It’s a horrible job but no time like the present.
Resumes and cover letters, two horrible formats to have to use to sell yourself, but they are the formats that most businesses tell us we need to persevere with when applying for jobs.
No matter whether you are applying for a promotion, looking to change career or in the active job hunting market, most of the time we need to use these outdated tools to get to the interview stage.
I hate updating my resume and cover letter, really hate it. As a result I very rarely sell myself well in either document. That’s ok if I’m applying within my network or even in my wider industry to a certain degree as my contact base and experiance might be enough to carry me. But I’m a perfectionist I always want my resume to shine. I just struggle to be anything but self effacing.
However since I’m working from home, and im digging through a list of the other jobs I hate and procrastinate over, I’ve added the resume to the list.
After an initial review while the formatting and grammar were all ok, its 3 years out of date. I have alot of work to do.
It’s also just flat, it reads like a long list of technical jargon that pigeon holes me, not the resume of a person with a broad range of experiences and skills. Looking at it, all I could do was shake my head and despair over what I need to do.
Luckily for me help is at hand
There are a number of free resources out there.
An internet search will provide you with a huge number of free guides and resources to get your resume reading more like the sales document for you that it should be in no time.
Canva a free app which I come back to time and time again for templates for all sorts of different subjects, provides a huge array of impactful visual templates for your resume.
LinkedIn is another great platform for hints and tips, right now you can also find coaches who will give your resume a free health check and some more hints and tips on how to improve the presentation to make you stand out from the crowd and deliver the information you need to convey clearly and effectively.
Hints and tips to keep your resume out of the waste paper bin
Use a head shot : you have a smartphone, something smart to wear and you have a solid coloured wall somewhere in your home, take a presentable professional headshot and include it at the top of your resume. Never ever doubt the power of appearance.
Template: there are thousands out there to choose from, lots of colours and distractions will detract from the power of your message, but at the same time there is nothing worse than a boring white page with a list of accomplishments, trainings and jargon. Choose a smart template that allows you to lay out your information in a clear and tidy way with a small splash of colour and personality.
Formatting: the document should be well formatted with margins, fonts, text sizes, headings, sub headings all presentable and consistent. If your not sure how to accomplish that, search it. There are thousands of guides out there and 20 minutes online will help you out.
Describe yourself: dont just list what your experiance is. List what makes you, you, the skills and experiance you bring. That could be problem solving, analytical skills, people skills whatever those are describe yourself and your attributes. LinkedIn bios are a good example of this, I could be a project manager for company x, but my bio may describe me as a practical problem solver with strong analytical skills in the manufacturing business.
Split up the experiance and the technical stuff: sometimes less is more, your detailed job history yes we need that, the skills and experiance you gained and challenges you faced, yes we need that. Do I need to know each and every piece of equipment, software, hardware, cell phone or app you used in that job? Maybe I do but dont include it all in one long list. Split out the detailed technical parts into a separate appendix. It’s all still there and if its appropriate to the situation the reviewer can read it. It gives them the choice and a resume that’s easier to read and pick out information from is more successful.
Training: dont list every single course you have ever completed, I dont need to know you are certified to use a printer 3000 or that you are certified to use PowerPoint. I get it they may be may be big achievements for you, but are not exceptional to the prospective employer. List the training that gave you skills and experiance or developed your knowledge in an area that’s relevant to their business and discuss what that training did for you, dont just list the course.
Hobbies and interests: yeah I know we have all been there and mine normally reads along the line, reading, music, football and golf. So compelling to the reader.
Instead list the main ones and discuss why they are worth mentioning, maybe they give you a transferable skill, teach you life lessons, de stress you etc. Many of our hobbies and interests are assets to us on a resume if we discuss them in the right way.
A good resume will run to maximum 3 pages, well formatted with spellings and grammar on point with the head shot at the top of page 1 front and centre.
Hopefully you find these tips and tricks helpful and useful.
If your struggling with this right now like I was reach out there is lots of help at hand.