10 Seconds. That is all the time a recruiter is going to spend looking at your CV, before they decide whether to contact you. That’s it. It has never been easier to apply for jobs than it is today. The downside to that, is that there is so much more competition to even get selected for an interview. How many times have you applied for a job online and just never heard back? If you go to LinkedIn and just look at the jobs section, filter on the last 24 hours and just look at the number of applications, you will get a stark reality check. Hundreds of applicants are the norm these days.
So how do you stand out in such a mass of job applicants? The answer is to have a very well written resume that catches the eye. Let me give you some tips to get you started.
Do not include your address
Do you know a quick way to filter yourself out of an application? Put your address on your resume. That seems strange right? We all put our address on our resume. But you really shouldn’t. Bias is a real thing. The number of times I have seen a recruiter or manager reject a candidate because the applicant might have to relocate or have a long commute is very high. They often make this judgement without even speaking to the person.
Change that email address
I am all for individuality, but most companies will reject your application if they see you have an “unprofessional” email address. It is stupid and I don’t agree with it, but it’s sadly a fact. If you apply with an email address that starts with ladiesman69, shopaholic85 or anything else that isn’t dull and corporate. Your application is likely to be rejected. Set up a professional email address for your resume and job search that is related to your name.
Choose your social media carefully
Want to give a company another reason to potentially discount you? Provide your social media details on your resume. I say again, bias is a real thing. If your potential tee-total boss, checks out the Instagram account you provided and you were pictured with a glass of wine over the weekend, do you think that moves you up or down the list of potential hires? Likewise, if you have said anything political or expressed any sort of opinion, its highly likely someone may not like it. Do not stop using Social Media, you carry on doing you, just don’t put your social media accounts on your resume.
Avoid generic self-descriptions and focus on achievements instead
99% of resumes say that the person is hardworking, motivated, proactive and detail orientated. Almost no recruiter cares or even bothers to read your generic self-description anymore. When you are reading through 100s of resumes every week, they all blend in to one. Worse, if someone does read one, its more information that could potentially get you filtered out. I have seen someone get rejected thousands of times for saying they are motivated. The apparent logic is that the person might not stay in a job for long. Again, this is ridiculous but sadly true.
Instead focus on the value that you bring to the table. List your achievements. What projects did you work on, and what were the outcomes? Did you work on a project that streamlined process, implemented a tech solution or saved or made the company extra money? Put it on the resume! If all you include are your generic business as usual, day to day activities – what do you bring to the table? What sets you apart, is the value you can deliver. Highlight it.
While we are at it, cut down the list of skills on your resume. Microsoft Word, Outlook and PowerPoint were skills in 2000. In this day and age, they are not. Anyone who has worked in an office knows how to use these tools. Its like listing down that you can open a door or work a microwave. Everyone else can too.
Drop some names
What sounds more impressive? “I brought in a number of new accounts and helped grow the business” or “I acquired Google, Apple, Netflix and Alibaba as new customers”. You don’t want to sit around bragging to your friends at the bar or at a dinner party, but on your resume, you need to brag. You need to catch the recruiter’s eye and get them to call you. The only thing being humble on your resume gets you, is a series of emails that say, “thank you for your application, however, you have not been selected at this time”.
*If you are looking to succeed in your career then you should check out my book – The Employee Handbook: A Practical Guide for Managing Your Career – which was ranked as the #1 Best Selling Career Book on Amazon Singapore. You can pick up a copy by clicking here. Alternatively, you can search for the book on any Amazon site including UK, US, Singapore, India, UAE, Japan, Canada, Australia and various others to order a copy. If you are in another location, Amazon will be able to ship globally to you. It is also available as an e-book via Amazon Kindle.