Now that the economy appears to be turning around in Australia and forecasts are tentatively optimistic, there are more people looking to change the jobs that they desperately hung on to during the past 18 months, fearful that there might not have been anything else out there for them during the GFC.
With that in mind, if you are feeling that its time to explore the job market, you will need marketing material to let your potential employers know what you have to offer. There are many ways to promote yourself during the job search process – working with recruiters, making applications for advertised roles, target marketing and networking. For all of these methods, you will require a resume in some form or another. You may need a soft copy of your resume for emailed applications, a copy to attach to an internet application through a job search portal, a hard copy to produce when
chatting over a coffee during a networking meeting, or the content of your resume readily available to include in your LinkedIn profile so your online presence is working for you.
Is yours up to date? Does it contain what is required to capture the attention of your desired audience? Is it easy to read, concise and impactful? Is it just a list of responsibilities or have you included relevant accomplishments to demonstrate the tangible value you have added to your position? Have you included information that might create a negative bias in the readers mind (information such as your birth date, marital status, religion or health)? You might be amazed to know that I still see original resumes from clients that include information that does nothing to highlight their suitability for a specific role but may even hinder their chances of being selected for a screening interview.
Here are a few suggestions to point you in the right direction:
Choose a fuss-free layout, ensure you name and contact details (mobile phone and email address are requirements) are at the top, include a career summary or professional profile that highlights your relevant experience, core competencies and technical skills. This should capture the attention of the reader instantly and place you in the yes or maybe rather than the no pile for your target role.
What else do you need in the resume? Professional experience, company names, job titles, dates that you held each role, scope of your roles and the all important bullet points with your accomplishments documented as impactful as possible.
Academic qualifications, professional development courses, professional memberships and affiliations all have their own section in the resume too. In an initial application references can be available upon request.
How long should the resume be? Please keep it to 2-3 pages if possible. No-one wants to read a long rambling dissertation on your entire work/life history. Make sure its easy to read there is no point
in squeezing a lengthy tome on to two pages in 8 point font with very narrow margins! No-one will want to read it especially those people, like me, who have to get out their reading glasses for anything smaller than 10 point font. 10-12 point font is user friendly. Ensure decent margin widths and enough white space, which will make the resume more attractive to read. Remember that screeners look for good reasons NOT to read a resume, especially if there are hundreds of applicants.
Of course you will have to tailor your resume to suit each and every application you make, highlighting what is most relevant to the potential employer.
Proof read, proof read, proof read!!! Get someone else to proof read it too sometimes you can work so hard on your resume that you dont even notice the little mistakes anymore.
The resume is important, as a foot in the door on your way to your dream job and so is your effective online presence – after that you need to project your professional image, brush up on your interview technique and negotiation skills. More on that in future articles.
If you need professional assistance to produce your resume, look me up. Id be delighted to coach you through the process to ensure your resume is as strong as it can be to help land you that all-important interview for a role that you are qualified to secure.
Jane Jackson is a Senior Consultant at Drake International (Recruitment Services) and Director of Style Success, coaching for success. For more information visit www.stylesuccess.biz or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Style Success 2010