It’s a tough fact, but the majority of applications never make it past the first stage of a process, the resume/application review. Having a well-structured, clear and focused resume will help you emphasize your achievements and unique promise of value to an organization.
Will your CV put the recruiter to sleep or stand up and take notice?
Your resume and cover letter should make compelling reading.
Your cover letter should have a clear narrative that demonstrates your knowledge and research on the organization you’re applying to. It should also highlight some of your key experiences. And here’s the critical thing: these experiences should tie back to the role to demonstrate your knowledge and understanding of the organization/role that you’re applying for.
If you can swap out one organization name with another organization, your cover letter does not demonstrate sufficient research and insight into your potential employer. This will likely land you in the ‘no pile’.
You should adopt a consistent tone and tense throughout your documents. There should be no spelling, grammar or punctuation errors. These documents should demonstrate your best piece of work to an employer; one riddled with errors leads a recruiter to believe that your work would be too.
Your cover letter should be no more than a page and your resume should be no more than two.
A checklist for what should be in your resume
Your resume should include:
- Contact details (name, mobile number, an email address, website or LinkedIn profile URL)
- A statement/objective (tailored to the role you’re applying to)
- Education and any additional training
- Career history (name of the employer, job title, dates of employment, responsibilities and your achievements in the role)
- Extra-curricular involvement, including sports teams, clubs and societies, and volunteering experience (much like your employment, this should detail dates, responsibilities and achievements)
Focus on the impact you’ve made in a role or a project
All too often, I see resumes that list facts and responsibilities without a focus on an individual’s achievements. It’s a focus on achievements that will help you stand apart at this stage.
Consider your work experience and extra-curricular activities, what did you achieve in these roles?
- How did you add value?
- Did you exceed targets?
- How much revenue did you generate?
- How effective were you at budgetary management?
- How many new members joined?
- How much money did you raise?
Ultimately, many students have similar experiences, whether it be customer service-type roles and sports and society involvement. Simply listing these is not sufficient to make you stand out. What will make you stand out is a focus on your achievements, in a clearly structured and well written cover letter and resume.
Good luck. Leave a comment below and @mention me your views or suggestions for future blog posts at @voiceofjamesd.