Resume Check-List – Proof Your Resume Before Applying
Job hunting is competitive. You need to find every advantage you can in order to ensure that when you send in your resume, you are positioning yourself as the best possibly candidate for that role. Accordingly, at the point at which you find a role you want to apply for, proofing your resume with these 11 steps is something you want to consider before you send off an application to the recruiter.
We have collected some responses to some of the more common questions that people need to think about prior to submitting a resume for a job.
“Can I confirm that I meet the majority of the qualifications for the position?”
Unless you are applying for a technical role where a specific technical qualification is mandatory in order to undertake the role, in most cases it is acceptable to meet most, but not necessarily all of the qualifications listed by the prospective employer.
Its important to note that all to often job descriptions are copied from the internet, or written by people who don’t fully understand the role. Your clue as to whether this is a good fit for you will be in the technical requirements. Take the time to work your way through their list of specific requirements, and if you meet at least three quarters of them then you are ready for your application.
“Do I need to make sure that the resume aligns to the position description?”
These days’ employers expect to see resumes that are tailored specifically to the vacant position. Gone are the days of the career objective or career profile. Nobody cares about soft skills such as “attention to detail”, “Communication” or your “desire to contribute to a great organization”.
Now you need to focus on presenting a set of strong summary statements that highlight your experience as it relates to the position you are applying for. What do you bring to the table, how can you solve my problems by filling this role.
“Have I made any errors?”
A resume is a working document and each time you apply for a job you will have made several rounds of edits. This leaves you open to making errors that you are unlikely to pick up on first glance. Edit after Edit will leave you open to spelling errors and formatting mistakes. To overcome this and save yourself the embarrassment of submitting an application that is peppered with mistakes, take the time to ask someone to proof-read the document for you. Simple but nobody does it.
“Who will I send it to?”
If the job advertisement does not list a contact person, then take a little time to search the web or call the organization and find out the name of the person who is receiving the applications. This might be the Human Resource Manager, the Manager who will supervise the position, or even an external recruiter. In some cases it will be a recently hired grad or even an intern. Check the spelling and make sure any salutations, names and titles are typed accurately. When you address a person by name be sure that the resume and email will be read in more detail then one that states “to whom it may concern“.
“Should I use jargon?”
Forget the buzz words, common terms and key phrases. These days’ employers look right through the same old jargon and language. After reading though about 300 resumes per day I can tell you who copied a job description. Employers are looking for real statements that accurately reflect what you have to offer. Accordingly, omit statements such as team player and instead make key statements such as “worked effectively with colleagues in order to…” and then make a statement about an achievement you have contributed to.
“Should I include my career achievements?”
It is easy and even a little lazy to just list the tasks you have completed in your previous jobs. Anybody can complete tasks, you will stand out if you go the extra mile and think about some of the key achievements you attained in each role. Think about projects you worked on, improvements you implemented or goals you met. This will allow employers to see your ability to achieve results and not merely turn up each day.
“Are my contact details listed and correct?”
It is common for employers to receive resumes that contain no, or incorrect contract details. Make sure that your phone number, email and address are listed and current and included in the header or footer of each page. Also get a professional email, no matter how good your resume is sending an email to johncool234@ is not that cool.
“Have I complied with their application instructions?”
Job advertisements will often list a set of application requirements. Make sure you re-read those instructions and can include the information they ask for and use the format they require. If you don’t, you may run the risk of not having your application considered.
I used to do this in roles that requires a great attention to detail. I would ask for a cover letter for example and only a fraction of the applications included one.
“Will my resume pass the screening phase?”
Many large and public sector organizations use applicant screening software that looks for keywords contained in resumes. Resumes that include relevant terms matching the job will be shortlisted. Those that don’t will be rejected and never reach interview stage. For some reason every career article will make a big deal about this its simple really. If you are applying for a sales position make sure to use the word “sales” in your resume.
Also trying to submit a PDF resume to a database can have its issues and the resume does not get parsed correctly with most candidate management systems. Use a .doc format when saving and you will be fine.
“Would I shortlist myself?”
Take a moment to critically reflect on your application. The reason that most people complain about sending a resume after resume and not get a response is because applicants don’t take the time to tailor their resume to the job description. If the answer is in the negative, then take some time to tailor your resume before you send it off.
Having worked through this set of questions, you should be in a position to submit a competitive application. Don’t waste any time; get started now.