One method to get to the heart of a problem or challenge is to look at what doesn’t work and why. The same can be said for drafting and writing resumes and cover letters.
Once you find a negative that doesn’t work it’s relatively easy to uncover what will work. Let’s take a look at what most job hunters do wrong in writing their resumes.
Would you use the same screwdriver in every occasion to fasten something together with a screw? There are many different screw heads, and each is designed for a specific purpose. The same can be said for a resume.
One size resume does not fit all. Each job is unique with unique requirements. Many may have the same job title, but with a bit of study you’ll soon realize the skills required and their ranking in importance will be different for each position.
To expect a recruiter to connect the dots and dig through your resume to find the required skills is asking way too much. You have a great number of competitors for every open position. So do not send in a generic resume. If you do not consider what the company wants they will not want you.
In writing a readable resume you must focus your skills and qualifications to the needs of the employer. A customized resume that details your accomplishments and experience most relevant to the position will be more likely to be read. And if it is read you are more likely to be asked in for a job interview.
Another resume writing mistake, that is not quite as apparent as not customizing the resume for every position, is to put together a resume that is boring and uninteresting.
If you put the reader to sleep, you’re likely to lose. Dull resumes are full of acronyms, jargon (never assume the person reading your resume fully understands your job and its requirements), snippets from job descriptions, and lists of responsibilities.
Many also commit another fatal sin by not including results. Achievements that are quantifiable and match as closely as possible to the main job requirements are what the employer is searching for. Give them what they want.
When you think you’ve eliminated the sin of writing a dull resume. Read it aloud. How does it sound? If OK, now read it to some friends, and perhaps read it to someone in junior high school. What questions do they have? Get them answered and that portion of the resume rewritten.
Another interesting technique is to ask the question, “So what?” after every sentence. Rewrite until the “So whats?” are eliminated.
To add some color (no, don’t print it on purple paper) to your resume you might consider adding a relevant recommendation. It should be short, relevant to the main job requirement, and by someone in authority.
Many job hunters do not include a cover letter with the submission of their resume. This may times is another potential fatal mistake.
If the recruiter can’t easily discover what position you are applying for you’ll be rejected. As said previously you have a high level of competition for every position and your job is to move to the next level.
Your cover letter should indicate the job applying for and where you learned of the position. It should not be a rehash of your resume but should include something additional that specifically demonstrates you will bring value to the position and to the employer. Including a cover letter with your resume will help you achieve that goal.
There are many other resume and cover letter writing tips that you must consider. But these ideas should get you started in writing a better cover letter and resume.