What is in your resume document properties? Check out quick tip #2.
The 2nd in our series of super quick tips to help you get your resume right, right from the start. What is in your resume document properties? It had better not be someone esle’s name! Find out how to check the hidden data in your CV or resume now.
Learn how to load up your document properties with metadata that might just increase how you score in an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). And learn why you should check it doesn’t have someone else’s name in it! Look out for quick tip #3, coming soon.
Not sure how to name your resume? Check out quick tip #1.
How To Name Your Resume. Get your resume naming convention right, and position yourself for the job, right from the get go.
Job Search Tips | How To Get A Perfect Resume
Have you been applying for jobs but never hear anything back? Do you wonder if your resume is letting you down? Getting a job has never been harder, but if you think your resume is at fault, you might not be wrong. A perfect resume is every job seekers goal, but just how do you get the perfect resume, and what does the perfect resume look and read like? Read on for more.
The job hunting world has changed dramatically over the past few years (just as have opinions of what makes the perfect resume!). The type of jobs available, prevalence of high-tech positions that are geared towards a younger workforce, and an overall increase of interest in telecommuting over traditional 9-to-5 in-office work are just a few of the things workers are experiencing today.
In 2015, we saw a rise in the use of applicant tracking software that filters applicants based on keywords and the continued decline of traditional paper-based application and resume exchange.
As companies continue to evolve towards a more paperless business practice, their hiring process is changing as well. More and more companies are putting their job postings online, and taking applications electronically.
Indeed, the days of walking down the street and handing your resume to every business on the block are quickly coming to a close. Modern job seekers are finding their dream jobs from the comfort of home.
Hiring the wrong person is expensive. Hiring and training any employee takes a significant devotion of time, money, and effort. The U.S. Department of Labor pegged the monetary cost of a bad hiring decision at upwards of 30 percent of that person’s salary. On top of that, an employee who is incapable or a bad fit can lead to losses that are harder to measure, such as decreased productivity, lost sales, mistakes, and other missed business opportunities. And with technology blurring the lines between when an employee is on the clock vs. off the clock, finding the right fit for a team is more important than ever before.
For all these reasons, many employers have moved away from the quick hiring decisions of the past to a more involved hiring process, with the hope of finding the right fit–and avoiding the wrong one. It’s common now for candidates to be interviewed more than once, and by more than one person. This often includes people from different departments and at different levels within the organization.
Various tests are also becoming more commonplace. These can range from tests for concrete skills, such as writing or coding, to broader problem-solving tests, to role playing or personality tests. As you progress through a company’s hiring process, however, be wary of being asked to do things that cross the line from tasks that are a normal part of a hiring process into doing actual work for free.
In 2016, your job search could wind up taking you much longer than any of your prior searches–even though the job market is better now than it has been in years.
With hundreds of applicants per job, many qualified candidates don’t even get an interview. Most employers today use applicant tracking systems, which typically parse your resume and cover letter and store your relevant information in a database. Employers rely on this database to both weed out candidates who aren’t qualified–if they require someone with a master’s degree, the system will narrow the applicant list for them based on education credentials, for example–and to find candidates who have traits they do want. An applicant tracking system can tell an employer which candidates have experience with a particular programming language, for instance, or who have passed certain FINRA exams.
And your application materials can’t just show that you are qualified for the job–you have to make the case that you’d excel in the role. It’s important to be precise with the text of your resume to highlight your relevant skills. A targeted resume and effective cover letter will serve you better than firing off generic application materials to every job opening you can find. Two of the most important elements to targeted application materials are resume keywords and accomplishment statements.
Targeting your resume using relevant keywords doesn’t just show a potential employer that you’re qualified, but that you’re interested in the specific role they have open. This makes you a much more appealing candidate than someone who submits generic application materials, which are easy to spot–and which convey very clearly that they want a job, any job. Resume keywords also make it easier for an applicant tracking system to find you and rank you highly. To do this, echo the phrasing used in the job posting. If an employer wants someone who knows how to use certain social media platforms, for instance, your resume should include the platforms they specify, written in the same manner as the job posting. Don’t just list “social media” among your skills if the job search words it differently. Specifics are more important in today’s job search than ever before.
When it comes to accomplishments, merely listing your job duties doesn’t indicate anything about what you, personally, brought to a role. Any person with similar skills put in your position could complete the same laundry list of tasks. What employers want to see–and what will make you stand out as a candidate–is proof that you have succeeded in your roles. To do this, go over your experience and come up with statements that explain the challenges you faced, how you solved them, and what the outcome was.
(At CV Saviour, we know that employers recruit people who can get results. And the best indicator of what you can do for your next employer is to provide evidence in your résumé of what results you have given your previous employers. It’s this detail that really interests employers.
Evidence-based résumés get interviews. This means that if you state you have ‘great communication skills’, a recruiter expects to see evidence of this. Include an example – give the reader the evidence in your document, of where you proved your great communication skills, and what the result of this was. This doesn’t mean just writing the headline ‘achievements’ and listing what you did underneath it!
For example: if you merely list what your job description says what you’re expected to do, a hiring manager or recruiter is going to ask, ‘So what? That’s what you were paid to do!’ That approach tells the reader nothing about what the results you’ve obtained so far.
- Did you identify or resolve any problems on a specific project?
- Did you do it in record time?
- Did you overcome any obstacles?
- Did you save time, money, increase productivity, increase efficiency? If so, by how much?
- If you saved money, how were the savings used?
- What exactly were the results?
If you can add the result to your achievements, you’re ahead of the rest. A great way to draw the result out is to ask yourself ‘so what’ after each achievement because that is what an employer of recruiter asks when they see statements on a CV that aren’t qualified or quantified).
To see how your resume ranks for a particular job opening, use Jobscan’s resume analysis tool. Paste in the text of your resume plus the text of the job posting, and it will analyse them to tell you where you’ve done well, and where you can make improvements.
Resumes in 2016
Finally, while a good (or perfect resume) can do you a lot of favours, an outdated one can easily hinder your job search. Some formerly traditional resume conventions have now gone out the window.
For one thing, resume objectives have fallen out of favour. The bland one- or two-sentence statements do little to distinguish one candidate from another; most are essentially meaningless strings of jargon and buzzwords, and so broad that they could apply to almost anyone. Beyond that, they typically focus on what a job candidate is seeking, rather than on what they can offer an employer. But a potential employer is most interested in how a candidate can fulfill their needs. So skip the objective and get right to the core of your resume. (At CV Saviour, we’d go so far as to say that when it comes to objective statements, you shouldn’t include one. For starters, they went out with the ’90s. The other reason being that an objective amounts to nothing more than an “I want” statement. And the bottom-line is that an employer doesn’t really care what you want. What they DO care about is their bottom-line needs, and your résumé needs to address how perfect you are for those needs. Your message needs to be clear: “Dear Employer: You’re looking for a [imagine your next job title here], and I’m the best there is. Here’s my record to prove it.”)
The trite “references available upon request” line is also not necessary. References are usually checked as one of the last steps in the hiring process; potential employers will ask you for your references when they want them. (At CV Saviour, we have also been notified of isolated incidents where referees have been contacted by a recruiter prior to the candidate even being asked for interview, which caught the referee unprepared to respond the specifics they were being asked, and the candidate not being invited to interview. Wherever possible, your referees should be fully briefed about the specifics of a role you have been shortlisted for, and you should select the best referee to talk to those skills at that time).
If you want, you can create a references sheet to bring to an interview. This sheet should contain not only details about your references’ roles and contact information, but also how you know them, and which of your skills and experiences they can speak to. If you do regular volunteer work, for example, someone from that organisation is likely to know different things about your capabilities than your former supervisor at a previous job. Including these details will save potential employers time, plus give you another chance to specify your skills and experience. In a job market where resumes are looked at for seconds, rather than minutes, sometimes relevant information can get overlooked.
The main job search tip for 2016 is, in fact, to focus on relevant information. In the past, people padded their resumes with everything they’d ever done. The idea was that sheer quantity was impressive. But today, employers care about what you’ve done more than about how much you’ve done.
500 Action Verbs For Your Resume
What Are Action Verbs And How To Use Them On A Resume
Action verbs are verbs that describe in a very direct manner, what the subject of the sentence is doing.
These types of verbs carry a great deal of weight in a sentence and they can convey emotion and a sense of purpose that extends beyond the literal meanings of the words.
Think about it this way. A sentence such as “The man appeared in the doorway” sounds much less impressive than the sentence “The man burst through the doorway and into the room.”
The power of the action verb lies in the meaning and intention that it conveys and how it brings direction and force to the sentence.
An action verb expresses physical, emotional or mental action. The action verb tells us what the subject of the sentence is doing.
In a resume, a great way to illustrate outcomes, successes and achievements is to START your sentence with an action verb.
Action words (or action verbs) zero in on abilities and achievements and give substance and power to your statements.
So, let’s get a little creative, shall we? Take a look at these:
Boosted revenues 14% percent by implementing an inventory program that reduced waste.
Shaved 15% of marketing budget by negotiating new supplier agreements for print production, and diverted saved funds to increase volume of content marketing.
Slashed the processing time for administration tasks related to filing by 75% within a week by redesigning the system.
So, next time you update your resume, switch up a few of those common words and phrases with strong, compelling action verbs that will catch hiring managers’ eyes.
No matter what duty or accomplishment you’re trying to show off, we’ve got just the verb for you.
You Wouldn’t Engage A Plumber To Do Brain Surgery, Would You?*
I’m like the Lady Mayoress of CrankyTown today, and I’m about to have a rant.
You pay a registered builder to build your house. You pay a licensed plumber to do your plumbing. So why would you trust your career, earning potential and livelihood to anything less than a professional? If you can’t pay a certified professional who will stand behind the documents they produce for you, you might just be better off doing it yourself. And if you’re going to that, you’re going to need this.
I’m having a bit of rant today, not least because I’ve had yet another call today from someone who has been applying for jobs for months without getting a single job interview after paying an organisation to write their documents for them, but also because the message clearly isn’t getting through.
What’s worse is that the errors on their resume were blindingly obvious with a brief glance.
The face of recruitment is rapidly changing, and it’s changing so quickly it’s hard to keep up. I like to think that I’m all over what’s going on in my sector, however I fully accept that what I know barely scratches the surface of the reality of what is happening in practice.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock for the past few years or have been out of the job market altogether, you should have heard about Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or resume parsing programs by now. If you haven’t, you can read more about them here.
They are becoming more and more sophisticated, and so are the organisations that use them. (At best estimates, around 80% of organisations in Australia who have more than 100 employees, will use some form of ATS or parsing software).
So, before you spend ANY money on a professionally written resume, make sure you, and your resume writer (who should be certified, by the way) have the facts at hand.
Here are just a few recent advances in the job application process:
- When you apply for a job online, you may be directed to a brief questionnaire to complete after submitting your resume. The way you respond to the questionnaire may screen you out as a candidate (instead of screening you in), simply because you are not a good fit for the organisation. So it won’t matter how good or bad your resume is, if you are not a good company fit, and you cannot prove that you have the skills, qualifications and psychological profile to fit that organisation, you will not get shortlisted.
- Some organisations have actually STOPPED accepting resumes as part of the initial application process, instead directing candidates to online testing platforms that will test your ‘can do’, ‘will do’ and ‘fit to’ a position. Only then will they ask for your resume (which will need to be laser-focused specifically for the role in question). Failure to do this, will result in a failure to be interviewed if the few other candidates they shortlist have made the effort to tailor their applications.
- If your resume has NOT been optimised for ATS, and the organisation to which you are applying is using ATS to screen all applications, a computer may make the decision about whether your resume gets read by a real person in the first instance. This is literally a situation where the computer says no! If your resume writer cannot speak knowledgeably about ATS and getting your resume through ATS screening, run away, and quickly, There are 16 certified resume writers Australia – any of them can help you.
So, before you spend anything on getting someone to write your resume, I’d use this checklist before giving it to someone who you are trusting your livelihood and earning potential to.
And if you’re not in a position to pay for a professional to do it for, mine everything you can from this website, because all the answers are here. Or buy this book – written by a certified resume writer – and do it yourself. For goodness sake though, do not risk not putting food on your table by placing your career in the hands of an amateur. Please.
It’s a false economy thinking you can get a resume professionally written for less than a few hundred dollars, and it will cost you (quite possibly a lot) in the long term, as my client today has discovered.
Think about it in the context of the minimum hourly rate in Australia, and the fact that a certified resume writer PLUS a proofreader PLUS a QA reviewer will take around 12 hours to get your ATS friendly resume to first draft, before any edits or amendments are made by you.
How many job applications are you prepared to send off, and how many months are you prepared to wait for that elusive interview? I hope you know where I’m going with this …
If you’re a DIYer – good for you for having a go – but please get the guidelines from an industry leader here.
*No disrespect the Electricians, Plumbers or Brain Surgeons intended. Or anyone who re-trains from any profession to become a certified resume writer.