Recently I was searching for a client’s resume within our database and realised we had more than 17,000 resumes, cover letters and government applications stored for clients. A business like ours does not produce that many job applications for clients without seeing a number of common issues. Most people will be surprised some of the simple errors that occur on a daily basis that can have an impact on whether an employer picks up the phone and calls you. Here are six simple things you can do today to your resume that will increase your chances of progressing to interview.
Up to Date Information: Everything changes. It is surprising the number of clients who present information that is out of date or not accurate. Check these areas today:
– Certificates and Training
– Employment history
Your resume may be required at short notice. This could include being made redundant and a manager requiring your resume for potential new positions or an employer calling. Be ready to supply your resume quickly. Regularly check your resume for any out of date information and make changes.
Missing Information: Just in the last week I have reworked two resumes for clients. The very first thing I noticed was no phone number. Unbelievable. Such a basic and simple error may make the difference between an interview or not. When employers are faced with hundreds of applications taking the additional time to reply to emails or track down your phone number could be one step too far. Make sure your contact details are easy to find and clear to read.
On the topic of phone contact I recently rang a client to gather further information. Their phone message went something like this “I don’t check messages so don’t leave one, call back another time”. I was stunned. If I was an employer I would think it is extremely unlikely I would leave a message or call back. Make sure you have a greeting that is friendly, professional and appropriate for a job search.
Font: Using a different colour, size or type of font is very distracting to a reader. It also impacts on your presentation. Make sure that you check throughout the document to ensure consistent size, colour and type of font. Look out for high risk areas such as adding new information or cutting and pasting from other documents.
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Capital Letters: The range of errors and issues associated with capital letters is mind-boggling. Here are just a few to check:
– “In my role as Managing Director…” – Incorrect
– Private, Australian Army – Correct
– “As a member of the Department…” – Incorrect
– “I am a valuable member of the Safety Team…” – Incorrect
The reality is you have limited knowledge on your employer and their understanding of grammatical correctness. Do not give a potential employer any opportunity to file your resume in the rubbish bin. Make sure capital letters are used appropriately. This is a common mistake that is distracting to readers and shows a lack of proofreading and editing.
Layout: Did you recently update your resume? Microsoft Word pushes information down the page as you add in additional material. Each time you update your resume scroll through and check that information is not left hanging over pages. Create page breaks or move information to ensure everything remains professional and well presented.
Before Electricity: How far back does your resume go? It is typical for people to continually update their resume and build on material without considering the age or relevance of previous positions. Typically an employer is interested in your most recent experience including the last five years. As your employment history progresses past this point look for opportunities to minimise content and reduce information. Exceptions to this rule include where a particular position may be relevant to your current application. Otherwise a simple list of positions and years will be sufficient to demonstrate your extensive experience in that sector. Keep your resume focused, up-to-date and relevant.
Once again we are faced with a challenging and tight job market. A contraction within the mining sector has seen increased number of applicants for entry-level positions and trade roles. Across the economy companies and departments are receiving record numbers of applications. Be ready to apply for jobs at short notice and make sure your resume is relevant, up-to-date and professionally presented.
Best of luck in applying for positions.