Wow. My first Blog entry. How exciting! If you told me a year ago I would be writing a blog, I would have responded "Who me?...What the heck would I write about?" But I have taken a huge leap of faith recently. I have started my own resume services company, CV Boss, and here I am blogging. Some major life events have brought me to this juncture in my life; Moving, having kids, adjusting to major changes in my priorities, and trying to find a balance between Mommy-hood and my career aspirations. I've been in human resources for over 20 years and I have had drifting thoughts of starting this business but for some reason or other, I've always found a reason why I couldn't do it. Isn't funny how the most stressful events in your life are the precursors to having the courage to take a chance. So here I am, venturing out as a small business owner. Will I be successful? Who knows, but what I do know is I am loving having an outlet doing what I love to do. So...where to start? Well...I want to start at the beginning. How to improve the performance of your resume seemed like a natural choice. I've met so many frustrated people that have put together what they believe to be a quality resume but find that no one is banging down their door. WTF? I break it down like this: a lot of people struggle with what to say about themselves and when tasked with creating a resume, sometimes we tend to lack objectivity. We can place emphasis on details we think are awesome but are really irrelevant for what we're trying to achieve. There are about a gazillion articles on the internet about this topic so I want to be a little bit different. Today, I want to get away from the obvious. I'm not gonna talk about your contact information being clearly displayed or being sure to use your spellcheck. You're smart! You're taking the steps to try to improve your resume. I'm going to assume you know these basic things. Let's talk about some things you may not know.
1. Customize, Customize, CUST - O - MIZE That Resume
Nothing drives a recruiter crazier than scanning through a stack of 200 resumes that were obviously not drafted for the position they were applying for. Can you say....Do I want to stab myself in the eye with this pen? YES, Please. Even if you stop reading here and don't get to the other tips. Please take this one. You have to customize your resume for the job you are applying for. NO more sending out that resume from 2015 that you found on the old hard drive, quickly adding your current job, pasting a cover letter to it and calling it mission complete. Every resume you send out will, of course, contain the positions you held and your education, but what you decide to say about your time in those positions should correlate to the job posting you are applying for. You got it! Applying for 5 different jobs = 5 different resumes. Don't make the mistake of trying to cram every piece of professional information about yourself in your resume. Remember the goal is to get the interview. The interview is where you focus on expanding upon yourself. What I want you take away here is - be the answer to the companies problem. Customize the resume to what the company is looking for.
2. Don't Fall Victim to Resume Herd Mentality
Have you noticed that a lot of resumes look the same? There is no question that resumes need to contain certain information, but do they all need to have that sterile black and white look? I think not. A lot of people have a mindset of what a resume looks like and when they attempt to create their own resumes, they depend on templates. It's fast, it's easy and there is no shortage of them on the internet. The problem is, everybody`s doing it. Do you really want to do what everybody else is doing in the candidate pool? Don't be afraid to be creative. Next time you create your own resume, challenge yourself to step away from the crowd and be unique. Word of Caution: When I give the suggestion to be creative, it doesn't mean you should use your resume as an opportunity to channel your inner Picasso. Settle down now. It's a fine line between being perceived as professional or wacky. When I say creativity, I mean using a pop of color, utilizing blank space and changing up the placement of the fundamental information. Applying these small changes can take a boring resume to one that has an impact. Check out these resume samples for some inspiration. http://www.resumesbycvboss.com/#!resume-samples/yrnm1
3. Think Quality Not Quantity
I've seen it all. 5 page resumes that list experience back to the 70's to a quick 1 pager that doesn't say much at all. I hear this question a lot: How many pages are acceptable for a resume? My answer is this. Think quality and not quantity. Stick to this rule and I guarantee your resume will not be considered too long. Stop thinking about the number of pages and start asking yourself if what you are including in the resume is relevant. The next tip will give you direction on what I mean by quality.
4. Speak the Language of Achievement
Ensuring you have a quality resume means you need to stop making a laundry list of job duties and start speaking the language of achievements. Before you start working on your resume be sure you follow tip number one! Customize. Look at the job posting, note what the employer is looking for and draft an achievement statement that answer each of their specific requests. For example, if a job posting is requesting a professional who can perform the full-cycle recruitment process for their organization. A statement that simply lists your job duties at a previous employer would look like the one below: Managed the full-cycle recruitment process for all corporate employees Let's say you were quite successful in retaining your employees you hired. Speaking in the language of achievement would sound like the statement below: Achieved and maintained high retention rates in completing the full-cycle recruitment process for all corporate employees. If you want to make this statement even better, it is good practice to try quantifying your statements where possible like the statement below: Achieved and consistently maintained a retention rate of 92% in the completion of the full-cycle recruitment process for all corporate employees. Which candidate would you gravitate to?
5. Stop Thinking That a Great Resume is End All Be All
Okay. Time for some tough love. You got to stop believing that sending out a great resume to a single job posting is the best strategy in your job search. You should consider this as just one small portion of what you need to do. Much more work needs to be done on your end if you want to get that job you really want! I know from personal experience as a recruiter that most jobs are not advertised. There is a whole other hidden job market out there and if you don't try to access it, odds are you'll miss out on a position that is perfect for you because you didn't know about it. Change is happening every day within an organization and it's a recruiter's job to stay ahead of the change and be prepared for job movement. They could have one person being promoted in the near future which is going cause a chain reaction of hiring requirements. These positions are not posted because the recruiter is waiting for that first domino to fall, but you can bet your last buck that they're proactively looking for their next hire. I've spent countless afternoons searching LinkedIn profiles, viewing posted resumes on Monster, and asking around for my next candidates. Don't be foolish and ignore your social media presence and get out there and network with other professionals in your industry! Phew...so there you have it. My first blog entry. Hope you found it useful and I hope you stayed tuned for more. To kickoff the launch of CV Boss, I plan on expanding on each of these topics every week right here on my blog! Shameless plug time: Check me out at resumesbycvboss.com
Now get out there and show that resume who's Boss!
Next Week: 1 Simple Exercise to Customize Your Resume
Photo Credits: Openclipart, Machovka, ChrisDesign, Stijnbern, GDJ
JC Halfkenny is CV Boss. With over 20 years of recruitment experience she has reviewed thousands of resumes and hired hundreds in various industries such as manufacturing, spa and wellness, finance, retail and aviation. As an experienced recruiter, she knows the secret of resume writing lies in knowing precisely what to put in, precisely what not to put in, and exactly what kind of a spin to put on a resume, to ensure it will stand out from the crowd.