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Last Updated on June 25, 2019

A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

A Dull Resume Can Kill Your Job Chances, Here’s How You Can Write an Appealing One

Fun fact: Recruiters take only 6 seconds to view a resume, according to The Ladders[1]. In other words, to further show how you’re a strong candidate of your dream job, first you can’t fail to impress the recruiters with your resume in 6 seconds. So, think twice before you insert a dense block of words. Leave aside any irrelevant visuals. Still confused? Here, we will show you what to do to stand out from your competitors.

We Think It’s Good to Write Our Resumes in These Ways (But Actually It’s Not…)

The More, The Better

It is common for us to think the best way to impress the recruiters is listing all our accomplishments in life. So we select the narrowest margin and the smallest font size. We just try every possible way to put everything about ourselves in our resumes. Well, it may sound bit dramatic but the fact is more doesn’t mean better.

As suggested by J.T. O’Donnell, author of the book Careerealism: The Smart Approach to a Satisfying Career, it is an EPIC FAIL to get everything to fit on one page.

Myth of “Reference Upon Request”

We should sound polite and humble in the resume and we are well aware of it. That’s why most of us put “Reference upon request” in our resumes. But if the employers are curious about your references, they will look for them themselves. To be frank, it is a waste of space to put these words at the very end.

Irrelevant Working Experience

Just imagine you’re now applying for the post of auditor and under “Working Experience” you write “Employee of the Month at Cafe ABC”. Will this earn bonus marks for you? Not really.

While we think the recruiters would favour the candidates with more working experience, from their perspective, they may wonder if you’re creating a general template for the application of different kinds of jobs, and even question your sincerity and ability.

Never Underestimate the Power of Your One-Page Resume

Resumes determine your chance to be selected for interviews. There are a number of qualities employers are looking at in your resume. Education Background. Working Experience. Achievements. But what do all these mean to them?

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Introduce you a key term: Employability. Employability is more than ability, competence and skills. And your resume reflects your employability.

It’s not a rare case that when two people with highly similar qualifications apply for a position, only one of them is selected to attend the interview. It’s how they present their qualification in their resumes that makes the difference!

A well-written resume can let the employers know you are the one they are looking for, rather than you are just one of the hundreds qualified for the job.

Resume demonstrates your written and presentation skills. Whether you can describe yourselves in a concise, organised yet impressive way can tell a lot more than the qualifications you have. This is part of what an employer will look at, and you may not even notice that.

6 Elements that Form the Killer Formula of Your Resume

1. Quantify Your Achievements

How? Describe your achievements in numbers, instead of words. And it’s not about how many points you include, but how the numbers reflect your contribution in your previous jobs.

Why? Only you know how much you achieve in your previous jobs. It’s difficult for recruiters to find it themselves. Thus, do them a favour by providing the figures and numbers that quantify your previous achievements. This is definitely better than recounting the job responsibilities of your previous jobs.

Example Mention the exact number of participants in the event your held. Or the amount of money involved in the campaign. If you are applying for a marketing position, talk about the view count of the project instead of vague and general expressions like “excellent reception”.

2. Properly Use the Magical Buzzwords

How? You can actually do a little trick to impress your employer by the use of buzz words. Do a short research in advance before submitting your resume.

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Check out the words that appear the most in the company’s description, vision or mission. And then use these words to replace the stock phrases in your resume.

Why? Ever heard of like-attracts-like theory[2]? Using words that they like to use can greatly arouse their interest on you as they think you share similar beliefs with them. Although you only change a few words on your resume, your odds of getting an interview may increase a lot.

Example Understand the company’s values and include similar ideas in your self-description to show you’re a potential best fit for the organization.

Besides, buzzword techniques can be used in different fields. While applying for a marketing position, use field-specific words like “marketed” and “promoted” to demonstrate your marketing sense.

There are always words that are specifically used in certain fields. Playing a tiny word game may win you a ticket to the interview!

3. Associate Yourself with Big Names

How? If, by any chance, you have collaborated with any big brands (even with the slightest connection), put those names on your resume!

Why? It’s the power of authority. Your credibility and competence are immediately boosted when you are connected with a big name.

According to Cialdini’s principles of persuasion[3], people respect authority and would follow their lead. Associating yourself with big names can work as a proof of your capability.

Example Is any client of your campaign a world-renowned brand? Is the sponsor of your scholarship a big name? Is your publication featured in any popular media? If your answer to any of these questions is yes, don’t hesitate to put the names on your resume. You won’t believe how much it helps to boost your credibility.

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4. Provide Description of Where You Worked Before

How? Sometimes, the recruiters may be unfamiliar with your old companies. Why don’t you offer a helping hand instead of having them look for the information themselves? Write a neat and concise description of your previous companies and spare the work for the recruiters.

Why? The title “Manager” can mean a lot differently in a large company and a small one. Employers are curious about the nature of your previous companies to know more about your working background and the work you were involved. Besides, it shows you are detail-minded and consider the needs of the readers of your resume.

Example Simply go to the “About Us” of the home page of your previous workplace and rephrase one or two lines from it. This will do the work.

5. Use Bullet-point Instead of Text Blocks

How? List your job duties in points instead of in paragraphs. Moreover, it is also nice to limit your number of points to 2-5. Only keep the important and relevant information on your resume.

Why? Still remember the 6-second rule? Within this limited period of time, it is impossible for the recruiters to grasp the gist of your resume from your sea of words. Making your resume too wordy actually affects its readability.

Example

WRONG – “I worked as the Public Relations Manager at Company ABC during the period X Aug 20XX to X Mar 20XX. I was responsible for handling public correspondences. I was involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

GOOD – “Public Relations Manager, Company ABC X Aug 20XX – X Mar 20XX

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– Handling public correspondences

– Involved in a campaign in collaboration with the …”

6. Make Use of Space and Formatting to Draw Attention

How? There is always something you want the recruiters to focus more. A carefully planned layout can draw their attention to the points you want to highlight. Leave some space around the important points.

Why? We all know recruiters won’t spend much time on reading a resume. And they may feel numb after reading hundreds of similar resumes. So keep yours pleasant to read and feed the recruiters with the most valuable information. Don’t waste their time and they will reward you with what you deserve.

Example Prioritise information based on their relevance and noteworthiness. Leave the less crucial and conspicuous information at the later part of your resume. Proper formatting can also help highlight the important points. It can be done by italicising or bolding certain words. Did you pay more attention to the words with formatting in this article? Apply the techniques in your resume and see how they work then.

Nice Resume Examples

Lastly, we’ve prepared some good resume templates for you to follow. If you are struggling hard to begin, it may be the ideal place for you.

    Credits to: AGCareers

    • Note the use of quantification of achievements and bullet-points.

      Credits: BusinessInsider

      Reference

      More by this author

      Jeffrey Lau

      Editor. Sport Lover. Animal Lover.

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      Last Updated on December 10, 2019

      How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

      How to Stay Motivated and Reach Your Big Goals in Life

      It is hardly a secret that the key to successfully accomplishing one goal after another is staying motivated. There are, of course, tasks which successful people may not like at all, yet they find motivation to complete them because they recognize how each particular task serves a greater goal.

      So how to stay motivated most of the time? Here are 5 simple yet effective ways on how to stay motivated and get what you want:

      1. Find Your Good Reasons

      Anything you do, no matter how simple, has a number of good reasons behind it.

      You may not be able to find good reasons to do some tasks at first but, if you take just a few moments to analyze them, you will easily spot something good. We also have many tasks which don’t need any reasoning at all – we’ve been doing them for so long that they feel natural.

      If you’re ever stuck with some tasks you hate and there seems to be no motivation to complete it whatsoever, here’s what you need to do: find your good reasons.

      Even when you set goals, there needs to be reasons behind these goals. They may not be obvious, but stay at it until you see some, as this will bring your motivation back and will help you finish the task.

      Some ideas for what a good reason can be:

      • A material reward – quite often, you will get paid for doing something you normally don’t like doing at all.
      • Personal gain – you will learn something new or will perhaps improve yourself in a certain way.
      • A feeling of accomplishment – at least you’ll be able to walk away feeling great about finding the motivation and courage to complete such a tedious task.
      • A step closer to your bigger goal – even the biggest accomplishments in history have started small and relied on simple and far less pleasant tasks than you might be working on. Every task you complete brings you closer to the ultimate goal, and acknowledging this always feels good.

      2. Make It Fun

      When it comes to motivation, attitude is everything. Different people may have completely opposite feelings towards the same task: some will hate it, others will love it.

      Why do you think this happens? It’s simple: some of us find ways to make any task interesting and fun to do!

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      Take sports for example. Visiting your local gym daily for a half-an-hour workout session sounds rather boring to some. Yet many others love the idea!

      They like exercising not only because they recognize the good reasons behind it, but simply because it’s fun! At certain time of their daily schedule, they find going to gym to be the best thing to do, simply because nothing else will fit their time and lifestyle so perfectly.

      Depending on how you look at it, you can have fun doing just about anything! Just look for ways of having fun, and you’ll find them!

      A simple approach is to start working on any task by asking yourself a few questions:

      • How can I enjoy this task?
      • What can I do to make this task fun for myself and possibly for others?
      • How can I make this work the best part of my day?

      As long as you learn to have the definite expectation of any task being potentially enjoyable, you will start to feel motivated.

      Some of you will probably think of a thing or two which are valid exceptions from this statement, like something you always hate doing no matter how hard you try making it fun. You’re probably right, and that’s why I don’t claim everything to be fun.

      However, most tasks have a great potential of being enjoyable, and so looking for ways to have fun while working is definitely a good habit to acquire.

      3. Change Your Approach And Don’t Give Up

      When something doesn’t feel right, it’s always a good time to take a moment and look for a different approach for the task.

      You may be doing everything correctly and most efficiently, but such approach isn’t necessarily the most motivating one. Quite often, you can find a number of obvious tweaks to your current approach which will both change your experience and open up new possibilities.

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      That’s why saying “one way or another” is so common — if you really want to accomplish your goal, there is always a way; and most likely, there’s more than one way.

      If a certain approach doesn’t work for you, find another one, and keep trying until you find the one which will both keep you motivated and get you the desired results.

      Some people think that trying a different approach means giving up. They take pride in being really stubborn and refusing to try any other options on their way towards the goal.

      My opinion on this is that the power of focus is great, but you should be focusing on your goal, and not limiting your options by focusing on just one way to accomplish it it.

      4. Recognize Your Progress

      Everything you may be working on can be easily split into smaller parts and stages. For most goals, it is quite natural to split the process of accomplishing them into smaller tasks and milestones. There are a few reasons behind doing this, and one of them is tracking your progress.

      We track our progress automatically with most activities. But to stay motivated, you need to recognize your progress, not merely track it.

      Here’s how tracking and recognizing your progress is different:

      Tracking is merely taking a note of having reached a certain stage in your process. Recognizing is taking time to look at a bigger picture and realize where exactly you are, and how much more you have left to do.

      For example, if you’re going to read a book, always start by going through the contents table. Getting familiar with chapter titles and memorizing their total number will make it easier for you to recognize your progress as you read. Confirming how many pages your book has before starting it is also a good idea.

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      You see, reading any book you will be automatically looking at page numbers and chapter titles, but without knowing the total number of pages, this information will have little meaning.

      Somehow, it is human nature to always want things to happen in short term or even at once. Even though we split complex tasks into simpler actions, we don’t quite feel the satisfaction until all is done and the task is fully complete.

      For many scenarios though, the task is so vast that such approach will drain all the motivation out of you long before you have a chance to reach your goal. That’s why it is important to always take small steps and recognize the positive different and progress made. This is how your motivation can sustain in long term.

      5. Reward Yourself

      This is a trick everyone likes: rewarding yourself is always pleasant. This is also one of the easiest and at the same time most powerful ways to stay motivated!

      Feeling down about doing something? Dread the idea of working on some task? Hate the whole idea of working? You’re not alone.

      Right from the beginning, agree on some deliverables which will justify yourself getting rewarded. As soon as you get one of the agreed results, take time to reward yourself in some way.

      For some tasks, just taking a break and relaxing for a few minutes will do.

      For others, you may want to get a fresh cup of coffee and even treat yourself a dessert.

      For even bigger and more demanding tasks, reward yourself by doing something even more enjoyable, like going to a cinema or taking a trip to some place nice, or even buying yourself something.

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      Your progress may not seem to others like anything worth celebrating but, take time and do it anyway! It is your task and your reward, so any ways to stay motivated are good.

      The more you reward yourself for the honestly made progress, the more motivated you will feel about reaching new milestones, thus finally accomplishing your goal.

      Mix and Match

      Now that you have these five ways of staying motivated, it is a good moment to give you the key to them all: mix and match!

      Pick one of the techniques and apply it to your situation. If it doesn’t work, or if you simply want to get more motivated, try another technique right way. Mix different approaches and match them to your task for the best results.

      Just think about it: Finding good reasons to work on your task is bound to helping you feel better; and identifying ways to make it fun will help you enjoy the task even more.

      Or, if you plan a few points for easier tracking of your progress and on top of that, agree on rewarding yourself as you go; this will make you feel most motivated about anything you have to work through.

      More to Boost Your Motivation

      Featured photo credit: Lucas Lenzi via unsplash.com

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