highlighter and highlight all the keywords, both skill focussed and attitude focussed. Capture those in a list and cross them off when you have placed them in your resume. Lots of industries will have transferable phrases and meanings to many of these words, so apart of your goal is to identify what word is appropriate to capture your experience in the most accurate way.
- Write out your experience in dot point form recognising contributions and achievements. With all achievements look to quantify the achievement where possible.
- Focus on linking the key skill that they require from your experience, relating it to the context of the position advertised and placing it in the contributions, covering off on all the key skills identified in the position description.
- Make sure all of your content is clean and neat. A resume that is too hard to read will not be read at all.
- If you are applying for multiple roles at any one time, ensure that you have changed elements of your skills to suit each position, a one size fits all options will never go the distance.
Personal Branding & Design
These points relate to industry-specific context and information. Each time you submit a resume or an application, it is a demonstration of who you are as a professional, your work style and what areas of knowledge you have. Always remember that you have 30 seconds to engage the reader and a lot of the time that means getting to the top of the pile or the inbox! Again, people will have different opinions on this but for me personally, I feel that your resume, email signature and LinkedIn profile all need to sing the same tone. What I mean by that is the font, the colourway and the tone that you communicate in needs to be the same across all of your platforms, and comms for job applications.
This can be a difficult task as you may find yourself constantly editing resumes, but you need to remember that in the job hunting world it is quality over quantity. Remind yourself that the person reading your resume has never met you and this could be their first point of contact with you, so you want to make it a good one! Find yourself a colour palette that suits your brand and makes you feel confident. I’m personally a big fan of a little bit of colour on a resume, especially if it makes you stand out from the crowd.
There are soo many different templates that you can tap into from both Canva, Microsoft Office and the internet. Choose something that suits you, and you feel confident in.
With all of these areas covered, you have yourself a quality resume that will lead every application, make you feel confident and raise the bar and expectations of hiring managers to come!