You may have heard the expression “first impression is the last impression,” which could not be more accurate than when it comes to job search. Your resume is your first impression for potential employers; it is a crucial determinant behind whether you will receive that call for an interview or not.
Often, the most prominent concern everyone has is the cost associated with getting a professional resume done. You might be thinking, “why don’t I just write my resume and save the money?” While that is something you could do, it may end up affecting you in the long run.
A professionally written resume can help you stand out from the crowd. It will highlight your accomplishments and even uncover your hidden skills and talents.
Professional Expertise: Resume writers are often HR consultants who have many years of experience in the industry and know what companies are looking for. You may have only written a resume a couple of times in your life, but resume writers write hundreds of resumes. They are well aware of the “Dos” and “Don’ts” of the industry and ensure your resume is up to code.
Demonstrates Your Value: Most people find it hard to brag about themselves. We tend to underestimate the things we do, thinking that “everyone does that.” This thought process often leads us to undersell ourselves. Professional writers give your skills and experience an objective perspective that can accurately explain your background and highlight your achievements.
Focus on Your Positives: Maybe you have large gaps in your employment history or have not held a long-term position in a while. A professionally done resume will draw attention away from that and pull focus towards your skills and accomplishments. They cannot make up experience you do not have but can revamp any issues to have a fair shot at the job.
Use Keywords: The majority of employers nowadays have Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) that scan your resume for keywords & formatting, and if your resume does not add up, it may never be seen. Resume writers are well versed in ATS and know what keywords to use and when. The reason you are not getting that call back could be because you are not using the right keywords. Resume writers help you bypass ATS so that your resume ends up in front of employers.
Unique to You: It may seem like a good idea to use an online template where you can enter your information and get a “cookie-cutter” resume, but employers see right through that. The thing is you are unique; no one has the same experiences or work history and employers must see that. By getting your resume professionally written, you can ensure that you are showcasing the best possible side of yourself and can stand behind your resume in confidence.
A professional resume is a long-term investment in yourself and if done right, you should only have to use it a couple of times in life. So, save yourself the time and stress and send in your resume today for a free consultation.
There is a difference between an annoying error that affects your chances and an outright howling mistake that gets your resume rejected outright. There are still a lot of mistakes people make that are easily fixable, either with patience or by involving professionals to do the heavy lifting for you.
We will be honest here – the best way to avoid making resume mistakes on your career documents is to engage a company like Select Resumes to do it for you. You can relax in the knowledge that it will be a professional, on-point, error-free accurate reflection of you and how you will be an asset to the company you are targeting. But just in case you would prefer to go it alone, here are some tips from the professionals.
Tips for an error-free resume
Although typos and grammatical errors are almost a thing of the past thanks to inbuilt software on all our PCs and proprietary software such as Grammarly, there are still industry nouns, locations and acronyms that people misspell. These are sometimes even worse than regular typos because they relate to the industry that you are meant to be an expert in, so that makes it doubly damaging to your chances.
Use positive language! So many people begin sentences with “Responsible for…”. This is simply saying what your employment duties are or were. It does not imply success in that duty. You need to expand on these points, take the extra effort to explain in detail what your accomplishments are — not what you were expected to accomplish.
Do not ramble – stay focussed and remember that your resume needs to show a progressive arc from start to finish. If there are positions that you took on that do not add anything to your story – leave them out. It is far better to have a gap that there are many good reasons for, than to put in a job that is irrelevant. Although, do not make the mistake of negating positions just because they are outside of your current or intended industry. Prior work may include work that although not in your industry, contains skills and experiences that are entirely congruent – these should stay!
You need to weave your personality into the resume. This can be tricky for some people to pull off without seeming self-conscious or false-sounding on paper, but it is vital that the recruiter get a sense of you – your passion for your work, your commitment to succeed. Use positive adjectives – but sparingly – when describing key achievements and your career outlook. These will go a long way in imparting a sense of you as an individual – vital for helping the HR manager make an informed decision.
At Select Resumes, we handle all this for you, plus we present the work in a clear, easy to read, professional format with an exclusive design template that gets you noticed. So whether you are just starting out, or are a seasoned worker looking to move up the career ladder, you need to recognize that your resume is an important document that cannot afford to fail you because of simple resume mistakes.
There’s a saying that success means doing what others won’t. And that’s especially true when it comes to resume writing.
Not to rattle your confidence, but it’s common for employers to receive over a hundred resumes for a single job opening. Plenty of them aren’t even from qualified candidates, but that still leaves a boatload of resumes.
With that much competition, how is it even possible to get the employer’s attention? By following three simple resume rules: Make your resumewell organized, error-free, and tailored to the job. Here’s what I mean:
Well Organized Your resume should present the information a hiring manager needs to know in a logical order with a clean, attractive layout that’s easy to skim. Suppress your flair for the unusual and dramatic. For experienced job seekers, place your summary of qualifications at the top, followed by a reverse-chronological listing of past employment, then education.
Error-Free Your resume is not just a list of your qualifications; it’s also assumed to be an example of your best, most careful work. A typo, inconsistent spacing, or any other flaw tells the hiring manager you’re not that attentive to detail. That’s a bad message to send. Eliminate all imperfections from your resume and enlist the help of at least one other person to proofread it.
Tailored to the Job No, you don’t have to write a new resume from scratch every time you apply for another job. But you should take your master resume and edit it slightly for every job. Tailor your summary of qualifications to use the same terminology, in the same order the employer used in the job posting.
For example, let’s say you’re applying for jobs in Facilities Maintenance, and you have experience in painting, carpentry, electrical, and plumbing. In addition to those qualifications, you might edit your resume as follows:
For a job at an apartment complex, emphasize your locksmith experience and your diplomacy in dealing with irate tenants.
For a nursing home job, highlight your commitment to keeping a clean, safe, quiet work area.
For a high-rise office building, add a line about your experience fulfilling computer-generated work orders.
And one other thing: If you add a well written cover letter that also follows these three rules, you have a great chance of finding yourself on the short list of interview-worthy candidates.
This is the interview question many of us dread. It’s so open-ended and we often feel clueless as to what the interviewer wants to hear. If you’re like a lot of people, you’ll find yourself suddenly tongue-tied when the question comes up. Or you might be one of those folks, like me, who tends to babble when nervous.
But it’s important to answer well because interviewers glean a lot from your reaction to this question. They’re looking for an enthusiastic answer, but also one that’s confident and confidence-inspiring. They want to know that you want the job not just because you need work, but because you feel you would be a good fit for this particular job. And most of all, they want to hear your own summary of what you have to offer.
It’s Not About You
The secret to acing this interview question is to make it about them, not about you.
What do I mean by this?
Too many candidates would answer this question by expressing their desire to work for the company. For example, a common answer is: “I’m very impressed by XYZ company’s rapid growth and I’d like to be help make the company even more successful.”
That’s a professional-sounding answer, but read it again and you’ll see that it’s all focused on the candidate’s needs and desires, and not on the company’s.
Your answer should be all about them
The interviewer isn’t interested in what you want. He’s not a bad person – he just doesn’t know you and therefore he doesn’t care. What’s important to him is the job he’s trying to fill. He wants to find the best possible candidate – the one who will add the most value to his team.
And this is why the ‘why should I hire you?’ question is such a valuable opportunity for you. It’s your best shot to summarize exactly why you would be the perfect fit for this job. Do it right and you’ll soon be settling in at your new desk.
Here’s how to get the answer just right
Prepare your answer before you arrive for the interview. You may never be asked it, but that’s OK. If the question comes up, you’ll have a ready answer.
In order to make it all about them, here are the steps to take:
1. Think about what skills, experiences or knowledge are important in this particular job? (clues will be in the job posting along with stuff you already know about the function or industry).
2. Identify which ones you have. (These are the magic buttons, the ones that – when pressed – will open the door to this job for you).
3. Choose the top 3 ‘magic buttons’ and write a sentence about each that explains what the skill or experience is, and why it is valuable to this company.
For example, “I know that you’re looking for someone with exceptional Google analytics skills, and I am considered the go-to expert on analytics in my current company. Even the senior executives count on me to interpret what’s happening with our web marketing.”
Next go on to your second skill like this:
“I also know that initiative is very important in the XYZ culture and several of my LinkedIn reviews describe how proactive I am, especially when faced with tough challenges.”
And then close with the third:
“Finally, I understand that you’re looking for someone who can jump right in without much training. This is something I’ve done consistently in all my jobs – I actually enjoy the challenge of learning a lot of stuff in a short time, and I’m never afraid to ask questions when I don’t know something.”
That’s “why should I hire you?” in 3 easy steps!
Do you see how easy and effective this can be? By doing some research upfront and following this simple planning process, you’ll be able to arm yourself with a powerful answer if and when the interviewer asks: “why should I hire you?”
In the old days, before we had email, we all used to mail our resumes off to potential employers. Along with the resume, we would attach a letter explaining why we were the right person for the position. Because this letter was generally attached to the front of the resume with a staple or paperclip, it became known as a cover letter.
Nowadays, it’s highly unlikely that you will ever need to mail a resume via postal service, but the tradition of the cover letter lives on. Only now, it is sent either as an email attachment with the resume, or pasted into the body of the email.
Do you need a cover letter?
Before I started my resume company, I used to manage HR departments and I saw a lot of cover letter during that time. The truth is that I rarely read them. I preferred to just skip straight to the resume. My boss, however, was a different story. He always read the cover letters and he put great store by them. This means that, although there there is a chance your letter will never be read, it may matter a great deal. You simply can’t risk not sending a good cover letter.
What goes in a cover letter?
An effective cover letter tells the employer one thing and one thing only: why he or she should interview you.
It’s the equivalent of your ‘elevator pitch’ and just like an elevator pitch, it should quickly get to the point. Its main purpose is to convey the following:
That you understand the nature of the job being advertised.
That you are qualified to do it exceptionally well.
That you are enthusiastic about doing it.
Let’s look at these one at a time:
1) You understand the nature of the job: You’d be amazed how many generic cover letters employers receive. One after another written by people who clearly use one letter for every opportunity. You can set yourself apart by showing that you have done your research and clearly understand what the employer is looking for. This is as easy as starting your resume with a sentence like this one: “Are you looking for a marketing manager who can think strategically but also roll up her sleeves and make things happen?” Or “I saw your recent posting for a marketing manager with both strategic and executional skills …” The words are less important than the fact that you read the posting and know what is needed.
2) You are qualified: Since you know what they need, you can now demonstrate that you fit the bill. Do this by outlining the aspects of your experience that directly relate to their needs. Carefully go through the job posting highlighting the key requirements and then use your letter to demonstrate that you can do the job. Let’s say X company is looking for a marketing manager with over 5 years of fashion industry experience a background in digital marketing. The ad also states that the person must be able to work in a fast-paced environment. You could say
“I have 8 years of marketing experience within the fashion industry and have created digital campaigns, websites, and social marketing strategies for leading brands such as Calvin Klein and Donna Karan. I thrive in fast-paced environments where change is a constant.”
3) You are excited about doing it: Make sure you express enthusiasm in your letter. This can be enthusiasm for the company (“I was excited to hear about this opportunity as I have always admired your approach to marketing”) or for the specific role (“I was excited to read about this position because I am passionate about social media and would like the opportunity to dedicate myself to building a powerful social presence.”) Just make sure that your enthusiasm is genuine as you may be asked about it in an interview. Nothing would be worse than facing an interviewer who asks “so what is it specifically that you admire about our approach to marketing?” and being able to come up with nothing!
How to address your cover letter
If you know the name of the recruiter or HR professional, you can address the letter to them by name. But in most cases you won’t have that information.
Therefore, I recommend starting the resume with one of the following:
“Dear Sir or Madam”
The common mistake that will ruin your cover letter (and your chances of an interview)
I read a lot of cover letters during my recruiting days and by far the most common and damaging mistake was forgetting to change the name of the company in the letter. For example, for a job with ABC Corp, the candidate might write “I am excited about this opportunity with XYZ Corp.” When they see this mistake, recruiters know that you are sending out multiple applications and have forgotten to edit the letter. It’s an easy mistake to make but it’s one that is rarely forgiven. Employers want to feel special. They want to know that you are keen on their particular opportunity rather than just needing a job.
So whatever you do, check and double check that you have personalized your letter correctly.
How to send your cover letter
You will most likely be submitting your resume online, either by email or via an online job posting. If sending your resume by email, I recommend pasting the cover letter into the body of the email and also attaching it as a separate document.
If you are attaching your resume to an online form and uploading it, it’s best to include your cover letter as part of the resume document rather than as a separate file. So just cut and paste your letter into your resume as page one.