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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

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      Last Updated on August 7, 2018

      14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

      14 Powerful Leadership Traits That All Great Leaders Have

      Being a leader of a company or organization is certainly a difficult and often frustrating position – but it can also be tremendously rewarding.

      Whether you’re just starting out as a leader, or have been leading for a while, you’ll be sure to benefit from knowing the essential traits that all great leaders possess.

      Effective and successful leaders transcend the title of ‘manager’ or ‘boss’. They’ve found a way to achieve the perfect combination of charisma, enthusiasm and self-assurance (with a healthy dose of luck and timing probably added to the mix).

      It may seem like some people are gifted with leadership skills, but the truth is most leadership traits can be learned, adopted, and strengthened with time and practice.

      As we delve into the list of effective leadership traits, you will learn the behaviors and attitudes of a good leader.

      The 14 most important leadership traits

      Please read through the list of leadership qualities carefully. Take note of which of the traits you excel at – and which ones you need to work at.

      Traits for better self-development

      1. Vision and mission

      Having a clear picture of what needs to be achieved is a crucial quality of good leadership.

      This vision is often communicated in a mission statement, such as this one from Starbucks:

        How to develop vision? Spend time pinpointing what you need to achieve, and then plan the steps to get there. Here’s a complete guide on creating your own vision.

        2. Self-motivated

        It’s no coincidence that successful leaders have an abundance of self-motivation.

        Without a decent level of self-motivation, you’ll struggle to become a strong and respected leader. However, if you don’t have a lot of self-motivation right now, don’t despair.

        One of the secrets is to have definite goals to keep you motivated at all times. Some people also choose to reward themselves every time they achieve a goal, and this is certainly a good way to keep yourself enthused and motivated. Learn how to set an ambitious yet achievable goal here.

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        3. Optimism and positivity

        Positive energy is contagious. Great leaders are overflowing with this type of energy.

        Not only does a positive mindset make leaders easy to work with, but it also gives them a constant source of inspiration and ideas.

        Tap into this energy by aligning yourself with positive people and positive goals. Find out more about the habits of positive people here.

        4. Emotional stability

        In leadership positions, frustration and stress are daily occurrences. This is why leaders need to have strong and stable emotions. They can’t allow themselves to be easily knocked off track.

        If you’re prone to losing your emotional stability when stressed or frustrated, try some of these techniques: breath deeply and slowly for 30 seconds, go for a walk, drink some water (instead of tea or coffee), turn your focus onto something you can resolve. Here’re some effective ways to control your emotions.

        5. Self-confidence

        Watch a presentation by any CEO and you’ll see that even if they’re not natural presenters – they make up for this by having powerful self-confidence.

        It’s not just CEOs who have self-confidence, any successful leader will have this trait in abundance. One reason for this, is that only a confident person can persuade others and gain their respect.

        Worried that you have low self-confidence? Try faking it. Psychologists often recommend that if you ‘act’ at being confident, you’ll start to look, sound and feel like you ARE confident. And in time… you will be.

        If you look for more ways to boost your self-confidence, this confidence coach has got you some nice advice:

        How to Be Confident: 62 Proven Ways to Build Self-Confidence

        6. Decisiveness

        Leaders are frequently called upon to make decisions (some leaders may have to make dozens of decisions every day). In fact, you could say that making decisions is one of the key things a leader must do.

        Spend some time observing highly-successful leaders and you’ll see that they are quick to make decisions. They also enjoy making decisions, rather than stressing out like many non-leaders do when they’re asked to decide on something.

        Put yourself in the leadership bracket by developing your decision-making skills. Start with small decisions – and then work your way up to bigger and more difficult decisions. Once other people notice your decision-making prowess, they’ll automatically see you as leadership material.

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        I know it’s really quite difficult to make the right decisions sometimes, but don’t worry, here’s a guide for you:

        How To Make Good Decisions All The Time

        7. Passion and enthusiasm

        Expressive. Active. Energetic. These are words best describe a passionate leader.

        Great leaders are lively, driven and are possessed with zeal and purpose. It’s this passion that helps them achieve big results. If you want to emulate their success, then you need to develop passion and enthusiasm for the work at hand, and the end goals.

        Take a look at this Passion Pyramid to find out how importance a leader’s passion is to the team:

          One way to do this is to find what motivates you, and keep your focus firmly on that. For example, i f you’re motivated by helping others, then make sure your role and company are both suited to realizing this. If you’re motivated by money, then put your focus on achieving bonuses and pay rises.

          Take a look at Leo Babauta’s guide on how to find your passion.

          8. Accountability and responsibility

          Exceptional leaders know that at all times they’ll need to take responsibility for tasks and their results. This includes things likes individual and team performance, as well as being accountable for when things go wrong.

          When negative things occur (and you can guarantee they will from time-to-time), a great leader will immediately step in and take responsibility. Initially, they’ll try to resolve the problem in as quick and smooth a way as possible. But if this is not feasible, they’ll be sure to say that the buck stops with them – and they take full responsibility for what has happened.

          To develop your leadership skills, you must never shy away from responsibility or accountability. If you prefer to sweep mistakes under the carpet, then you’re demonstrating non-leadership traits. Try owning up to issues and finding solutions to them. By doing this, you’ll immediately gain people’s respect.

          Find out some tips on how to be a more responsible person here.

          9. Focus

          Distractions are everywhere. And it takes major focus to stay committed to tasks and goals. The best leaders understand this, and therefore, they’re always looking at ways to boost their team’s focus.

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          One way leaders do this, is to keep their team intensely focused on the bigger picture. This might entail allocating specific time for tasks and eliminating any non-essential work.

          If you’re easily knocked off track, you’ll need to spend some time boosting your focus. Try planning your day, week, month and year to help ensure that you don’t fall behind with achieving your goals. Check out the 7 strategies of staying super focus recommended by a productivity coach.

          10. Ever-learning

          Leaders know that to be successful they need to continually update their skills and knowledge. They deliberately learn all they can about their profession and industry, so they’ll able to make confident and assured decisions.

          Why is ever learning so important? I’ll leave it to you to find out the reason here:

          If I Am Living a Good Life, Why Should I Bother Learning New Stuff?

          Imagine a CEO of a solar power company. His company may have amazing solar panels, but when it comes to discussing business with potential buyers, if the CEO or his sales team show a lack of understanding about the solar industry and future trends, etc., they’ll be unlikely to win any business.

          It’s exactly the same for you. If you’re a team leader at an electronics store, you should make sure you fully understand all the products that you offer. But go beyond just that, and read about upcoming products and trends that might change what customers are interesting in buying in the future.

          Traits for effective communication

          11. Empathy

          The best leaders understand the feeling of their team members, customers and associates. They know when to praise, and when to discuss problems (usually in private).

          Without empathy, leaders will be seen as cold, harsh and lacking understanding. They’re also likely to be regarded as untrustworthy.

          One way to ‘put yourself in someone else’s shoes’ is to have regular informal discussions with your colleagues. When you do this, you’ll quickly learn their fears and desires. And when you understand why they have these – you’ll be in a position to express empathy. You can also learn to be more sensitive to others’ needs by taking up these communication skills.

          12. Persuasive and influential

          Communications are at the heart of all transactions. Whether it’s pitching for a sale or resolving a customer complaint, how you communicate will determine the outcome.

          Charismatic leaders such as Richard Branson (Virgin) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) are confident and persuasive communicators. They know how to win over audiences and leave a lasting impressing in people’s minds.

          There’re some common barriers that you’ll have to overcome in order to communicate effectively:

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          How to learn effective communication? You could join the world-renowned U.S. nonprofit Toastmasters International. They’ve been training people in the art of public speaking since 1924, and members have included Napoleon Hill, author of Think and Grow Rich, and Star Trek actor Leonard Nimoy.

          If you don’t have time to join a club, then practice your communications skills at home. You can do this in front of a mirror, or even better, video yourself presenting, and then ask some friends and family members for feedback. You’ll be amazed at what they pick up on.

          Traits for ensuring an engaging team

          13. Team building

          If you put a bunch of random people together, you may have a loose definition of a team. In reality, a real team has purpose, drive – and a leader lighting the way.

          If you’ve worked in different teams and with different managers, you’ll no doubt have come to this conclusion:

          Managers who treat their team members like children are unpopular with the team. Conversely, managers who treat their team members like adults, are respected and well-liked by the team.

          The days of disciplinarian managers are passed. Nowadays, successful team leaders know how to inspire and motivate their team, while keeping a harmonious atmosphere between all team members.

          14. Fostering creativity

          Solutions to problems are rarely black and white. Often it takes a leader who can ‘think outside the box’ to come up with answers. In other words, a leader must be creative, and also help to foster creativity and innovation throughout their team.

          Creativity is not only associated with pursuits such as arts, literature and music, running a team can be just as creative. There will be times every day when you need to come up with ideas and give guidelines for your team to come up with theirs to solve problems.

          Leadership is a journey of continuous learning

          Leadership is an amazing experience that will take you on roads you’ve never traveled before.

          Begin now to build your skills and experience, pick out the traits that you currently lack – and then work on developing those.

          It will take tons of practice and time before becoming an effective leader but eventually you will join the ranks of great leaders.

          Featured photo credit: unsplash via unsplash.com

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