10 Easy Tips to Jazz up Your Job Application
Todays post is going to be all about how to jazz up your existing resume to get your foot in the door at your dream job. There are hundreds of ways for you to do this, but I’m assuming you want something quick and easy that won’t take a lot of time. Here are my top 10 favourite ways to make a big impact without devoting a week to the process:)
Target your resume! It should be tailor-made for the job you are applying for. If you only follow one tip from this list, choose this one. Check out the following case study. “Natalie had spent most of her career working in Child Protection as a Case Worker but had also worked for a number of temp agencies, doing casual hospitality and admin work when she wanted to earn some extra cash. Four months into her pregnancy, her husband received a transfer and they relocated. Natalie still wanted to work but didn’t want a full time position. She was looking for a casual job, with no stress, in hospitality, retail or customer service – a position where she could just do her work and go home. She sent out a very professional resume, which highlighted all her career achievements and professional history, to a number of employers. She was judged as ‘overqualified’ or received no response at all. She decided to change her resume. She took out all her achievements, changed the format to simple black and white and listed her temp jobs first. At the end of her resume, she listed her employment history with dates and titles – but no descriptions. It worked. She was offered a casual job in a call centre within the week.”
Write a ‘Professional Profile’ section in your resume. Place it immediately after your personal details as a quick snapshot of your professional skills. Use it instead of ‘Objective’ in order to focus on what you will contribute, rather than what you want from the company.
For example: “Experienced call centre operative with excellent communication skills and a passion for customer service; computer literate with the ability to operate multiple switchboards and internal programs; regularly praised by management for exceeding call handling and customer service targets”.
Use the correct layout on your resume. For example, if you are a recent graduate with no relevant work history, list your education and qualifications first. If you have broad work experience but lack the educational qualifications for the position you are applying for, list your professional history before your educational details.
Remove any character references. If have a professional history, a list of only character references will make the employer wonder why your previous employers aren’t willing to speak for you. If you don’t have professional references to list, simply write ‘References available on request’. If you are impressive in the interview, then you can explain why you have only character references. The only exception to this is if you are still in or have just left high school.
Use bullet points. When you are writing job descriptions, avoid lengthy paragraphs. Make your resume as easy to read as possible. Employers with more than 200 applications to wade through love anything easy to read.
Change the format on your resume. Using MS Word, go to Home, then Styles, from where you can browse and preview Headings and Subtitles until you find a style you are happy with. Choose from formal, modern, fancy and more. Hint: for resumes, less is more.
Add matching borders to your resume, cover letter and selection criteria to create a uniform appearance. You can do it easily: in MS Word go to Page Layout, then Page Borders. Suggestion: ‘Box’ borders with a 3pt solid line in black.
Use 11 or 12-point size font for your resume and cover letter content. The only exception to this is if the employer is asking you to address 8 selection criteria points in a one-page cover letter. In that case, you can use 10 point to fit more in but never use anything smaller.
Avoid fancy fonts. You have probably heard this one many times but standard fonts like New Times Roman are fine. Sometimes people are tempted to jazz up their resumes by using decorative fonts. Don’t do it. It affects readability and doesn’t look professional.
Use italics and underline sparingly. Both affect readability so use them only on titles or important pieces of information. When in doubt, bold is better.
Have you used these tips before? Which of these tips will you be implementing? Let me know in the comments section