Having a well-written CV is crucial to getting access to dream jobs in any industry. However, many job candidates soon come to find out that crafting a resume that fully captures your job history and enables you to stand out from other candidates isn’t an easy task. After all, recruiters and hiring managers tend to spend a maximum of 7 seconds on each resume.
It’s, therefore, upon you to try to capture their attention within this timeframe. While many people know how to go about preparing a basic resume, it doesn’t hurt to expand your knowledge and gather additional tips on how to craft an award-winning CV.
1. Create a Professional-Looking Email Address
Of all the CV writing tips that you may have learned, this is perhaps the most obvious of them all. Even so, it is still worth mentioning it, as having an unprofessional email address is among the top reasons why a resume gets rejected by an employer.
You will need to ditch that email address that you have been using since your high-school days. It’s essential to research on professional email providers during your job search, e.g., Outlook, Gmail, or Yahoo. Make sure to use your real name when signing up for the address.
2. Include Your Address If You Think This Will Work in Your Favor
When your job search includes applying to local positions, i.e., job openings in the town or city where you reside, then make sure to include the postal/street address. This is a good way to let the recruiter/hiring manager know that you are already in town. It’s a subtle way to show your availability.
However, if you intend to apply to job postings in other cities or towns where you may have to relocate to start working, it may be a good idea to leave out the address from the resume. At times recruiters show less enthusiasm to interview applicants from out of state from another city, as such candidates may need relocation fees.
3. Confirm that Your Contact Information is Up-to-Date
Having created a professional sounding email address, the next step is to confirm that all the details included in the resume are valid. No applicant wants to miss out on a chance to attend an interview because the email address they provided is incorrect or because the phone number indicated is no longer valid.
Additionally, ensure that you exclude personal details such as your marital status and your date of birth from the resume. It’s also crucial to note that applicants don’t have to respond to questions related to their gender, race, or religion, on their job application forms.
Employers in the United States shouldn’t consider the aforementioned factors when determining whether to hire you or not. As mentioned above, omit including your current location when sending an application for a job out of the state or country. Including the current address may cause the recruiting manager to assume that you got confused when sending the application.
4. Use a Professional Font
While careful consideration must go into the font selection process, setting it right is also vital. Confirm that the font size is set to 10-12 points.
This is a professional font that will make it easier for the hiring specialist to read through the resume without having to squint.
5. Don’t Be Afraid to Drop Names
Professionals consider it poor form for applicants to drop names when engaging in normal conversation. However, this doesn’t apply to the resume preparation process.
Candidates that have worked with renowned companies and clients in the past shouldn’t shy away from including their names in the resume. For instance, you can include lines such as “Closed deals with Bank of America, Ford, and Microsoft.” Such lines and examples will assist in grabbing and retaining the attention of the recruiter.
6. Make it Easy to Skim
Almost all hiring managers will start by skimming through your content. They do this in the hope of finding some of the keywords that were used in the job advertisement. Your job description should include all these relevant keywords. Additionally, ensure that all the text is aligned to the left.
7. Make Use of Your Performance Reviews
While looking at your annual review for material to use in your resume may not prove productive, feedback provided in the past can help you to come up with the best work qualities. From these reviews, you will also get a chance to identify some of your notable accomplishments.
These are two things that you must absolutely include in the resume. Taking time to include goals you have met and specific feedback received from your superiors can enable you to reduce your need to use ‘fluff’ material to fill out the work history section.
8. Don’t Get Tempted to Use Too Many Keywords
Most companies have started using keyword-scanning tools to enable them to narrow down on their preferred job applicants. As mentioned above, ensure that you include various keywords in the description section of your resume, but do so in a restrained manner. Experienced hiring specialists and recruiters can spot keyword overuse in a resume from a mere look at the application.
9. Opt for Quality as Opposed to Quantity When Describing Your Skills
Even though you may want to demonstrate that you are qualified for that position, it doesn’t make sense for you to include skills possessed by all job applicants. Here, think of PC and Mac, email, and Microsoft Office proficiency.
Their inclusion in the resume will make the recruiter assume that you are only interested in filling up the available space on that page. The skills section must remain short at all times. ensure to only include impactful skills which have a relevance to the application.
10. Strategically Share Your Social Networking Accounts
It’s becoming a common practice for job applicants to include links to their social networking accounts when sending out their resumes. However, job candidates ought to be able to differentiate between professional and non-professional social media accounts.
For professional accounts, you can include links to an Instagram account that you have been managing for work as well as your professional LinkedIn profile. Non-professional accounts will include links to social media accounts such as Facebook and Twitter.
As tempting as it may be for you to include links to all your social media accounts, stick to only providing links to professionally-focused accounts. The rest should be saved for when you attend the in-person interview.
11. Only List Hobbies that Benefit You
Not all your hobbies will need to appear on the resume. Carefully go through your list of hobbies to find those that highlight your skills and/or personal qualities in a positive manner. Such hobbies will be worth including in the resume.
For instance, taking part in marathons (indicates that you are determined and well-disciplined) and blogging on industry-related topics (helps to demonstrate a genuine interest in that field and your creativity levels) are some of the hobbies that can assist in casting you well. These are hobbies that are also likely to pique the interest of the hiring specialist.
12. Refrain from Using Generic Descriptors
Detail-oriented, hardworking, proactive, self-sufficient, and self-motivated are common descriptors used in many job applicant’s resumes. But the reality is that many candidates actively looking for employment opportunities are hardworking and motivated.
As such, these are traits that won’t assist in setting you apart from the other candidates interested in the available jobs. Instead of this, you should concentrate on listing specific accomplishments and skills which make you different from all the other candidates in the job pool.
13. Maintain an Accomplishment Journal
Simplify the process of updating your resume by maintaining a log that highlights positive feedback received from your supervisors. The log should also list all the accomplishments made in the workplace. Make it a point to incorporate as many details as possible. This reduces time wastage as you don’t have to spend countless hours having to track the feedback.
14. Prepare a Custom Resume for Each Job
It takes more effort to craft a custom resume for each job application. Nevertheless, the time and effort used to create this custom resume can pay off in the future. This is more so for those times when looking to send an application for a job that matches your current experience and professional qualifications.
Getting an invite to an interview is an example of an instance when spending a few minutes to create a custom resume has paid off.
15. Include the Correct Attachments when Sending Your Resume
Always ensure that you have followed the instructions provided by the employer when sending your job application. Such instructions can be found in the job advertisement, which will include details on how to submit the resume.
An employer may require the applicants to send the resume as an email attachment, which will involve preparing it in a specific format, e.g., PDF or Word document. Before you hit the ‘Send’ button, confirm that all attachments have been included and that the application has captured all the requested details.
At the bottom section, provide a brief description of how the employer can contact you.
The process of creating or refining a CV or resume has simplified over the years, but increased competition in various industries and job roles has made it more important to stand out. Following the tips above you should be in a better position to highlight your most relevant skills and experience to catch the eyes of recruiters in your role or career of interest.