You have a resume which when you send it to the recruiter goes unnoticed.
You expect an interview call. You keep waiting. Eventually, you give up and apply elsewhere-to as many other positions as possible, but in vain.
Frustrating, ain’t it?
If that is you, I know it is painful.
But, if your resume is getting unnoticed, it is high time you understand the problem is not with the recruiter but with your resume.
It is high time you get a resume makeover!
I know you are thinking that there is a ton of advice out there regarding this already. But if you have followed it already, ask yourself-has it worked?
If it hasn’t, then follow along. I will give you some solid advice on making a killer resume (not a great one) that will turn into a sure shot interview ticket. And that is a promise.
If you wish to listen to the podcast instead of reading, here is the episode-
First things first, let’s understand the purpose of a resume.
A resume is an interview ticket. Period.
This is the most simple and apt purpose I have come across. If the document you have created as a resume serves any other purpose it is not a resume.
It is thus imperative you are mindful of the following 7 tips while making a killer resume.
#1: Don’t flaunt a multi-page resume
As a thumb rule, make a 1-Page resume. Whether you have no experience or 30 years of experience-doesn’t matter. Your resume, irrespective of your experience has to be 1-Page only.
Let’s look at how long a recruiter glances through your resume.
A few minutes, you say.
You’ll be shocked to hear the truth. The average time a recruiter spends on short-listing a resume is 20 seconds. Click To Tweet Not a fraction more.
- If you have a multi-page resume the 20 seconds gets split by the number of pages you have.
- If you can’t convey what you do/can do on one page, then there is a high possibility that you yourself aren’t clear of what you do/can do.
Here’s what you can do-
- Cut out the unnecessary fluff.
- Have a maximum of 3 points to explain your role in each organization. Apply the KISS (Keep it short and simple) formula.
- Talk about the result and not your day-to-day tasks. More on this in the section – talk about the result.
#2: Don’t project yourself as a generalist
You may be ready to do anything. Wonderful!
But let me give you an analogy.
If you have a fever, who do you go to? A general physician.
How much do you pay? ₹250, 300… ₹500 at max.
Now when you have a problem with your teeth, who do you visit? A dentist-a specialist who only deals with tooth-related problems.
And how much do you pay? A bomb.
Do you get the drift?
A specialist gets paid more than a generalist.
Everyone wants to hire specialists-at every level, be it beginner or manager or executive.
Your resume thus has to project you as a specialist. Not as a generalist ready to do everything that comes his way.
And here’s a way to go about it-
- Reflect on what you really want to do. What is your dream job?
- Then list down all the qualities you have to make that dream job possible.
- Shortlist the one that is the most relevant.
That’s the way to go.
Here’s how I went about it-
- I am a learning and development professional. I like to help others step up. I like to help them perform at their peak.
- I am good at training, coaching, understanding human behavior, understand the training life-cycle, and create a huge impact on the participants.
- So the 3 words that aptly define me are “Learning Interventions Specialist”
#3: Don’t make it all about yourself.
A resume is not the place where you brag about yourself. So no one is really bothered about what you are good at, what strengths you have, and so on.
People want to know what good you can do for the organization.
Here are 3 simple steps to go about it-
- List down all that you are good at.
- Think of how you can use these qualities/skills/strengths for the betterment of the organization.
- Keep only those that are relevant and orient them to showcase how you can add value.
For example, I am good at designing learning interventions-but what good can I do with that? If I were to train a bunch of leaders on negotiation skills, they can negotiate better with clients and generate business with better margins.
This eventually would lead to improved business. Great.
But don’t just stop at that. Take a step forward. Quantify.
I help organizations improve business margins by 10% by showing how business leaders can ace their negotiations.
#4: Don’t dwell in the past.
You must talk about your achievements you have had in the past.
But don’t really stay there.
Write these achievements in a way that, these can portray your readiness to take up the next role.
For doing so-
- You will need to be aware of what the new role demands. You can easily find it out from the job description.
- Of that lengthy document find out what the key elements that are a must.
- Then simply align your achievements with those key elements.
Ex. Proven capabilities to head the L&OD function. Headed the LnD initiatives for a mid-size organization with 28% improved learning engagement.
#5: Solve problems.
Why people hire others?
Let’s understand this with a simple example.
You want to put up a painting on the wall, you recently received as a gift.
You need to drill a couple of holes so you can fix the screws and hang the painting on the wall. What do you do?
You call for someone who has a drilling machine, get the hole drilled, fix the screws, hang the painting. And now that your work is done, you pay the person the money.
Essentially, you had a problem which the person solved. And that is the reason you did not mind paying the money, isn’t it?
Would you have paid the money if the person did not drill the hole for you and demanded the money?
But we do. We negotiate our salary before we have solved the organization’s problems!
To be in a better negotiation position, it thus becomes foundational to showcase your problem-solving skills in your resume.
Here’s how you can go about it-
- Don’t just talk about the projects/day-to-day tasks you have done.
- Focus on the big picture instead. What problem did you solve?
- Show how you solved the problem.
Ex. Cut down on the new managers hiring cost by 70% by training the first time managers to take up larger roles. 4 out of 10 managers were promoted.
In this example, the high recruiting cost was the problem. Which I solved by training the first time managers. The company spends a fraction of the hiring cost for training internal employees and could save 70% of the cost. The employees had higher morale because it encouraged internal promotions.
#6: Be highly concerned about results.
When you solve problems, you get the results. This point is actually a continuation of the previous one.
Be highly concerned about the results. And my above example perfectly shows how this can be done.
Cut down on the new managers hiring cost by 70% by training the first time managers to take up larger roles. 4 out of 10 managers were promoted.
They promote 4 managers out of 10 is an obvious indication that the training that they went through was effective. Moreover, I have also quantified the savings they had because 4 of them were promoted-a 70% saving in the hiring cost.
Quantification is the key.
Don’t talk of arbitrary results. Be specific. Quantify.
#7: Tell a story.
Last but not least, it is crucial to connect the dots.
And here’s how to go about doing it-
- Your expertise (that you defined in point # 2) will be the central theme of your story.
- For every point, you mention in your resume, ask yourself-Is this point connected to your expertise? Is this point helping you enhance your expertise? If yes, keep it. If not, consider not putting it in your resume.
- Connect the dots. In every role show that you have done better than the previous one.
And voila, you have a killer resume.
Let me tell you, killing it with a resume is not a one-time thing. It is an ongoing process. You need to keep improving it often.
If you are finding any of the above steps difficult and want my help in creating one, write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I would be more than glad to help.