Applying for jobs is hard, especially in a competitive industry. Unless you’ve got the right contacts to introduce you to potential employers, you’ll likely find yourself doing the application/resume thing. This is where things can really get frustrating. It often feels like you’re just dropping off your resume into a void, never to hear back from the company.
The issue is that employers often receive tens if not hundreds of resumes. It’s easy for you to get lost in the mix even if you’re a great candidate. You may have it all: education, experience and a dazzling personality, but if it doesn’t come through on paper you won’t even be invited for an interview.
Every position is different but there are a few ways to make your resume pop. Read on for our best tips to getting your foot in the door.
Customise your Resume for the Job
Most of us have a basic resume that lists out each position we’ve held (and serves as a handy reminder of our start and end dates!). But, just as every person is different, so is every job opportunity. Companies want to see different things, which is why you can’t just drop off a generic resume. It has to be tailored to the position.
As your prospects come up, adjust your resume for the job accordingly. Don’t change the facts, just focus on describing on how your qualities make you good fit for this unique opportunity.
Find out What They’re Looking For
For this you really need to put yourself in the mind-set of the person doing the hiring. What are they looking for? In Human Resource Management the elements that qualify you for the job are called KSAs: Knowledge, Skills and Abilities. What do you already know, which skills do you have and what abilities give you the potential to really succeed?
Examples include knowledge of labour laws, typing skill of 50 words per minute and ability to complete work under pressure.
Sometimes you’re lucky enough that the company lists out the KSAs in the job description, but if not you’ll want to do your own research.
Tell them WHY
Anyone can list out their experience and achievements and just hope the hiring manager will connect the dots. It’s time to take this one step further- help them make the connection!
You don’t have to sell yourself in the resume or write them a novel of a cover letter; you’ll explain to them WHY you’re qualified by artfully including it in your description of past duties. If you’re fresh out of university you can do this when describing any academic projects or achievements.
In your job duties, mention which KSAs you used to succeed: ‘maintained up-to-date knowledge of housing regulations in order to apply appropriate standards’ or ‘kept track of all important deadlines to complete reports early each month’.
List Achievements and Leadership Qualities
For each position, don’t be afraid to talk yourself up a bit (within reason!). Employers like to see cold hard facts and data. Mention things like ‘increased clientele by 25% in first quarter’. It’s also great to talk about anything that identifies you as a leader. ‘Completely trained new associate’ or ‘supervised staff of five’ are good examples of this.
It sort of goes without saying, but everyone can use a reminder: make sure to check and double-check the format, grammar and spelling on your resume. Ask for help if necessary. This will guarantee your resume isn’t immediately tossed out for simple errors that make you look like you pay no attention to detail.
Follow these suggestions to create a stellar resume and help you stand out from the crowd! When it comes time for the big interview, get ready to let those KSAs shine in person.
This article was contributed by UKEAS Nigeria, where you can find education consultancy in all aspects of studying in the UK. Founded in Taiwan in 1993, UKEAS has helped tens of thousands of students to achieve their goal of study, helping prepare people for the best career opportunities possible.