While there are many do’s and don’ts to making your resume or CV, the suggestion I have today for you is one that will strengthen almost any application and hopefully get you into the interview chair. I hope you personally agree with me, whether you are making a document for the very first time, or you are a seasoned pro when it comes to making them.
My suggestion has to do with the content of the bullets under each job you have either performed in the past or are currently involved with. However before I discuss this further, you’ll only get what I’m talking about if you first have in front of you a job posting you are actually interested in applying for. Sitting down to make your CV or resume without a job you want to apply to is a very poor way to begin, and my suggestion for strengthening your resume won’t work whatsoever if you don’t already have the posting to guide you along.
Okay, so here we go. Many people will look at the job posting and read over the requirements. When making their resume, the same folks will more often than not, make sure that the section called, “Qualifications” includes some of the more important ones from the posting. This is a good thing. After all, the employer reviewing all those resumes they receive in answer to a job posting wants to quickly know if you match up well on paper or not before reading the entire thing.
So the same logic should be easy to understand further on down beneath that section as you start listing your current and past experiences. Ironically however, my time spent watching people construct their own resumes or reviewing them once they have done it completely shows a lack of understanding in this vital area. What seems to occur is a person writes down their job title, employer and date, and then they gaze upward, look thoughtful and start putting down whatever they can think of that they did or accomplished in that job.
If you are one of these people, you are likely agreeing with the above paragraph and wondering therefore how this could possibly be the wrong thing to be doing. Asking yourself, “What did I actually do or accomplish in that job?” is the wrong question to be asking yourself as you list some bullet points. The right question is close but different. The question you should be asking and answering is, “What did I actually do or accomplish in that job THAT IS RELATED DIRECTLY TO THE JOB I AM APPLYING FOR RIGHT NOW?”
You will find with this question that a review of the job posting you are applying to will tell you specifically the skills required for the job. While you may have done some impressive things in a certain job in the past, those accomplishments might not be relevant to the job you are applying for. It may be far wiser to use the same words from the posting in demonstrating and proving you have done similar work and developed similar skills rather than something spectacular but not really relevant.
Okay an example. Suppose the job posting is for a Personal Support Worker and says the successful applicant will practice confidentiality and exhibit compassion and sensitivity. You may be well served then to say:
– Respectful of people’s rights to privacy and confidentiality at all times while delivering compassionate, considerate personal care in a sensitive, dignified manner
The above might be far better than a bullet that says you are good at multi-tasking and take on extra work without complaint. While multi-tasking and a good attitude when it comes to additional work are excellent qualities themselves, they aren’t the qualities identified by the employer as the ones they are specifically seeking. If you can imagine a resume or CV where the applicant has carefully constructed each and every bullet to specifically align with the job posting, you can I hope also imagine how much stronger the overall document will be.
So is this worth the extra time it will require to personalize the entire resume? After all, I acknowledge this will make construction of a resume longer. Well, obviously in my opinion the answer is yes it is. Why? Well, simply put it’s less work not more. You see, a resume that is as strong as it can be and specifically done this way has to be among the strongest the employer will receive. If the qualifications section and all the details of what you have done in the past all point back directly to the job posting, it has to rank up there with the strongest.
The result of this method is that your resume now gets you an interview more often than not. That in turn means you are doing less resumes in the first place in total, even though you are spending more time on a single resume. And given a choice between doing 1-3 resumes to land an interview with 2-3 hours spent on each, or 20-25 resumes to land an interview that you spent 15 minutes on each, which would you want?
Hopefully as I said earlier, you are either already doing this yourself or the light bulb just went on and you’re having an ‘a-ha’ moment right now. The longer the job posting, the easier it is to make a stellar resume using this simple but oft overlooked process.