Long, verbose passages full of evocative prose might just help you win the Booker Prize, but what they most certainly won’t help you with, is getting hired for that dream job. Many people do not realize that a resume is not a personal statement. A resume is in fact meant to be a condensed version of you that is relevant to the job in question – this basically includes your training, professional and personal skills and of course work experience. As such, a resume can do without the frills and stick to what is effective and absolutely necessary. It is true that when it comes to resumes, less really is more.
In the age of digital recruitment, the first step to getting hired is getting your resume in the hands of an actual human being. Your resume may never reach the recruitment manager or recruiter if it doesn’t hold the right cards. Let’s look at some ways in which you can ensure that your resume reaches the right hands, and is not shot down during the early stages of the battle, when automated programs sift through hundreds of resumes and select the ones that are the best match to the job profile.
1. Firstly, keep it concise and effective. It won’t matter how much you write, if none of it includes the right words. Don’t overuse words, but instead, use the right words in the right amount. We’re talking about keywords of course. Each job profile has a set of relevant words and phrases that recruiters have etched in their minds. Using these words rings the right bells and reminds whoever is looking at your resume that you are experienced and familiar with the job profile.
2. Grammar and language may be too relevant to the job profile, unless you’re applying for the post of a writer, but the error-free grammar and spelling can go a long way as far as your resume is concerned. Let’s just say a resume with bad grammar and silly mistakes doesn’t exactly spell ‘perfetcionist’! Beware especially of common spelling and grammar errors that auto correct fails to sometimes pick up. Automated resume robots have a knack for spotting spelling and grammar mistakes and will prevent your resume from reaching the right hands.
3. Be innovative with your resume. It does not usually pay off to write reams of words, but it does pay off to make your resume work for you. A resume is meant to display and highlight your strengths. For you, if this means creating a resume that talks first about your work experience and then about everything else, even if it means not having a chronological resume, by all means do it.
4. As I said earlier, when it comes to resumes, less is often more. This is true in the case of fancy presentation and graphics. Make sure that any graphics or design elements in your resume do not take away from the main content. Having a well-designed and unique resume may be important for some creative jobs, but even so, remember that the resume is not a portfolio.
5. One way to make sure your resume is effective and reaches the right people is to make a personal connection with the hiring manager or recruiter. Sending out a job application may be a fully digitized process now, but remember that at the end of the day it is all about people. A person reads your application and your resume, so why not contact them personally to find out more about the job before you apply?
These are only a few tips or suggestions to help you create an effective resume. By using contextual words and phrases you can communicate your familiarity with the field. By making sure you use correct spelling and grammar, you can show that you pay attention to detail and have spent time on creating a good resume. By connecting personally with HR personnel in the company you’re applying to, you can ensure that you form some sort of relationship with the company before applying. And lastly, don’t get stuck with any particular model for a resume. Make a resume that works for you and plays to your strengths.
Are you ready to take a “less is more” approach to crafting your resume? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
About the Author: Richard McMunn is the author of this article and founder of How2become.com, the UK’s leading training and recruitment website for public sector careers. The focus is on providing applicants with the knowledge they need to prepare for and pass selection processes for careers in the police, fire service and ambulance service. The website currently offers over 150 different titles. You can also find How2become on Facebook.