Applying for jobs is one of the worst things to have to do. It can be absolutely soul-crushing to spin out resumes to job after job only to be rejected or, more often than not, receive no reply at all. It seems to make no sense; you’re perfectly qualified, you have some relevant experience and this is your dream job, so why does no-one seem willing to take a chance on hiring you? It’s a vicious world.
The only thing you can realistically do is ensure that you’re sending off the best application you possibly can, a difficult feat when you need an employer to get to know you in such a short space. However, with these resume builder tips, hopefully we can help you to improve the snapshot that the employers get to see of you.
Keep it short and simple
Imagine you are an employer reading through resumes. The last thing you want to have to do is read page after page of a resume someone has sent you that details their career history, personal ambitions, work experience, a detailed list of their family members and their favourite ice cream flavours. Keep your short bio at the top as minimal as possible, delete any work experience that has become irrelevant (e.g. the pizza delivery you did illegally at 16) and halve the number of hobbies/ interests you have at the bottom. The more streamlined, the better. If it feels wrong to be deleting some of the information that feels relevant, make yourself a LinkedIn profile and provide a link to it on your resume; if they care enough about you as an applicant, they will probably take a look at it.
Resume builder tip #1: keep it short, ideally around 2 sides of A4.
Make it personal
Change your resume for each job you apply to. This is a tip that definitely feels counter-intuitive, and it’s also a time-heavy task. However, if you’re really serious about applying for a specific job, personalize your opening bio so that it’s specific to the role. Trying to get into marketing? Mention how marketing has become an ideal career path for you. Applying for a copywriting role? Express your love for spinning out as much copy as you possibly can. Want to be a dolphin trainer? Talk about why it is that you love abusing animals so much (I’ve just watched Blackfish; sue me.)
Resume builder tip #2: personalize each resume to the employer/ sector you’re sending it to.
Ensure your tone is confident, but not arrogant
It can be tricky to find the right tone of voice for resume writing. Employers want to see your natural charm and flair for language (or unnatural; they don’t need to know that) but they don’t want to see cocksure post-grads who think they’re owed the job because they got good grades. Be consistent and measured, being honest about where you need to learn more and talking dispassionately about the things you’ve done well; no-one likes a boaster.
Resume builder tip #3: show off your confidence and abilities without sounding like a dick.
This is by far the most important thing anyone can ever tell you when applying for jobs, especially as it seems to be generally accepted by many people: don’t bloody lie. No good can come from even mildly exaggerating a piece of information on your resume; if the employer asks about it and you come unstuck then you’re screwed or, even worse, if they hire you for that reason then ask you to do tasks you can’t do, you’re even more screwed. It’s far better to be honest and diligent, and try to be the best, realistic version of yourself. Honesty is far more valuable than a false promise.
Resume builder tip #4: be honest.