For many fresh graduates, job-hunting season is coming soon. Have you started drafting your resume yet? While you’re at it, you have to know that the way you present your resume is going to affect your chances of getting an interview at all.
HR personnel and hiring managers are swamped with resumes and they do not have time to go through all the resumes and interview everybody. In fact they merely glance through for 7 seconds before determining if they are going to grant you an interview. Hence, making your resume stand out from the rest is very important because it gets you noticed.
Here are some ways you can improve your resume to increase your chances of securing an interview.
1) Open strong and Highlight Your Core Competencies.
In 3 – 5 sentences, state what you are good in, what you are interested in and how you can bring value to a prospective employer through your core competencies. Plus points when you use industry keywords in here.
2) Remember to Include Your Contact Details
This sounds like a no-brainer but I’ve personally seen resumes that failed to include them. Additionally, remember to apply for a professional email. Nobody will be very keen to hire someone with an email that goes email@example.com. Sign up for a gmail account! It’s free and easy!
3) Clean , Simple, Readable.
The last thing a HR personnel wants to see is a resume packed densely with words. Use proper formatting and alignments to make your resume easier to read. Using bullets points also helps to drive their attention to specific points.
If you need more than 1 page for your resume, go ahead. Just as long you don’t go more than 3 pages as it shows that you don’t know how to edit and be concise.
Of course, remember to proofread your resume to eliminate errors.
4) Avoid Using Crazy Fonts and Colors
Using crazy fonts and colors will make your resume stand out…in a bad way; it looks unprofessional and erratic. The safest is to go black and white, although you can attempt to use subtle colors like navy or maroon. However, do take note that not all industries are as flexible and prefers a strict business template. E.g. finance and banking sector
Even with the creative industries, you can get creative with your template but bear in mind to keep it professional.
Check out these 27 impeccably designed resumes you can learn from (click image)
5) List your Past Employment Experiences before Education.
Nowadays where everybody has a degree, employers are more interested about an applicant’s employment experiences. But that doesn’t mean you go list every single job experience you have.
- Try to filter and only include those that are relevant to the position you are applying. If you do not have related job experiences in the same field, emphasise on skills you have learnt so the reader can readily identify what value you can bring to the company.
E.g. “having worked in the hospitality industry has allowed me to deal with different personalities, which enables me to engage well with different people with ease, such as potential sales clients and business partners”
- It also helps when you use metric to quantify your achievements in your past experiences.
E.g. “Assumed management responsibility for tech support and decreased call volume 20%.” VS
“Did tech support for a software company”. The former sounds more convincing doesn’t it?
- Avoid listing job responsibilities. Employers are not that interested in what you did, but HOW the way you carry out your responsibilities has helped your previous company accomplish its goals; in other words, achievements in your past employment.
6) Use Reverse Chronological Order
Hiring managers like to know what you have been up to recently prior the job application. So make their reading easier by placing the latest employment history, education qualification at the top of the list.
Writer’s Tip: To save space on my resume, I only include my tertiary and secondary education qualifications because it is given that in Singapore, you have to pass primary education before you can advance to higher studies.
7) Save in Both PDF and Word Format
Sometimes alignments can go hay wire because of different Microsoft word formats. Hence it is always safer to also save a copy of your resume in PDF format that maintains the alignment of your resume.
8) Supplement Your Resume with a Cover Letter
Most HR personnel and hiring managers say they will be more likely to interview candidates that submit a cover letter. The cover letter act as an executive summary for your application. You introduce yourself to an organization and demonstrate your interest in the company or a specific vacancy, drawing attention to your resume.
At a glance, they will be able to gauge if will be a suitable candidate for the position and this motivates them to go through your resume to get to know you further.
See how to write a good cover letter HERE
If you are still feeling lost on how to write and organise your resume, here are some samples of GOOD resumes. Learn from them and apply it in your resumes. Good luck with your job hunting!