Recently I've been recruiting for a number of roles for one of our clients. Based on the majority of applications we've seen to date, most would not progress through to the next stage based on their resume submission.
With close to twenty years recruiting experience, I thought I would share some advice on what you should be doing in terms of your resume.
Keep it simple and clean - most employers use software to capture your application in a database. Unfortunately the level of accuracy from provider to provider is highly variable. Resumes with plenty of formatting, tables, graphs, images typically don't copy well into the database. Have you ever noticed during an application that after uploading your resume and you are asked to verify your details that your career history and other detail is incorrect or incomplete? This is why. Now if you were applying to a marketing gig then you may want to ignore me completely here and get far more creative in your application remembering the software challenges.
To pic or not to pic - here in Australia it's not a requirement but in other countries there is a preference to a profile pic. My suggestion if you do use one is to use a nice professional image which is ideally a head shot or one of you perhaps at work in a related environment. Keep personal, social you out of the picture!
Qualifications - list all relevant, current qualifications, licences, certificates especially where these are listed in a job advertisement as mandatory. Even if it is a preferred or desirable requirement, list it if you have it. If you can, upload a copy with your application. We are not so interested if you hold a Guinness Book of Records for eating the most chillies in thirty seconds or that you completed the Avon Descent, although that would be pretty cool.
It's not how big it is - It's what's in it that counts. Your resume needs to address the role requirements and it needs to do so quickly and concisely. The average recruiter spends fifteen seconds looking at your resume and that's being generous. Highlight your achievements and successes. Summarise your experience and remove any experience which has no relevance to the role. (Example; If you're ten years into your career in aged care, we aren't interested that you worked casually at HJ's or the local Bottle-O during high school. If you're just starting out in your career, then sure keep that in). Another way to keep your resume short is where you have held similar roles with different employers. Do not list/repeat the same responsibilities for each employer. Been working for decades and can't keep it down to two or three pages? Make sure you address the requirements and summarise the resume to a maximum of three, four at a push. Make a note in the resume that a more detailed resume can be provided upon request.
Dear John - Actually my name is Stan, but what if I was Simone? If you are submitting a cover letter, make sure you are addressing it to the right person. Everyone loves a copy and paste, but make sure you are editing the important stuff. If you aren't being asked for a cover letter, I would recommend not providing one.
Hopefully these few tips will help improve your chances of moving to the next stage of the recruitment process. If you have more suggestions please feel free to share with our readers!