ANYONE who’s ever applied for a job is familiar with this scene.
You’ve spent ages perfecting your resume, labouring over the exact wording of your “skills” and which font style to choose. But when you get into the interview, your potential future boss lingers over your CV for what seems like a few seconds and tosses it into the pile with everyone else’s. All that work for nothing.
So with a new national survey of HR and hiring managers confirming what we’ve always thought – that employers only look at your resume for a mere 15 seconds – it’s crucial to make yours stand out from the crowd.
Here are five techniques to get your resume noticed, from career counsellor and author of Winning Resumes, Robin Ryan.
1. Emphasise results
Employers stress that demonstrating the results you achieved matters the most in getting noticed. Lace your CV with your accomplishments in past positions. Show your impact and productivity by including details concerning money earned or time or dollars saved. Use numbers to reflect how much, how many.
2. Use key words
Make a list of the “buzz words” connected to perform your type of job. Look through job ads to uncover the major ones. Incorporate these keywords into the sentences describing your previous work experience.
3. Target your resume specifically to the position
Employers search quickly and skim to see you can do a certain job – and they will bin any CV that isn’t geared to that position. (Tip: You may need to have more than one resume if you target different positions – one for when you apply to be project manager, another for your application as systems analyst.)
4. Limit your resume to two pages
Employers are primarily interested in the work you’ve done in the past five to seven years, no matter what level the position is. State results and say exactly what you mean, using the smallest number of words to make the point. Delete anything not relevant or helpful to securing that particular job.
5. Use action verbs
Start each sentence with a descriptive action verb – such as “directed”, “organised”, “established”, “created” or “planned”. You’ll get more attention with short impact sentences demonstrating what you have done.
And finally – proof read! Do a final read through before you hit send. The No.1 complaint employers have is about spelling errors and typos.