Whether one is searching for that dream position or is fresh out of college and looking to get their foot in the door, it is important not to underestimate the power of a great resume. A great looking, high quality resume can make a huge difference between landing that position, or being lost amongst the multitude of lackluster CVs. Here are several great ways one can spruce up their resume, and land that position that they’ve been dreaming of.
Create a Dynamic Cover Letter
Cover letters are an extremely important feature of any resume, and should not be discounted. Cover letters should always be individualized and customized in order to pertain to the position being applied for. It is important to include relevant information, such as why one is interested in the position, the way in which one found out there was an opening, as well as any other information which would boost one’s chances in securing an interview.
Be Sure to Include a Summary
When it comes to deciding which job applicants deserve a follow up call, many recruiters will decide based on a quick glance over the resume, and a thorough reading of the summary. A professional summary is vital to include at the top of a resume, in order to capture interest and intrigue. This is the perfect place to quickly highlight professional and personal skills, in order to compel the reader to continue reading, and seriously consider that candidate for the position. It’s important not to make a summary too lengthy. Anywhere between five to eight sentences should be plenty in order to get the job done.
Add Relevant Work Experience – Tailor the Resume to the Job
Many people assume that the same standard resume should be sent out to all positions being applied for. However, this is not the best strategy. For example, the skill set which would be required of a marketing position may be quite different from the skill set required of a personal assistant. Therefore, it is best to emphasize strengths or qualities which would be of greater use for each unique position. For example, communication and creativity skills may be of greater use in a marketing role, whereas multitasking and competency in various office equipment would be particularly beneficial for someone applying for a position as a personal assistant. Highlight and emphasize skills based on which position is being applied for.
Don’t Discount Volunteer Work
One important quality which many people tend to overlook, is the importance of philanthropy and volunteer work. For example, showcasing volunteer work on a resume is a great way to fill in any gaps which might be appear on one’s resume. This is particularly true for those who took a leave of absence to go back to school, or to stay at home with their children. Volunteer work can also help a person build a unique set of skills. This could be beneficial in showing how well rounded a candidate is. Many employers are looking for individuals who are versatile, and can work in various capacities. Including volunteer work is a great way to showcase such versatility.
Make Sure Resume is Updated
An unfortunate mistake people make, is to not look over their resume every few months in order to keep it up to date. There are many skills and trainings that one may acquire throughout their employment at a particular position. Perhaps one received CPR or first aid certification at their last job, or maybe they attended a training on conflict management. These skills may be overlooked or forgotten about if they aren’t added to a resume upon completion. All of those seemingly miniscule details matter when it comes to selecting the best candidate for a job, especially if two candidate are similar in tenure and experience.
Be Sure to Update References
Throughout the years, as one grows in their professional career, it is vital to make sure that personal and professional references are updated as well. It is common to fall out of touch with references or contacts one may have had at a position ten years ago. Before moving on from a current position (if one will be leaving on good terms), it is a good idea to secure at least one or two references from that place of employment. It is also important to review personal references on a regular basis. Reevaluate those references, and ask one’s self if there are other friends or family members who could be better suited as references.
Emphasize Leadership Skills and Ability to Work with Others
Even if a position will be more of a solitary role, all employers are looking for natural leaders who understand how to work well with others. Individuals who bring these skills to the table are often highly self motivated, and enjoy collaboration with co-workers. These are two of the most sought after skill sets when seeking out new talent. Do not be afraid to talk about any accomplishments one has made over the course of their career, no matter how miniscule or inconsequential they may seem. If one was nominated for employee of the year, one should add that to their resume, even if they didn’t win. Just being nominated for “Employee of the Year,” means that coworkers took notice of one’s contributions to the team.
Get a Fresh Set of Eyes to Look Over the Resume
It is often said that “two heads are better than one”. A good idea is to have a trusted friend or family member look over the resume, and see if they can come up with any thoughts or suggestions for improvement. Perhaps there was a relevant work experience or philanthropic activity you may have taken part in and forgotten about. Having a trusted friend or family member (or even colleague) can be quite beneficial in helping one make their resume as attractive as possible.
Searching and applying for that perfect job can be stressful or even daunting. It is no secret that job recruiters often have to search through hundreds of resumes to find a candidate who would be a great fit for that position. However, creating that perfect resume which stands out amongst the others can greatly increase one’s chances of securing that position.