A great deal has been written by a great many about what makes a great resume.
In short, I’m not convinced that it’s actually about a great resume as such, more so about an effective resume; a resume that will get you the job, get you the interview, get you a phone call or just get you considered should be what you’re really after.
One things for sure, many suitably experienced candidates have missed out on securing an interview for a prospective position because they presented a poor or ineffective resume. One of the greatest challenges facing Candidates these days is the fact that more and more recruitment companies are employing Recruitment Consultants who do not have any actual experience performing in the roles they recruit for. The result of this can be that good (suitable) Candidates can be “passed over” just because the Consultant does not like the “look” of their resume, or understand how suitable a Candidate may potentially be from their description of their experience.
The key then is to present your resume in a style, and with the content, that will clearly demonstrate your abilities, qualifications, experience, past performance and/or overall suitability for the position, that can be easily understood by anyone. Don’t assume that because you’re a Salesperson who has achieved great success in your current, or previous, position that the person reading your resume will get that message without you spelling it out clearly for them; tell them. When you are writing your resume, think about who will be reading it and what they are likely to be looking for with this position.
If you were applying for a position as a:
Territory Based Sales Representative
You would want to describe how you:
- Organise and plan your territory
- Manage your time
- Motivate yourself
- Work well unsupervised and/or as part of a Team
- Prospect for, identify and secure new customers (If appropriate)
- Overcome objections and rejections
- Are performing in your current (or previous) role(s), making sure you qualify your results so they mean something to the reader. i.e. don’t just state that you sold this many or that many, or brought on “X” amount of new customers etc. relate it back to what was expected from you and how you performed in comparison with that expectation. For example: “For the previous 18 months I have achieved 120% to target (if that’s what you achieved!) etc.
Give examples wherever possible and ALWAYS tell the truth. Don’t “dress up” or fabricate your experience and/or results. Melbourne is a village; sooner or later, if you BEND the truth, you will get found out!!
In thinking about the presentation of your resume, don’t write an essay, (like I’m doing here ☺), keep it short and simple; bullet points are often the best. If you want to write a bit of a story explaining why you believe you would be a suitable Candidate for the position, include a covering letter. A well written covering letter can sometimes be the secret ingredient that gets you the interview if your resume either doesn’t quite get your message across to the reader, or you’re wanting a change in direction, or you feel ready, and qualified, to take on this new role, but do not have any demonstrable success in this area up to now.
Watch out for abbreviations and industry ”jargon”. Remember what I said before, never assume that the person reading your resume knows your business or what you’re talking about; they SHOULD, but don’t assume that they DO!
This next point is an obvious one, however, you’d be surprised how often it’s an issue.
Check, double check, check again and then have someone else check, the spelling and grammar in your resume. There’s nothing worse than reading a resume with great content, submitted by a potentially suitable Candidate, that is full of spelling errors, typos, grammatical errors or is just flat out badly written. There is no excuse these days, as most word-processing packages have some form of spelling and grammar check built in.
Watch out for layout as well. Again, in this day and age, with technology the way it is, most resumes are submitted via email and opened in their “composing” program. By using the “Show/Hide” key a Recruitment Consultant, or prospective Employer, can get an insight into your ability to use the package you composed your resume in. This is obviously not as much of an issue with hard copy, but most people these days request resumes in soft.
Last but not least. When submitting a “hard” copy of your resume, always invest the time and money to provide good, clean, crisp copies. There’s no need to go over the top, unless you feel the position you are applying for calls for it (some marketing/design/creative roles potentially) and ensure that it is fastened together in some way, shape or form so the pages do not get separated from each other.
In closing, if you decide to enlist the services of a “professional” resume producing person/agency, make sure THEY understand all that we’ve discussed here also. Some secretarial services have their preferred “standard” layout and produce all their resumes with the same look, feel and content. While this may make their life easier, it may not give you that competitive edge, you might need, to make it through the “sorting” process.