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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 June 3, 2020

      How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

      How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

      We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

      However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

      Let’s take a closer look.

      Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

      A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

      Builds Workers’ Skills

      Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

      Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

      Boosts Employee Loyalty

      Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

      If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

      Strengthens Team Bonds

      Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

      However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

      Promotes Mentorship

      There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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      Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

      Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

      How to Give Constructive Feedback

      Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

      Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

      1. Listen First

      Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

      Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

      You could say:

      • “Help me understand your thought process.”
      • “What led you to take that step?”
      • “What’s your perspective?”

      2. Lead With a Compliment

      In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

      You could say:

      • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
      • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

      3. Address the Wider Team

      Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

      You could say:

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      • “Let’s think through this together.”
      • “I want everyone to see . . .”

      4. Ask How You Can Help

      When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

      You could say:

      • “What can I do to support you?”
      • “How can I make your life easier?
      • “Is there something I could do better?”

      5. Give Examples

      To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

      What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

      You could say:

      • “I wanted to show you . . .”
      • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
      • “This is a perfect example.”
      • “My ideal is . . .”

      6. Be Empathetic

      Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

      You could say:

      • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
      • “I understand.”
      • “I’m sorry.”

      7. Smile

      Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

      8. Be Grateful

      When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

      You could say:

      • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
      • “We all learned an important lesson.”
      • “I love improving as a team.”

      9. Avoid Accusations

      Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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      You could say:

      • “We all make mistakes.”
      • “I know you did your best.”
      • “I don’t hold it against you.”

      10. Take Responsibility

      More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

      Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

      You could say:

      • “I should have . . .”
      • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

      11. Time it Right

      Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

      If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

      12. Use Their Name

      When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

      You could say:

      • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
      • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

      13. Suggest, Don’t Order

      When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

      You could say:

      • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
      • “Try it this way.”
      • “Are you on board with that?”

      14. Be Brief

      Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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      One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

      15. Follow Up

      Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

      You could say:

      • “I wanted to recap . . .”
      • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
      • “Did that make sense?”

      16. Expect Improvement

      Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

      By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

      You could say:

      • “I’d like to see you . . .”
      • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
      • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
      • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

      17. Give Second Chances

      Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

      You could say:

      • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
      • “I’d love to see you try again.”
      • “Let’s give it another go.”

      Final Thoughts

      Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

      More on Constructive Feedback

      Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

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