Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and job coach from Alberta in CanadaListing your hobbies, adding colourful charts and weaving in
Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and job coach from Alberta in Canada
Listing your hobbies, adding colourful charts and weaving in words from the company’s mission statement is the key to writing a standout resume, an award-winning job coach has revealed.
Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and employment strategist from Alberta in western Canada, who works with businesses and candidates to help both parties find their perfect fit.
She shared 10 simple steps for writing the perfect resume on LinkedIn to help hopefuls stand out in a fiercely competitive job market, as Australia braces for a predicted 10 percent unemployment rate by the end of June.
Australia last saw double-digit unemployment in the early 1990s, when jobless levels peaked at 11.2 percent in December 1992, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s when one in five people were out of work.
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A sample resume marked with the tricks that make a resume standout from dozens of others, including coloured headings, concise bullet points and tailored explanations of skills
1. Start with a target
Before putting pen to paper, Ms Tom said it’s important to have a clear understanding of the the job you hope to secure and the qualities a recruiter will be looking for to fill it.
Studies suggest that the average candidate’s CV has just seven seconds to make an impression before it is binned.
Australian human resources expert Karen Gately said the same is true of a cover letter, which should never begin with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.
Ms Gately previously told Daily Mail Australia the generic opener is ‘one of the quickest ways to end up on the ‘no’ pile’.
‘You’re not even taking the time to address your resume or your application to the people that you’re talking to. Find out who they are and address them,’ she said.
2. Customise every line
Ms Tom said every section of your resume must be tailored to show how your skills and experience match the role you are applying for.
‘General resumes just don’t work,’ she said.
Ms Gately said it’s important to clearly state your relevant achievements and demonstrate how they could bring value to the organisation.
‘If I’m saying ‘I have a strong eye for detail’ and there’s a whole bunch of mistakes through the resume, they don’t go well together,’ she said.
‘Or if I say, ‘I’m an innovative go-getting kind of person’ – well how have you demonstrated that? When have you come up with innovative ideas or challenged the status quo? Make statements about yourself but ensure you’re backing it up.’
This graph shows how Australia’s unemployment rate will likely nearly double to peak at 10 per cent for the June quarter as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis – but it could have been far worse if the government hadn’t introduced JobKeeper
3. Use keywords
London recruitment coach and author Rita Chowdhry
Ms Tom said weaving keywords from the job advertisement into your resume will show a recruiter that you’ve thoroughly researched the role and already possess many of the capabilities the employer is looking for.
London recruitment coach Rita Chowdhry, who spent five years crafting what has been hailed as ‘the world’s best CV‘, said hiring managers are always impressed when a candidate refers to their company’s values in at least one career achievement.
4. Give unique examples
Ms Tom said it’s crucial to provide creative examples of how you excelled in previous roles to truly set yourself apart from other candidates.
She advised brainstorming before writing an application to come up with clever anecdotes of ‘what makes you unique’ and how you can add value and skill to the role.
Including charity projects and hobbies, if there is space, shows a glimpse of your personal values and allows a recruiter to connect with you on a human level while reading your application.
HR expert Karen Gately said personal passions are key because they reveal what motivates you.
‘Whatever it may be, it demonstrates your diligence, commitment to learning and the extent of which you are a participant in life and strive to be successful,’ she said.
5. Be specific
Ms Tom said its important to preempt the queries a recruiter or hiring manager might have after reading your resume so you can answer them in your application without them ever needing to ask.
‘Answer reader questions and demonstrate value with the appropriate balance of details,’ she said.
Instead of having a resume that is page after page of your previous jobs, Ms Gately suggests including only relevant experience and then saying ‘prior employment history available if required’.
‘It’s about the relevance of [your past] job to the one that you’re going for, and whether it adds value,’ she said.
6. Focus on results
While it may be tempting to list every daily task you were expected to perform in your previous job, Ms Tom said recruiters take note of people who show initiative rather than those who simply follow orders.
‘Avoid task-heavy content and focus on results,’ she said.
If you previously secured a lucrative deal or worked on a project that improved a company’s balance sheet, include exact figures to demonstrate your monetary value to the business.
7. Keep it short
Ms Tom said the best resumes are two pages long, with all relevant details included in a clear and concise layout.
‘There’s no need to drone on and on. Typical resumes are two pages, three at most,’ she said.
Ms Chowdhry believes resumes should be confined to a single page unless you are applying for a position in senior management.
Sexual orientation, religious beliefs and any other ‘non-vital’ details, including photographs, should be left out to avoid any unconscious biases a recruitment panel might have.
8. Add colour
Ms Tom said there’s no need to be afraid of adding a splash of colour – in fact, it could be the very thing that makes you memorable to a recruiter tasked with trawling through dozens of typically black and white applications.
She suggested giving the file a ‘facelift’ by including charts, graphs and coloured headings which draw the eye towards important content.
9. Use bullet points
Resumes are not essays, and Ms Tom said bullet points can help to focus your writing on the key messages you want the reader to see.
‘Front-load statements and use bullet points with numbers and values. Don’t make the reader hunt,’ she said.
Ms Chowdhry agrees, saying work history should be listed in chronological order with bulleted sections written in a clear, consistent font like Arial or Times New Roman, size 11 or 12.
10. Send directly to decision makers
Ms Tom said a brilliant resume can only show its true potential if its received by the right person.
‘Once your resume is ready, consider ways to get it directly into the hands of decision makers,’ she said.
If you are sending a resume ‘off the cuff’ to a recruiter, Ms Tom recommended generating a PDF version which retains formatting and structure better than a Microsoft Word document.
If you are already in contact with the recipient, she said it ‘can’t hurt to ask their preference’.
For more tips on writing a standout resume and general career advice during coronavirus, visit Seek Australia here.