How to write a winning resume
HOW TO WRITE A WINNING RESUME
“The hiring manager is the buyer, you’re the product, and you need to give him a reason to buy.” says Jane Heifetz, a resume expert and founder of Right Resumes. A resume is an opportunity to market yourself to a prospective employer. It should be succinct, target an employer’s needs, and distinguish you from your competitors. Before you get started, think about your strengths, weaknesses, personal preferences, and motivations. You should also consider the company’s needs, who your competition might be, and your unique skill set. The best way to convince employers that you will add value is to show them that you’ve done it before.
Below are 5 tips on what every job seeker should know before penning a winning C.V:
- Read and Understand the Job You’re Applying For
First things first: Sit down with a highlighter and really read the job description. Go through and highlight the points that seem important (think the ones that are mentioned repeatedly or anything that’s slightly out of the ordinary) and the points that you could speak to with your experience and skills.
- Tailor your resume to each job
Tailoring your resume means finding what is most relevant, creating a section for it, and filling it up with experience or qualifications that will catch a hiring manager’s eye.
Then, with your newfound knowledge of what the hiring manager is looking for, take your resume, find the experience that would make him or her most excited about your application, and rework the document so that’s what’s at the top. Maybe it’s your current position, or maybe it’s some specialized certifications or the freelance work you do on the side. Whatever it is, make it the first section of your resume.
- Open strong
The first 15-20 words of your resume are critically important “because that’s how long you usually have a hiring manager’s attention,” says John Lees, a UK-based career strategist and author of Knockout CV.
Start with a brief summary of your expertise. You’ll have the opportunity to expand on your experience further down in your resume and in your cover letter. For now, keep it short. “It’s a very rich, very brief elevator pitch,” says Heifetz. You need to make it exquisitely clear in the summary that you have what it takes to get the job done.
- Get the order right
The most common cv layout is the chronological. Recommended for a mostly consistent record of employment showing growth from position to position. Below is a great way to ensure your CV follows the chronological layout:
- Contact details – Let others know who you are and how to get in touch with you. In addition to your name, you should list your mailing address, phone number, and email address. It is expected to be found at the top of the page. No need to include it on additional pages.
- Professional history – Start with your most recent role and list in descending chronology. For each role, provide a sentence or two that describes the scope of your responsibility. Then in bullet format, provide accomplishment statements. It’s tempting to list every job, accomplishment, volunteer assignment, skill, and degree you’ve ever had. But don’t. “A resume is a very selective body of content. It’s not meant to be comprehensive. If it doesn’t contribute to convincing the hiring manager to talk to you, then take it out,” says Heifetz
- Education – Spell out your degree so it will stand out better. It is not necessary to include your GPA or GMAT score. Do not list courses. Do list any leadership roles or study abroad experiences.
- Accomplishments –Learn to share accomplishments, not responsibilities. Spelling out “I managed a team of 10” doesn’t say much. You need to dig a level deeper. Did everyone on your team earn promotions? Did they exceed their targets? Give people a sense of your management style. “Give tangible, concrete examples. If you’re able to attach percentages or dollar signs, people will pay even more attention.” (***QUOTE NEEDS SOURCE)
Referees– It is important to ensure you choose your referees carefully because they could make or break your chances of success. Work related references are generally more potent than personal ones since they can attest to the way you operate and what you are capable of.
5.Align your LinkedIn profile
Your LinkedIn profile is just as important as your resume. Don’t have one? Put one up immediately. Don’t cut and paste from your resume, says Lees: “It makes you look lazy.” But do make sure you’re presenting yourself in the same way. “You don’t have to use bullet points; you can be more narrative, and even more casual,” says Heifetz. You also want to tweak the tone. “There’s a greater expectation that you’ll demonstrate personality,” she adds. “For example, the summary section should be written in the first person. It gives you the opportunity to present yourself as a living, breathing human being.”