Have you ever been frustrated at being unsuccessful for a job application that you thought you had the perfect skills for? Are you looking to take the next challenge in your career in 2012? Want to know what employers look for in job applications?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, then this is a timely reminder to make sure your resume stands out in order to give you the best chance of securing that dream job in 2012.
As an applicant, it’s important to remember you are competing against every other candidate that might be interested in a particular role. For some roles, we receive as many as 150-200 applications. So what is the key to making yourself stand out against the competition? It’s imperative that you know how to sell yourself to maximize your chances of securing an interview, which – let’s face it – is where the true test is.
I often hear from employers and other recruiters that they see hundreds of resumes across their desks that don’t seem to match the requirements of the specific position. This makes it very hard to shortlist down to a top few candidates to interview. The key is demonstrating how your skills and experience meet the requirements and showing the potential employer how you will add value to their team. If you can do this, it will significantly increase your chances of securing an interview. There are normally two key parts to a job application, the cover letter and the resume:
If you are going to write a cover letter then make it count. In our time poor society, hiring managers don’t have time to read an exact rehash of your resume, so make it stand out! Use this as an opportunity to give a short outline on how your skills and experience would allow you to deliver in the role and how hiring you would add value to the business. Use this to also add a brief description on why you want this particular job.
As a recruiter I see hundreds of resumes every month and all of them are different in terms of the length, information included, layout etc. So what stands out in a good resume? As nearly all hiring managers are pressed for time, there are three main attributes to a good resume that will make it stand out from potentially hundreds of others in the applicant pool.
- Length – At most, a good resume should be six pages. Hiring managers simply don’t have time to read resumes that are ten or fifteen pages and sometimes more. Concentrate on your recent positions – the most relevant being your roles within the past ten years.
- Layout – Make sure your resume is easy to read. Break it up with dot points or shorter paragraphs at various intervals rather than long paragraphs that are time consuming to read. If it’s easy to read, the hiring manager is less likely to skip over parts of it.
- Content – Most people focus their resumes on the responsibilities or tasks rather than the achievements or deliverables. If you implemented changes that saved the business money, highlight it. If you delivered a project under budget or earlier than expected, then highlight those achievements. Proven performance is the main thing that hiring managers are looking for when recruiting so make sure you highlight your achievements!
The key is keeping it succinct, thus keeping the hiring manager engaged, as well as highlighting your achievements. If you can do this, it will give you the best chance of securing an interview for that dream job in 2012!