It doesn’t matter if you’re decided to change your job or to just scoop around to see what’s out there, the most important piece in the process is your resume. Young people, more often than the already established professionals, still have a lot of issues to confront with when applying for their first job or a new one, as the competition is stronger than ever before in this world shaken by the economical crisis and financial instability. Top recruiters offer their advice for the job-seekers as to what to expect and most importantly, what is expected from them by an employer and, truth be told, in today’s ever changing market place and workforce landscape, good jobs are hard to find and one should me not only academically prepared for the tasks to come, but to be adaptable, insightful and truly skilled. But how to prove how suited you are for one particular job? A resume is the mirror of everything you are and sometimes a glance upon what you will become, if written properly. A mere recital of previous work places and schools is not enough anymore, as a good recruiter can and will read between the lines in less than 10 minutes to decide if you will be shortlisted for an interview. So what does this CV of yours should be like and contain as for you to get the chance of proving what you can do.
Your CV should not look like your doctoral thesis. Au contraire, it has to look attractive for the reader. Insert visual elements, personalize it with your own creative touch, choose an interesting info graphic. If you lack visual creativity, check the Internet for some CV templates, but adapt them to your personality and working experience, because any skilled recruiter will recognize ideas that can easily be found on Visualize.me, Re.vu or Zerply. Digital resumes are highly appreciated, but if you don’t have so much experience to fill them with, it’s better not to use them.
Many employers don’t bother to read tens of pages describing your smallest of jobs you detailed there, just to make them understand how hard working and ambitious you are. Instead, focus on what is truly important: clearly specify all your contact details and if you had few jobs before, or there are gaps between your working periods, use the functional CV. This one is most preferred especially if the company you apply to has a very specific work domain. For instance, if you apply for an IT job, group all your jobs and your skills under the category “Computer experience”. There isn’t yet a full consensus over the proper length of a resume, but the main idea is not to keep it too long, nor ridiculously short. Two pages are agreed by many recruiters. Also, keep your name on every page, preferably in the header and insert page numbers in the footer. A photo is sometimes required but don’t use any picture you manage to find in your Facebook profile.
There are a lot of issues to discuss at this point, but the basic rule is to adapt your CV to the company that you want to work for. Remember, this is your life and career’s story, so the language you use is of great importance. Speak to their own language and use terms and key phrases they are used to. A simple listing of jobs and schools and training courses won’t just do, so express yourself naturally, but with a focus on the target. You won’t explain to an IT firm something about your previous obtained results in literary metaphors, as you will want to express those results in concrete numbers, if you apply for an economical field.
We already established that you need to speak your employer’s language, but don’t fall into too many cliches. Many recruiters suggest that one should state a career goal in their resume and that goal should respect some simple rules: it has to be SMART (the acronym). Using expressions like “highly motivated”, “good team player”, “best results” is quite wrong, as such expressions appear in almost all resumes and they don’t convince recruiters anymore. Instead of telling how good of a team-leader you are, you better tell your future employer some actions and activities you took part into and which talk for themselves about your interpersonal skills.
5. Turn irrelevant into relevant
If you feel your work experience is not so heavy but still you want to let your employer know about your recent activity, create your resume in such a manner that every activity will become a key-point in your career. It doesn’t mean you lie, but you highlight the strongest aspects. If you want to get a job in a different area than the one you worked in before, but don’t have so much of a proven experience, then highlight skills and activities relevant to the new position. Tell them you are a long-time blogger, if you want a writing – related position, list your volunteering experiences when posting for a job in the social field and so on.
6.Tone of voice
When using words in your resume, cliches are definitely a no-go. A pompous, pretentious speech will not help you. Instead, as recruiters and NLP specialists state, what words you choose may help you make a step forward in your further employment. So instead of “I’m highly motivated to reach my goals”, try “Last year I succeeded to increase my company’s media visibility with 10%”. Use words as “succeeded”, “got involved in”, “managed”, “implemented” and so on. Action verbs, verbs that prove implication, initiative and responsibility.
7. Keep it simple
You know the KISS rule, don’t you? It is true that you have to make it look stunning, to fill it with relevant information, many work places or many schools, but all in all, the CV had to breathe and show in an instant who you are and what you are capable of. Top recruiters won’t spend more than 10 minutes – or even less – reading your resume, so take it as a complex but quick snapshot of your skills. It has to be complex but also be the X-Ray of your competencies. After finishing it, take a step back and look at it. Is it too stuffed with information? Are the key-points highlighted? Can you take out some things and replace them with others?
8. Don’t lie
Letting your employer know that using Facebook helped you learn how to build a campaign or how to use an application is one thing. Volunteering for organizing a party for orphan children may have helped you learn some things about logistics and supplies management. Blogging about books, movies, hobbies or even restaurants may have helped you learn something about using a WordPress platform or basic SEO skills. But in no case you won’t present yourself as having Social Media experience, PR and event planning experience or journalistic skills. If those experiences get to be checked, it’s going to be bad for you. It’s going to be worse if you get the job and you will actually receive the task of building a Social Media Marketing Plan. You will probably fail and…
9. Don’t overestimate yourself
If you look for your first or second job, you will need an extra pair of eyes and hands. Even if you are a high rated CEO only changing companies, it’s better to have someone take a second look. If you find a professional to do it, even better, but even so, a friend, a co-worker, a family member, can ask perfectly legit questions, focusing on what they don’t get or what they miss. Also, grammar errors can be easier spotted by two people.
This is almost the last chapter of your resume. Use as reference people who can actually can tell something about your skills and professionalism. Be careful whose name you use and don’t think you can pull it through if you list there your best buddy’s phone number, no matter how well you trained him before. You may ask your present employer for a recommendation, a former teacher, a trustworthy business partner and so on. References are often checked and you don’t want to get yourself into trouble. Some recruiters will tell you that including references on your resume is wrong and “available upon request” sounds even better. This is mostly a manner of choice, really.