Hiring managers can receive anywhere from 10 to 100+ job applications for each position opening. Your resumé is your one shot at getting your foot in the door to prove to a potential employer why you’re the best fit.
However, the majority of job applicants are throwing their chances away by making some seemingly obvious mistakes. Ensure you’re giving yourself your best chance with these top tips for making your resumé stand out to get that job interview.
Feature image credit: Emma Matthews on Unsplash
What is a resumé?
It’s easy to get a resumé, curriculum vitae, cover letter and portfolio mixed up. A resumé is a brief summary of your professional experience and skills, while a curriculum vitae gives a more detailed look into your offerings.
You’ll also submit a cover letter with your resumé, which is a letter expressing your reason for interest in the vacancy and how you can fill the role. If you’re asked to also submit a portfolio, it’s a collection of your work giving insight into your skills and experience firsthand.
How do you write a good resumé in 2019?
1. Get creative with your resumé design.
The average human resources (HR) person spends an average of just 6 seconds giving a resumé a first look. So, you can see why it’s so crucial your resumé jumps off the page, captures their attention and gives them everything they need in just seconds.
This is where your design can turn a resumé from easy to read and successful to just another on the pile. Take a look at some resume samples for your industry and really showcase how much you want that job—even if it’s just flipping burgers.
2. Demonstrate your skills in your resumé.
On a job search for a new design role? Show off those design skills. Are you a writer looking for your next step up the ladder? Make it clear you’re a real wordsmith. Maybe you’re a tradie. Why not carve your resume into a piece of timber and mail? We’re serious.
If you have a skill that’s useful for a job, show it off!
3. Customise every application.
Whatever you do, do not use the same resumé and cover letter for every job application, even if you’re changing a few things. It’s fine to have a rough resumé template you use, but ensure you’re personalising your resumé to suit exactly what the opening is for.
When you write a resumé, open up the job ad. Take note of the non-negotiables and desired skills, and ensure they’re front and centre everywhere possible. Then, ensure you refer to which reference or piece of work in your portfolio can back it up.
If you want extra brownie points, find out who the HR manager is and address the application to them.
4. Leave off your date of birth, photo and address.
It is illegal for employers to not give someone a job position based on their age, appearance and many other things—unless in some industries, like entertainment. Unfortunately, even if they can’t, some still will.
Perfection is in the eye of the beholder, so just leave off your date of birth, address and photo.
5. Link to your LinkedIn profile.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn profile yet, get one. It’s a great place to connect with those in your industry, research companies you’re applying to work for and suss out the hiring manager’s name.
You should also keep your LinkedIn profile up to date. Post articles. Get involved. Update your current employment details. Add those courses you’ve done. Hiring managers will talk a peek and they should find something to impress them in some way or another. Just make sure this doesn’t work against you and ensure there isn’t something that isn’t consistent with your resumé, like an employment gap.
6. List your education and work experience in reverse chronological order.
No one wants to see what high school you went to if you also went to university, or your stint at McDonald’s while studying when you’ve been working in the employer’s industry for the last decade. List your education and work experience in order of most recent to least recent.
While we’re at it, you should also add dates of when you studied and worked for a business. Businesses like to see that you don’t bounce from job to job too frequently.
7. Keep it short and simple.
Like we said, you have 6 seconds the first time round. At the very most, your resumé should be 2 pages long, and to be honest, you’re lucky if the hiring manager even reads page 1 in full.
If you do have a lot to say, include some key points in your cover letter about what you left out of your resumé and why it’s crucial for your success in the role.
8. Add a summary.
One of the first things a potential employer will look for is your bio of who you are and why they should choose you over the other applicants. Keep your summary to 2 to 3 sentences and really make yourself shine.
9. Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Read your resumé once, twice, three times and then print it out and do it again. When you think you’re done, show your friend who reads a lot of books and then the one who runs a team in their own workplace.
Ensure you have a professional resumé by eliminating any spelling mistakes, including using American English for an Australian job opening. If you’re skilled with arranging a sentence, ensure you stroke the employer’s ego a bit and make it all about them—cut out the use of ‘I’ at the start of every sentence.
We have some tips for proofreading over on our business blog.
Where can I get a cool resumé template?
If you’re handy with Adobe Illustrator, go with that, otherwise, there are plenty of free resumé templates you can use online, such as on Canva.
Really want that job? Speak to an employment and resumé specialist. They can help you fine tune your application to ensure you get selected for that all important interview.
Oh, speaking of interviews, bring a copy of your resumé with you, just in case.