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How to write a stand out resume

By October 25, 2022No Comments
Karan & Co resume tips

Do you know they say on average that a recruiter shortlisting spends no more than 6-7 seconds reviewing your resume?

Research has been done through eye-tracking studies to determine the amount of time you’ll get in the hot seat during the hiring process, and it’s quite limited for the amount of effort that goes into the process!

A few people I’ve been working with lately in their job search have asked-how do I write a resume that is going to grab the attention of a recruiter or hiring manager when I have so much experience and ground to cover? Where do I start?

A lot of people think that the more experience you have, the easier it is to write a resume, but I’ve often found that not to be the case. In fact, condensing a resume and focusing on the right points is just as key in the hiring process.

Here’s a few things to consider when writing a resume:

1. Read the job criteria
The company will always list in their points here what they are looking for and use those keywords in your resume. Often the person reviewing your resume may be working across 40 different roles so don’t assume that they are an expert in your field. Make it easy for them by using some of the keywords in the role requirement. If artificial intelligence is reviewing your resume that’s going to be a big thing too (let’s hope not!).

2. Play to your strengths
I recently had a Senior Director who had strong legal qualifications, an MBA, and multiple relevant studies for his position. His education was a strength to be showcased. He googled it and thought that his education should be on the last page. Each resume needs to be unique to the strengths of the person applying. There is no one size fits all. You need to really be clear about the strengths that you bring to a role and highlight that in the resume.
I also recently spoke to a company looking for a graphic designer who lamented that the resumes they received were basic and that people applying weren’t using their graphic design skills to do a winning resume. If you have that skill and it’s part of the role, that’s when you can use it to stand out.

3. Your resume is an elevator pitch
Think of it this way – do you really think someone is going to be able to read all 7 pages of your highly detailed resume when they may have another 20 to screen for that role? Probably not. A resume is not just a chronological review of your experience. You can use Linked In for that. It’s a sell. It’s an elevator pitch for what you offer. As a rule of thumb, no more than 4 pages, and then, for jobs that are early in your career, just list the name of the company and the position. No duties are required unless they are relevant to the earlier roles.

4. Keep it concise
No more than 5 dot points when you overview your roles and responsibilities for a role. Look at it as an overarching view of your experience. As an example, as a project manager, you may condense it down to key areas you are responsible for, such as mentoring, planning, financial reporting, scheduling, and HSEQ management, and write a little description of each. Also, if you are in engineering and construction, share the projects and their dollar value—it helps us determine what size projects you are adept at managing.

5. Celebrate your achievements
When putting in your experience and skills, add a little section for your achievements. We love to see that you made a great margin on a project for your company, brought in new revenue from clients, or implemented a new procurement project. Whatever it is you achieved-highlight it and celebrate it!

Resumes have come a long way over time.  They have really evolved in line with digital times and potentially a society with a shorter attention span.

We hope this article gives you some tips and tricks to write a resume for your next opportunity and that you feel confident highlighting what you have on offer to your next employer. Make them know they’d be lucky to have you from the moment they open that resume!

Lauren Karan

Lauren Karan

Lauren has over 12 years’ experience as a Technical and Engineering specialist recruiting in the building and civil construction markets. She holds a degree in psychology, accreditation in behavioural interviewing and psychometric testing and is also a certified organisational coach. Lauren is the Director, Recruitment Specialist, Certified Organisational Coach of Karan & Co.