Be prepared

With 2017 drawing to an end, it’s only natural to look back on the year and begin to think about what 2018 will hold.

December is a demanding time in the job market – it’s the time when everyone starts thinking about their career, assessing their options and deciding how to align what they want to achieve in their personal life. Companies want to finalise their new hires and begin the year with the right people in their teams.

It’s a competitive time of the year in the job market, so how do you stand out?

A great place to start is with an attention-grabbing resume.

In my 7-year recruitment journey, I have read thousands of resumes. I always compare a resume to what you showcase in the shop window. It’s how you capture people’s attention when they don’t know you at all. So how do you get those window shoppers in, to explore what you have to offer?

These are the steps I find most effective in preparing a good resume:

Step 1 – Preparation

Your career didn’t take 20 minutes to write, nor should your resume. Find a place without distraction, write down 5 responsibilities you have for each role and all the achievements you have had so far.

Decide what is important.

For example, which achievements best highlight your abilities as opposed to those that are just what you have achieved in the day-to-day?

Your achievements should be tangible, measurable.

Instead of writing:

“Led the outsourcing tender and achieved 12% savings”

Try writing like this:

“Led the outsourcing of call centre tender across 35 sites in Australia resulting a consolidation of supplier base, reduction in time, risk and a savings of 12% out of $20M spend”

This highlights the complexity of the project, your capability in running a large-scale project and the significant results you have achieved. Additionally, it opens up a channel for your interviewer to have a discussion with you about that specific project, instead of the traditional behavioural based questions. And the beauty of it – your future employer will see your passion when you are excited about your achievements.

Step 2 – Structure

There are many different structures out there – creative ones with different formats and designs, ones with photos, lengthy ones and short ones. Then there is the standard “rule of thumb”, that a resume shouldn’t exceed two pages.

I am going to put it out there. I do not agree with the rules.

When your resume is too short, you often neglect the most important part that people want to see on your resume – what did you do, how did you do it and your achievements. When your resume is too long, you may have excessive details that are not relevant to what you want to highlight. When your resume has too much design, you take away attention from the actual content.

So, in my opinion, a good resume should be concise yet with enough detail.

Focus on your last 10 years, or the most recent two to three roles whichever is longer (any positions prior to that can just be a summary). I have seen a lot of people combining their achievements into a complete different section, as opposed to under different roles they have performed. It is not wrong, but in my opinion, having responsibilities and achievements in each role you have (even within the same organisation), clearly defines a track record of progression. It helps to bring your viewer through your career journey and they can visualise how you work.

Step 3 – Proof read

This is very important! Are your numbers consistent? Spelling mistakes? What about the years? Is it in chronological order? I have seen company names misspelt, ‘roll’ as opposed to ‘role’, or even 1899 as the year they started working for a company! These are just careless mistakes that unfortunately reflect you as a person.

I can’t stress enough on how important a good resume is. Often you only have ONE chance for that specific job. Don’t be lazy thinking that people will just ask you if they want more information. THEY WON’T! Not until you get their attention anyway. Remember what attracts you to go into the shop, this is how you want to attract your potential employer.

So, are you interview ready?

Perhaps this Christmas and New Year break is a time for you to review your resume and increase your chance in securing your dream job in year 2018!

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