Previously in The Interview I discussed the process of hiring staff and the perspective from an employers point of view.
Too often in my own job search I gave minimal consideration to the person on the other side of the table. In fact, after constant searching, short listing, applying and following up numerous opportunities it left little time to think about the prospective employer.
The first blog addressed the approach, the preparation for making you stand out from the crowd. If you have the same formatted résumé as all the others, don’t attach a cover letter that shows you read the job ad and expect your skills to jump off the page – think again. There’s simply no time for a detailed read the first pass through.
If I’m looking to shortlist 8 to 10 résumés, then it works out around 1 in 10 get read thoroughly.
Prospecting for Gold
Don’t expect a résumé to get you a job, it’s purpose is to get you an interview.
I don’t pretend to be the preeminent expert on résumé writing nor know what works best, but can relay a few things that made me look twice.
Well Written Cover Letter
First and foremost for me, can you write a cover letter? Formatted correctly? Correct spelling and punctuation?
Well that’s a huge tick already, last round of résumés over half didn’t add a cover letter and less than 20% bothered to format it correctly. This is after I bolded it in the job ad … I thought that would be sufficient but obviously not.
Other tips for cover letters:
- Research a company and show a unique interest – so the employer knows you’ve done your homework
- Come up with a spin – it may be a quote, a verse of poetry, an image or embedded cartoon – it should be relevant. But including something different will pique my interest to meet you. Remember that’s the sole purpose.
- Quote specific details that highlight you – concisely. Also shows an effort to tailor to THE job not a job.
- Keep to one page – don’t dribble for the sake of it. Well spaced, 3 – 4 paragraphs and you’ve nailed it.
Well Crafted Résumé
Don’t take my word for it, but the cover letter to me is more important, personal and insightful than the résumé.
Your résumé is important, and will be absolutely critical once you’re shortlisted, but for first shortlist it’s still only a relatively cursory glance.
Being succinct, well crafted and styled to the industry in which you’re applying should be factors in design.
In terms of content, the front page is more relevant that the second page, the top of the page more relevant than the bottom.
Think of your résumé as real estate, you have the header which is beachfront property and the footer which is utilities. Near your header you want stuff that stands out, is well spaced and easy to read. Below is the fine print.
THE Job Not A Job
There are tons of resources on the web to help create a résumé and I can’t add to that, but when applying for a role consider your audience, consider your content and focus on the beachfront property to highlight why you are right for this role.
Remember an employer wants to feel you want THE job not just A job.