"One of the biggest challenges faced by some of the candidates we talk to is their struggle to secure interviews," says Rakos. "If that sounds familiar to you, it’s likely that there are some issues with your resume. There’s no need to tear up your existing resume and start again. With some careful amendments, you can improve your resume and increase your interview invitations."
Here’s how, according to Rakos:
- Remove your career objective statement: At SkyWater, we’ve never been convinced of how effective they are and they seem to have had their day. At this stage it’s about what the employer wants, rather than what you want, so focus on the skills, achievements and experience that meet the key criteria of the job. Once you get to interview, then you can discuss your own aspirations.
- Achievements are where it’s at: Most resumes consist of a long list of job descriptions and responsibilities held in each position. What the employer is looking for is what you can actually do (based on what you’ve actually done!) Highlight your achievements in each position. Instead of ‘managed a team of five’ expand on what you did, for example “managed a sales team that met its targets two months ahead of schedule.”
- Include a profile section: Profile sections are gradually replacing career objective statements on resumes. You have up to twenty seconds to attract a hiring manager’s attention when they read your resume. For maximum impact, highlight your strengths, experience and achievements relevant to the vacancy in three or four bullet points that will entice the hiring manager to read more.
- Presentation: Bullet points and headlines are much easier to read quickly than endless paragraphs of dense text. Think about the way in which you read articles – the most attractive and readable are well presented, often in bullet points. Apply the same principles to your resume and make it easier for the hiring manager to find the information they are looking for.
- No more than two pages: At SkyWater, we see plenty of resumes spread over multiple pages and our recommendation is – keep your resume to a maximum of two pages. For graduates applying for their first job one page may well be enough to highlight everything the hiring manager will need to know. A long resume will lose the hiring manager’s attention before they reach page three.
- Remove the non-essentials: By this we mean the irrelevant details that many candidates often include in the list of job descriptions they include on their resume. Highlight the skills that are relevant to the job you are applying for. This is preferable to a long list of skills you think might impress the hiring manager that bear no resemblance to the vacancy. See your resume as a document which will market you and promote your suitability for a particular role. Challenge yourself; for every area of your resume ask how this will move you forward in your application and if it doesn’t, take it out or rewrite it into something more appropriate.