To tailor or not to tailor!

To tailor or not to tailor?? This is the big question … my answer is ALWAYS!! 1D6A0634

Whether it’s a good suit, an expensive pair of pants, a fitted jacket… if it doesn’t fit perfectly… tailor it and then it will!  A CV is no exception … ALWAYS tailor it to each and EVERY role! It could be the absolute difference between getting the interview or not, from standing out in a pile of applications or being cast aside.

I have been meeting with a number of candidates recently who are not in the job market by choice, but because of a downturn in their sector of expertise. Some are going through outplacement services and some are paying for expert advice and guidance.

With 18 years in the recruitment industry, what can I advise these people to do to make them stand out from the crowd? How can I lessen the burden they are feeling? How can I give them advice on the ‘professional’ advice they have already been given?

It can be so frustrating to read a ‘vanilla’ CV. I recently assisted a candidate who I know has acted in a CFO capacity for almost a year, their CV was two pages long and said their most recent position was ‘Management Accountant’… great role but not Acting CFO or Financial Controller or Finance Manager as I knew this candidate to be.

I told this person not to undersell themselves, to which they replied “I was told that my CV should not be longer than two pages and I should not be looking for a CFO role if I hope to get a job in this terrible market” WRONG!! This is not a terrible market, it is a competitive market and you need to do what you can to stand out.

My advice is simple, look at the role you are applying for, read the job spec or the advert, call the contact person to find out more about the skills and cultural fit required, and tailor your CV to it. Look at the prerequisites and if you satisfy most of them, highlight them in your CV. Put your best CV forward … each and every time.

Don’t even get me started on the ‘two page CV’ advice – how can a senior candidate who has the right experience, the right attributes and expertise ever get their CV down to two pages? Don’t get me wrong, recruiters or hiring managers don’t want to read a 20 page CV either … it is about keeping it clear, concise and to the point, but more importantly than anything, it’s about making it relevant to the position you are applying for.

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The Perfect Resume

By Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

I usually spend less than 5 minutes reviewing a resume, and research suggests that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make the initial decision on candidates. That means you have to win them over fast. So what makes a perfect resume? There is no perfect resume format, but some are closer to perfect than others. At the end of the day, your skillset and qualifications will get you the job. However a great resume will be the key to getting that job interview. So here are a few key points to consider.

A new idea of mine, given the growth of social media, is to make sure your resume includes a URL to your professional online profile. Employers and recruiters look up a candidate’s online profile, so why not just include your URL along with your contact information in your resume.

Don’t include an objective statement, it is so yesterday. There’s no point in including a generic objective about “a professional looking for opportunities that will allow me to leverage my skills”. It’s not helpful, it’s distracting, so just ditch it. Replace it with an executive summary, which should be similar to a “30-second elevator pitch” explaining who you are and what you’re looking for. In approximately three to five sentences, explain what you’re great at, most interested in, and how you can provide value to a prospective employer.

Use reverse chronological order. This means anyone reading your resume is able to see what you’ve been doing in recent years immediately. More space should be allocated to the more recent positions, since this is where your most important achievements are usually found.

Identify keywords consistent with the job advertisement or role description and incorporate them into your resume (assuming you have those skills).

Ensure you describe your past experience, skills and achievements. This should be changed for every job you apply for to ensure prospective employers understand why you are perfect for the job. Include your achievements, as it is not sufficient to simply state the roles and responsibilities that you have held. It is vital to illustrate and even quantify the outcomes you delivered. This is a testament to how you have added value to an organisation, and can include the money you saved or brought in for your employer, deals closed, and projects delivered on time or under budget.

As I said in one of my previous blogs, “you get out what you put in”, so be prepared to spend some time on your resume and refine it a number of times until it is right. It is part of your toolkit, to nailing that next job.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Resumes, I Have Seen It All!

By Kate Broadley

I’ve sent lots of resumes over my career and I’ve personally reviewed thousands.

Kate Broadley

Kate Broadley

Some are fantastic, most are just ok, and many are just dreadful, sorry I know that hurts. The worst part is, I continue to see the same mistakes made over and over by candidates, who are then shortlisted out and eliminated from consideration for a job. What’s most depressing is that I can tell from the resumes that many of these individuals are really good and would offer much to the prospective employer. But in this fiercely competitive labor market (yes fiercely competitive is what I said) employers don’t need to compromise or even wonder if you might have the right skill set. All it takes is one small mistake and your resume will be rejected, there are many other well written resumes to consider.

I know this is well-worn ground, but I promise you, more than half of you have at least one of these mistakes on your resume. And I’d much rather see you win jobs than get passed over.

Typos. This one seems obvious, but it happens again and again. So please read your resume from bottom to top: reversing the normal order helps you focus on each line in isolation. Or have someone else proofread it for you.

Length. Some people believe that resumes should be one page. Some say two pages. Some say three. Many candidates for positions are frightened that if they don’t comply with some arbitrary length limit, their resume won’t get read. This is all nonsense as there are no so-called “rules”. You should provide sufficient detail so that employers and recruitment consultants realise that you understand the impact of your role, that you go about your work using a well-reasoned thought process, and you have the judgment, knowledge and other skills needed for the types of roles for which you are applying. The issue is not how long the resume is. It’s about whether it conveys enough information to differentiate you from the competition and gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much. So cut back your resume. It’s too long.

Formatting. Unless you’re applying for a job such as a designer, your focus should be on making your resume clean and legible. At least ten point font, white paper, black ink and a reasonable margin on both sides of the page. Consistent spacing between lines, columns aligned with your name and contact information on every page. Your head shot, no matter how good you look in it, is unnecessary… your LinkedIn profile will usually suffice for employers who are interested in you (and if you don’t have your photo on LinkedIn, refer to my previous blog “How to build your professional brand”).

Of course, I shouldn’t have to mention it, but please, please don’t lie… you will get busted, its just a matter of time.

The good news is that if you can avoid these mistakes, you will be halfway there. In a future blog, I’ll talk about what you can do to make your resume stand out, other than the things to avoid!! Go on, review your resume and see if you can eliminate some of these mistakes.

Need help with your resume or want to know more? Contact Eden Ritchie via our website and following our team on LinkedIn and Twitter.

It’s a Tough Market – How Are You Selling Yourself?

When you apply for a job, whether it be with a recruitment agency or directly to a company, you are being shortlisted or put in the unsuccessful pile based on what you’re resume is telling us.

Recently I’ve been working on a permanent financial accounting role, for which I received 86 applicants. You need to make sure your resume stands out!

I don’t mean you need to pay hundreds of dollars for a Graphic Designer to create you something – all we look for is a neatly formatted resume, that is easy to read and clearly defines your experience, relating to the role you’re applying for.

So, you’re on Seek or looking through the paper and you see your ideal role, you love the sound of the company, the responsibilities, location and money are perfect… don’t miss out on being called up about this role because of a bad resume! Double check that the responsibilities this dream role is requiring are clearly defined throughout your resume. You need to prove you have the expertise we are looking for.

In the next few weeks, take some time out to review your resume and read it from an employers perspective… would you employ you, based only on what is in your resume? Does it clearly define your skills, not leaving room for assumptions? Give your resume to a colleague or relative and ask them what they think – is it easy to read, is it neatly formatted?

We read resumes everyday, if you need assistance with making your resume the best it can be, please contact us.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help, it’s going to be an advantage to you in the long run.