When your job hunt begins, you want to make sure that your resumé stands out from the rest. In an increasingly competitive job market, you need to catch a recruiter or hiring manager’s eye with your credentials to give yourself the best chance of scoring an interview.
Of course, you have to stand out for the right reasons, so we’ve put together some hints and tips to point you in the right direction.
From how it’s all presented right down to the words themselves, here are our suggestions for creating a stellar resumé:
1. Stay honest
Expect anything you write in your CV to be brought up during an interview. If it’s not true, this can reflect badly on you as a candidate, and hinder your chances of securing the job.
Furthermore, any skills you boast about having on your CV might contribute to the decision to hire you, so if you can’t deliver the goods when you start working, this could lead to long-term problems of quality and reliability.
2. Keep things concise
No life stories needed here. Give them the essential details succinctly, and make it easy to read, so that they can pick out the key bits of information at a glance.
A full side of A4 will do nicely. Chances are, the recruiter has seen a tonne of resumés for this specific job, and if yours looks on a par with War and Peace then they will approach reading it with some reluctance. Make their job as easy as possible.
3. Make the most of your cover letter
While you’re keeping the resumé itself neat and compact, sometimes you need a bit of room to go into more detail.
A cover letter is your opportunity to give any relevant information, but the key word here is just that: ‘relevant’. The people reading it won’t value the important bits as much if they have to wade through a lot of waffle to get there first.
4. Fill in the gaps
Returning to the idea of anything in your resumé being brought up for discussion at an interview, you can be sure that if there are gaps in your employment history, interviewers will ask about them.
Answer their questions in advance and provide reasons for the gaps. Were you relocating? Did you complete a course or qualification? Were you volunteering? Briefly mention this in your resumé, and then explain in full in the cover letter, detailing any skills you learned during these periods.
5. Tailor your application
The person considering your resumé for this position wants to know that you’ve done your homework, and how well you have understood what they are looking for.
Using the job spec as your guide, tailor your resumé and cover letter to this specific role. If you’ve got the skills they list as ‘essential’, promote them heavily. Refer to their company and why you want to work for them, rather than giving off an air of I’ll-take-what-I-can-get.
6. Consider your digital profile
Some 90% of recruiters will look candidates up on Google upon receiving a resumé, so staffing agency Adecco recommends cleaning up your digital footprint to give off the best impression. Goodbye drunken pictures from last Friday night; hello sensible, intelligent, socially-savvy, and employable you.
Utilize social media to demonstrate how knowledgeable you are about your industry or field, especially on LinkedIn, and keep everything current. Give that 90% of recruiters exactly what they are looking for when they type your name into Google: reasons to pick you.
7. Create a complementary website
Particularly in creative industries, having an online portfolio of work can be hugely beneficial in showing recruiters exactly what you can do.
Whether it’s a blog or website, put something visually appealing together, and direct recruiters there in your resumé so that they can review you further if you sound like a promising candidate.
8. Experiment with formatting
It can be tricky fitting all the relevant information onto one side of A4, but if you look beyond the standard, linear approach to resumés, you can give all the necessary details while showing off your creative flair.
Adecco recommends an infographic resumé, which will display everything that recruiters need to know in a way that will make the eye dance across the page. Try hloom or Creative Market if you want help picking the perfect design.
9. Check for errors
On a resumé that boasts great copywriting skills and attention to detail, the last thing you need is a spelling error. Similarly, no one seeking a new accountant or maths whiz will be impressed if the numbers on your resumé are off.
If you’re not confident checking everything over yourself, find someone else to go over it with a fine-toothed comb, so you can get your resumé looking squeaky-clean before sending it off to a recruiter or hiring manager.