As you are aware a Resume is used as a way and a means to apply for a job. It is used to provide essential information about yourself. But over time the information required on a Resume has changed dramatically. In this module, you will see the changes and how you can make a Resume that sells your skills and expertise.
What will make you
stand out of the crowd?
We need to ask the question why do you need to stand out from the crowd. The job markets have become even more competitive and with hundreds of people applying for one given position, you really need to stand out. So how can you stand out?
By doing things differently. Your Resume needs to be:
Give the Recruiter / Line Manager what they are looking for.
Resumes have transitioned through the years
Through time Resumes have evolved to what they are today. In the early 80's and 90's Resumes were known as a “Bio Data”. It predominantly consisted of only personal information. Details such as Personal Information, Education and Work experience were stated in the document. But all that changed when HR, Recruiters and Line Managers realised that this never gave a very clear picture of the candidates skills. They wanted more information. Hence our Resumes evolving to what it is today. Resumes are more technical now.
More Information: Have more information concerning the work the person has done and is more achievement driven than task driven. In addition, most Resumes try to reflect what the candidate can do for the company which is a total change from the Bio Data of the 80s.
Need to be Keyword Optimised: With the advent of technology, recruiters have tried to make things easier for themselves. Instead of short listing huge numbers of Resumes they now have a computer software called Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that do the shortlisting for them. It isn’t great but gets the job done. If a candidate does not know how to make a Resume that is keyword rich, he/she will less likely be selected for a job. Instead, their Resume gets ranked right at the bottom of the pile.
They need to be made to pass the 6-second rule: Research has been done on how long it takes for a Recruiter to check a Resume before moving on. It was a shocking 6 seconds. Only 6 seconds! So you need to make sure you catch the person's attention in 6 seconds otherwise your Resume could be overlooked.
Our job in this Module is to ensure that we show you how to make your Resume sell.
But before we start. Let us ask you one question. What do you think a Resume is used for? If you answered that it is used to get a job, then you are close, but a Resume is there to get you an interview. An interview is there to get you the job. Now, this is a very important point to remember.
If you know that a Resume is there to get the interview you will stop putting in unnecessary information in your Resume. Just the right information that is needed to get you the interview is necessary is what needs to be focused on. How will you know what is important to go into the Resume?
The key is to work backwards, understand what the employer is looking for and then make your Resume to meet that requirement. Just keep in mind, do not lie, write what you have accomplished but in the way that would increase your chances in getting the interview.
Doing this will also give you the realisation that not everything needs to be put on the Resume.
Understanding what recruiters want is essential in placing your content on your Resume. A test was done on over 500 Recruiters with special equipment to see where their eyes went when scanning a Resume. Surprisingly the most time was spent on the top quarter page of the Resume. For those positions that needed a strong educational background most of the time spent was on the bottom where education is usually placed.
In our books, we would recommend your Resume having a format as follows:
Name, Address, Phone number, Mobile and Email Address
Training/ Certificates /Education
Any other information
Types of Resumes
There are different types of Resumes but the 3 main types are:
Just remember in Australia and mostly around the world chronological resumes are used. In some countries Combination resumes may come in handy. Some Recruiters / Companies are usually suspicious about people using functional Resumes because they feel that they are usually hiding long bouts of unemployment.
Making your Resume
To start off always remember to make 1 major Resume, that is what we call a base Resume. This is your main Resume that you will use as your major Resume, it will be the one that you will alter for jobs. You see one Resume fits all jobs doesn't work anymore and it is for this reason that your Resume does not get picked up by Applicant Tracking Software.
You will need to change your Resume for every position you apply for in order for it to have a chance. Always remember to target your Resume for the Job. This is the process you will need to follow:
1. Executive Summary
Read the Job Description and understand it. Job descriptions are your Bible. You see job descriptions are written by Line Managers for the position. In other words, you are getting into the head of the Manager when you read a job description. Try to understand what he/she is looking for. If you can put yourself in their shoes and in a nutshell understand what they want, you can make your Executive Summary to cater to that.
3. Area of Expertise
This is your keyword area (Area of Expertise). Go through the Job Description again and mark out words that stand out to you. They will also pop up multiple times. Those are keywords. (There is an amazing resource at the bottom. It will save you time in looking for keywords yourself.). You will need to be tactful and pick up those keywords that will sell you. See the ones that will resonate with the Line Manager.
b. On the other side, (right side) you will add your experience under the heading of Transferable Skills. See Fig T2. So here is an example. Let's say on the left-hand side (job description information) you have:
“Produce training documentation for our clients based on their specific software design utilising the organisation's base training materials and working with the implementation teams and clients to meet their training needs.” and you have done similar work in one
of your Organisations, so you can write on the right-hand side (transferable skills)
“Worked with the developers and programmers of a customised Advertising software that ran competitive result reports and risk analysis. Created customised documentation for the program and delivered customised training to in-house Advertisers”. Do you understand how this is done? Attached is a completed sheet on Transferable skills for your convenience.
Under this section, you will place all training’s you have gone through along with date and institutes.
2. Major Achievements
Highlight those achievements related to the job in question. For example, if you are in sales and sold insurance previously and applying for a sales position in Insurance make sure you highlight those achievements as they are more important than you pointing out other achievements that may not be relevant.
4. Work Experience:
Now let's talk about work experience. There are times when people really don't know what to add here. We are going to show you some techniques how to target your Resume for the job. Yes, you can add what you have done previously in your Resumes but you need to remember that we have to grab the attention of the Line Manager. You can do this by adopting Transferable Skills.
In order to do this, you will need to do the following:
a. You will open MS Excel and put all the content of your Job Description on the left side of the screen under the heading “Essential Functions” See Fig T1. Remove all unnecessary information.
c. Add the company name where you did this work: When jotting down your transferable skills remember which job and position you did that work at.
d. Now the magic: Collect all the information you put under transferable skills (right hand side of the excel) and place it under each work area depending on where you did the work. So for example under work experience for Mckenzie ( the company you worked for) add "Worked with the developers and programmers of a customised Advertising software that ran competitive result reports and risk analysis. Created customised documentation for the program and delivered customised training to inhouse Advertisers”. You will do this for every position you have held.
This too is pretty straight forward. Just add your Education with dates and location.
How to make your Resume stand out
Now you need to start tidying up your Resume. You need to again go through these steps:
1. Put yourself in the shoes of the manager: Once your Resume is done go through the Resume and ask yourself “If I were the Line Manager hiring for this position would I hire this person?” If your answer is “No” that means you need to go back to the drawing board and ask yourself what you can do better in order to make your Resume stand out.
2. Remember that your pitch needs to go into the Executive Summary: We cannot emphasise how important this area is. It comes under the most looked at area in a Resume. If you can capture the Line Manager from this area, you will have him reading your whole Resume and in turn calling you for an interview.
3. Is your Resume work experience too bland?
Well, you can spice it up a bit by using these methods:
a. Think like a child: Once your Resume is written, take a look at it from a child's perspective. What do we mean by this? You see children love to break things down and ask questions like why, how (can I make it better?) and if so, what? Let's take the following as an example.
“Procured Laptops for the Company”. This could be something you have mentioned in your work area under your job at Shell. Now analyse this sentence like a child. Using why, how and so what? By doing so you will probably come out with a statement like “Procured 1250 Laptops for Shell's offshore team through tough negotiations leading to a cost saving of AUD XXXXX.” Doesn't this sound better?
b. Specify Numbers: HR, Recruiters and Line Managers alike love numbers. If you can quote amounts in dollar value or percentage etc. you would win them over. They love to hear the amount of money you saved, the amount of revenue you brought in through sales, the amount of Ores your team extracted etc. If you have figures, mention it on your Resume.
c. Use PAR: The acronym PAR stands for Problem, Action, Resolution. When writing out your statement think from the following perspective. What was the problem, what action did you take, and what was the resolution? This way you will get a much fuller sentence.