More and more people now are realizing that applying for jobs these days is so far from how it used to be. Gone are the days when a Résumé is simply a list of the jobs you’ve had. Almost all jobs now require online application and submission of Résumé and Cover Letter. The computer, for the most part, does the first screening. If what it sees does not match what it’s looking for, you won’t make it through to a real person.
This article is meant for you to understand what it takes for your Résumé to land on the desk of the Hiring Officer and get your foot in the door for an interview. This way you can decide for yourself whether you can create one for yourself, or if you would need the help of a professional writer like me. Whatever option you choose, you will need an investment of time and money. The more serious and intentional you are in having a winning Résumé, the greater your chances are for success.
Unless the job you’re applying for is not ‘in-demand’, chances are you are competing with so many other equally qualified candidates. And in this day and age where the attention span of people is so limited, you need a Résumé that will get that ‘attention’ with the small window you have. As the saying goes … “first impression lasts”.
This is what image is about. It is the first thing people see. If they like what they see, they will continue looking. Image is also about how you want them to see you. Do you want to be viewed as trustworthy, confident, strong, powerful, efficient, organized, or experienced? Of course, you may want all of these, but what is it that you want to focus on? What is most crucial for the job you’re applying for? If it is a sales job then your focus should be more on the ‘confident’ image side.
Image refers to what your Résumé looks like on the outside, including color, font, and layout. This brings to mind that there’s a lot of work that goes into creating a winning Résumé. Creativity plays a major role in designing that ‘image’ that will make your Résumé stand out.
If image is the body, content is its substance. No matter how attractive the image is, if there’s nothing inside, it can’t be called a winner. Yes, you may be able to get a person’s attention through image, but without a good content, you will lose that attention quickly.
Content represents what you’re trying to say. Who are you? What can you do? How can you help me? If you tell me that you’re good in sales, how can you prove that to me? Do you have figures to show? How will I believe you?
For instance, if my Résumé says … “experienced in designing and conducting training programs” … the reader will continue looking for proof of that all throughout my Résumé. An example of proof would be: “Designed a highly effective leadership program for different levels of the organization through extensive research and one-on-one interviews, and conducted the program from the top-down, resulting in a 75% increase in levels of productivity.”
A good content also means that your phrases and sentences are grammatically correct. There are some exceptions though when it comes to Résumé writing such as periods and commas because you have to take the ‘image’ into consideration. Putting too many periods or commas make the Résumé look messy. Some of these exceptions are abbreviating months without a period (Nov 2019) or a City and State without a comma in between (Seattle WA).
Consistency is part of making your content clean and organized. Everything from punctuation marks to abbreviation to sentences and phrases should be consistent. If you abbreviate a month, make sure to abbreviate all months. If some of your jobs have a month and year and others don’t, you might as well not include the ‘months’ for everything. If you start your job description with a verb, make sure that it continues throughout your other job descriptions.
Consistency also applies to the image of your Résumé. Are your fonts and colors matching?
Is your Résumé easy to understand or will it make the reader second guess what you’re trying to say?
You want your Résumé to be as clear to the reader as possible. Avoid using acronyms unless you’re applying for a job that uses the same terminologies. Do not use adjectives or verbs that will make the reader look for its meaning. Sometimes, people use ‘high falutin’ words to sound wiser. Did you even understand that word I just used? That’s exactly the point.
Honesty is indeed the best policy. You can try bloating some of your accomplishments and even Education, but believe me, it will catch up with you.
There are certain ways to conceal certain things that you don’t want the Hiring Manager to see, without being dishonest. An example would be a job where you were fired after six months. You don’t need to include that job if it is just a 6-month gap. You can explain that during your interview. If you have no choice but to include it, then do so without feeling unsure about it. A huge unemployment history can also be toned down by using some part-time jobs you did during that period. If you took care of a family member, you can actually use that as a job and write “Family Caregiver” as a job title. If you have an unfinished degree, focus on the number of credits or semesters you finished, or how far away you are from achieving your degree.
Never, ever lie on your Résumé.
A winning Résumé requires a winning attitude, which means that you need to invest time and even money to make it happen. If you can do it on your own and you have the time for it, well and good. Just don’t treat it like writing a grocery list or something so simple and easy. However, if you don’t have the skills and time to do it, investing on a Résumé by availing of the services of a professional like me will not only save you time and money in the long run, but will also give you greater chances to getting that job that you rightfully deserve – a job that provides for you and your family.
If you want to know more about my Résumé and Cover Letter writing services, click the box below. I would love to help you have a Winning Résumé.