Over the years of working in a business environment, we have seen our fair share of resumes. From this, we have begun to notice the same points come up, over and over again in the application process.
With the job market getting more and more competitive, the vast number of applications for an employer may be tiring and quite frankly, a little overwhelming, leaving them with the hard task of going through hundreds or even thousands of resumes. After a certain point, much like everything, the process becomes repetitive, words double up, colours merge together and the coffee just doesn’t seem to be strong enough anymore…
So this calls for a vigorous screening process to be implemented, with even the smallest aspects considered, because at the end of the day, all we have to understand about you and your personality comes from a piece of paper, so content matters!
However please don’t doubt yourself for a second, because with these tips, we’re going to help you create an invincible resume and claim your interview, to match your extensive and admirable experience, of course!
1.When applying for a job – actually read the ad.
Duh you say? Well no. So many applicants, and I mean probably 1/3 of all applicants did NOT read the job description.
How do we know this? You ask. Well from a couple of points:
First, we asked for all applicants to only submit an application if there is a cover letter included. On many occasions, this was omitted. To us, this shows if you can’t read the job ad instructions, you are not going to have a high level of attention to detail when it comes to actually coming on the job.
Second, we included our name and contact details in the job ad. This was for addressing us on the cover letter. Rather than just writing “To the HR Manager”. This was your chance to show your ”attention to detail” that you later went on to tell me all about in your resume.
Third, in your cover letter you spoke about gaining experience in a completely different field to what we work in… Can I tell you now, that submitting bulk copies of your resume and cover letter to any-job-that-looks-like-it-might-be-suitable-to-you just doesn’t work like it used to, so go ahead and give up on that idea right now!
2. Personalise your application.
While many people submitted a cover letter, on many occasion as I spoke about above, “To whom it may concern”or “To the HR manager” was included in the cover letter. Sure that’s great, if there has been no contact included on the job ad, but again, attention to detail is key. Personalise your application and go for ”Dear (insert name)” instead, it surely does make a difference.
3. Commitment to the job.
We particularly look for applicants who have stayed at an organisation for over 2 years. Generally this seems to be the standard time frame minimum that shows you’ve had a good ‘crack’ at the role. We’ve seen resumes with up to 6 different jobs, staying in each one for 6 months to a year each. While yes, this shows a lot of variety and experience, unless you communicate exactly why you left and the reasoning behind this, unfortunately to us as an employer, it shows a strong level of ‘flightiness’.
4. Your personal interests.
While it’s great to see you’ve got all-the-experience in the world (and then some!), we also want to know about you. Why not give us an insight to your personality and your personal interests. What makes you smile? What do you love doing on the weekend? When 5:00pm hits and works out, where do you go?
Tell us! This adds a great personal element to your resume and helps us gain a better insight on who you are! Maybe we have the same interests, which will prove to be a great conversation starter when you claim your interview!
We also recommend that you ensure all of your social media profiles are clean and professional, here are some tips on how to create an impressive social media profile.
Which brings me to the next point…
5. Let your personality shine through!
This probably should have been number one, because it is of utmost importance. When hiring staff, we truly believe that personality and attitude are more important than acquired skills, because at the end of the day – you can’t change someones attitude but you can change their skills…
To help you portray yourself in the best manner possible, we recommend that you avoid using templates for wording and content when it comes to writing your cover letter and resume. As we said earlier, when there are over 250 applications, the likelihood of someone else using that same template is very high. If this happens, it really gives us no sense of your personality or differentiation between you and them…
Therefore write your application to suit two things:
1. The tone of the organisation.
For example if you are applying for a law firm or professional role, your tone must be extremely formal and concise, however if you’re applying for a something like a magazine or a small startup looking for ideas, you can opt for more of a lighthearted tone. Note: Ensure you don’t get ‘lighthearted’ mixed up with ‘lack of professionalism’, as your level of professionalism should never sway, so be careful with your choice of wording and if in doubt go for a more formal tone rather than an informal or casual tone.
2. Your personal voice
Try to include some unique ways of describing yourself and give us further insight on your personality. Every single person has something amazing and unique about them, so channel this concept and tell us! What makes you different? What makes you shine? Don’t tell me you’re a hard worker, but tell me why! Perhaps you go out of your way to give exceptional customer service, or perhaps answering the phone and making a customer happy gives you a rush of excitement, explain it!
6. Claim your interview!
You may like to follow up with the employer about your application after it has been submitted to ensure that they received it, however ensure you wait at least one week. A follow up email for big companies, or a phone call (not necessary however) shows initiative and your hunger for the role. However only do this once, as then it may begin to annoy the employer if you’re calling them daily to see if they’ve looked at your CV yet!
So, here’s our round up on some of the key aspects we noticed over and over again that we wanted to share with you, as a hope that you can learn from, and improve on your next job application.
This is for all those employers out there, tired of poor quality resumes, and all those applicants out there, who don’t realise how frustrating these little actions can be… Next time you’re about to hit send on your application for a new job, stop and think about these key points to make sure that you don’t lessen your chance toward your dream job by making these silly mistakes!
Tell us, what are some funny stories or tips you’ve learnt from being in a job interview? Tell us in the comments below!