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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 October 16, 2019

      Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

      Invaluable Lessons You Can Learn From Your Mistakes

      Do you like making mistakes?

      I certainly don’t.

      Making mistakes is inevitable. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be at ease with them?

      Perhaps there is a way to think of them differently and see their benefits.

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      Why Mistakes Feel Dangerous

      Mistakes often feel dangerous. Throughout human history, our errors have often been treated as dangerous for a variety of reasons:

      • Our vulnerability. We have limited and fragile support systems. When those systems fail, people often lose their lives.
      • Real dangers. Nature can be dangerous, and making mistakes can put us at the mercy of nature and its animal residents seeking a meal.
      • Ignorance. Many cultures scapegoats someone whenever there is a failure of some kind. Scapegoating can be serious and deadly.
      • Order. Many societies punish those who do not conform to the prevailing orthodoxy and treat difference and non-conformity as a mistake. Even our brains flash an error message whenever we go against prevailing social norms.

      We have a history of handling mistakes and failure in an unpleasant way. Since each of us carries our human history with us, it can be a challenge to overcome the fear of making mistakes.

      If we can embrace the reality of mistakes, we can free ourselves to be more creative in our lives and dig up some interesting insights.

      Why We Can’t Avoid Making Mistakes

      Many people operate under the notion that making mistakes is an aberration, a mistake if you will. You can call it perfectionism but it is a more substantial problem. It is really a demand for order and continuity.

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      When we think we can eliminate mistakes, we are often working from a perspective that sees the world as a fixed place. The world, however, is not so obliging. Like it or not, the world, and everything in it, is constantly changing.

      Change is more constant and pervasive than we can see with our own eyes which is why we often miss it. Our bodies are constantly changing. The natural conditions of the earth change constantly as well. Everything, including economic and cultural systems have life cycles. Everything is in a constant state of flux.

      We cannot see all of the changes going on around us since rates of change vary. Unfortunately, when we try to create a feeling of certainty and solidity in our lives or operate from the illusion of stability and order, we are fighting reality and our natural evolution which is built on adapting to change.

      It is better to continually bend into this reality rather than fight every change we experience. Fighting it can cause us to make more mistakes. Finding the benefits in change can be useful and help us minimize unnecessary mistakes.

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      Lessons Learned from Making Mistakes

      Life has so many uncertainties and variables that mistakes are inevitable. Fortunately, there are many things you can learn from making mistakes.

      Here is a list of ways to harness the mistakes you make for your benefit.

      1. Point us to something we did not know.
      2. Reveal a nuance we missed.
      3. Deepen our knowledge.
      4. Tell us something about our skill levels.
      5. Help us see what matters and what does not.
      6. Inform us more about our values.
      7. Teach us more about others.
      8. Let us recognize changing circumstances.
      9. Show us when someone else has changed.
      10. Keep us connected to what works and what doesn’t work.
      11. Remind us of our humanity.
      12. Spur us to want to better work which helps us all.
      13. Promote compassion for ourselves and others.
      14. Teach us to value forgiveness.
      15. Help us to pace ourselves better.
      16. Invite us to better choices.
      17. Can teach us how to experiment.
      18. Can reveal a new insight.
      19. Can suggest new options we had not considered.
      20. Can serve as a warning.
      21. Show us hidden fault lines in our lives which can lead us to more productive arrangements.
      22. Point out structural problems in our lives.
      23. Prompt us to learn more about ourselves.
      24. Remind us how we are like others.
      25. Make us more humble.
      26. Help us rectify injustices in our lives.
      27. Show us where to create more balance in our lives.
      28. Tell us when the time to move on has occurred.
      29. Reveal where our passion is and where it is not.
      30. Expose our true feelings.
      31. Bring out problems in a relationship.
      32. Can be a red flag for our misjudgments.
      33. Point us in a more creative direction.
      34. Show us when we are not listening.
      35. Wake us up to our authentic selves.
      36. Can create distance with someone else.
      37. Slow us down when we need to.
      38. Can hasten change.
      39. Reveal our blind spots.
      40. Are the invisible made visible.

      Reframe Reality to Handle Mistakes More Easily

      The secret to handling mistakes is to:

      • Expect them as part of the process of growth and development.
      • Have an experimental mindset.
      • Think in evolutional rather than fixed terms.

      When we accept change as the natural structure of the world, our vulnerability and humanness lets us work with the ebb and flow of life.

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      When we recognize the inevitability of mistakes as part of the ongoing experiment which life is, then we can relax more. In doing so we may make fewer of them.

      It also helps to keep in mind that trial and error is an organic natural way of living. It is how we have evolved over time. It is better to be with our natural evolution than to fight it and make life harder.

      When we adopt an evolutional mindset and see ourselves as part of the ongoing human experiment, we can appreciate that all that has been built up over time which includes the many mistakes our ancestors have made over thousands of years. Each one of us today is a part of that human tradition of learning and experimenting,

      Mistakes are part of the trial and error, experimental nature of life. The more you adopt the experimental, evolutional frame, the easier it becomes to handle mistakes.

      Handling mistakes well can help you relax and enjoy all aspects of life more.

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      Featured photo credit: Sarah Kilian via unsplash.com

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