Resume & Cover Letter Writing Strategies

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 Misconceptions About Resume Writing:

From my experience working with job seekers there are many misconceptions about resume writing and the job search in general. As much as we hope that every time we send our resume to a prospective job the hiring manger is going to sit down and study our resume, unfortunately this just does not happen. When a company posts a job on a major job board, that company can receive in excess of 300–500 resumes. I have once received over 1500 resumes for one particular job within 48 hours! As such, when it comes to resume writing you need to focus on providing value added content that strictly targets the job you are applying for.

Find below my top 4 Resume Writing Misconceptions:

Your resume will be read from start to finish:

When your resume is initially opened for the first time it is more than likely going to be viewed for less than 30 seconds. Including a qualifications profile at the beginning of your resume is a fantastic way of grabbing the reader’s attention. Focus your attention on the skills that you can offer the company as opposed to telling the reader what you are looking for in a job.

Any resume template will work:

This is completely wrong. Type into Google “Resume Templates” and you will see that there are literally thousands of templates that you can choose from. Be warned, resume templates have been around for many years. Most templates are old fashioned and nearly most of the templates that you can download online will not be read by “Automated Recruiting Software” especially if they have boxes and tables. An experienced hiring manger can sniff out a resume template from a mile away and can portray an initial first impression of being lazy, having a lack of initiative and professionalism.

One size fits all approach:

If you have applied for multiple jobs using the same resume and not found success the answer is most probably because your resume is not standing out due to being too generic. Target your resume towards every job you apply for. Ensure that when a recruiter or employer is reading through your resume that it is written towards the position you are applying for. From an employer’s perspective they want to know that you are seriously interested in the job and that your resume has been written specifically towards the job you are applying for.

The more creative the resume looks, the more the resume will stand out:

Remember your resume is not a piece of artwork – it will never be hung up on the wall or put up on the fridge. The resume has one purpose and that is to get you to interview. Highlighting your name in big pink writing may get the attention of the reader however will most probably not portray the professional image that is required. Ensure your resume stands out by including key achievements and the value added skills and training that you can bring to the job.

Time To Find A New Job

Is Using An Online Resume Template A Good Idea:

When I first realized I needed to make a resume as a college student, the task seemed a little overwhelming…where do I start? If you’ve never needed a resume before, been in the same job for several years and haven’t had to update it, or simply never taken the time to perfect your resume, you might be tempted to look for online resume templates. This will make your life a little easier, but it will also hurt your chances of actually landing a job – DON’T DO IT! Using an online resume template is likely to:

Make you look like every other job seeker out there:

When it comes to applying for jobs, employers will find any reason to throw out an application. One thing that helps you stand out amongst the bunch is having a unique, modern and professional-looking resume. Don’t ruin your chances right from the beginning.

Show employers that you take short-cuts and don’t want to put in the time and effort to produce quality work:

Hiring managers and recruiters see hundreds of resumes every week, so they can usually spot an online template a mile away. This means they’ll know you tried to take a short-cut by using a template and plugging in some of your own details, undermining the image you’re trying to portray as a hard-working and results-driven professional. For many industries, employers assume that if you can’t produce a quality, professional resume and cover letter, chances are you won’t produce quality work for them either if they hire you.

Undermine your creativity, authenticity and computer skills:

Your resume and cover letter should be like personal marketing advertisements, showing employers why they should hire you above everyone else to benefit their company. Employers want innovative, creative individuals to work for their companies. You should be putting your best, most professional self forward in order to stand out from the competition and you can’t exactly appear as authentic or creative when you use an online template. With a resume template, you basically just fill in your details to a generic design and the amount of customization you can do to the headings and content are limited. Employers might also question your computer expertise if you’re having trouble laying out your own document.

Look outdated or make it difficult for applicant tracking systems or automated recruiting software to read:

Job searching terminology and resume trends change quickly. If you don’t know what’s current in your field, you may use an outdated template which will reflect negatively on your application. Some older templates may use terminology that has changed, such as “Goals” instead of “Objectives”. In addition, some templates use tables and graphics to make resumes look unique, which can actually hurt you if employers use applicant tracking systems or automated recruiting software. These systems can’t read tables and certain graphics and convert it to gibberish.

The bottom line is that you will greatly benefit from spending more time and effort on your resume. Ask family or friends to look at their resumes for examples, and if you have the money consider having a professional resume writer create your resume. This will ensure that your resume is modern, unique and professional and stands out from all the other applicants!

Chi Tran

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