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10 Tips On How To Craft A Perfect Resume

10 Tips On How To Craft A Perfect Resume

If you’re trying to nail your dream job, or just looking for some part-time work, having the perfect resume is vital. You need to stand out from the crowd on a piece of paper, and that is as difficult as it sounds. But it’s not all doom and gloom.

I have prepared and tailored resumes for several clients, and I have observed common mistakes made throughout. Though these may seem minor or superficial to you, they are the difference between an interview and a rejection. Here are some things you need to consider to make yours the perfect resume:

1. Standardise

Your resume should run standardised throughout: the formatting, the font, the colours, everything. Think about the opinion this gives an employer. If your resume is messy, that is the first impression they will have of you – sloppy, disorganised, and unmotivated. Depending on the job you are going for, either use simple spacing, and a clean readable font, or grab a template for a more creative approach. If you really want to stand out, go all out and make a totally unique template, but make sure it is standardised.

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2. Be transparent (social networks, phone number, address)

The perfect resume is all about you, and with the 21st century being a time of transparency (for both companies and individuals), make sure your resume reflects that you have nothing to hide. I don’t suggest adding your Twitter handle or Facebook profile to it (unless you’re going for a digital job, such as a social media role) but include your LinkedIn profile, address, and contact numbers. Employers like to know that they have the ability to contact you, or find out more information about you, from cues given within your resume. It also establishes a subtle trust between both parties.

3. Print your Pitch

If you don’t already have an elevator pitch I suggest you craft one. For those unfamiliar with the term, an elevator pitch is a quick 30-second summary of yourself, your ambitions, and your skills; you’re meant to be able to reel it off to a potential employer in a brief introduction. Not only does it help your employer, but it helps you understand yourself and what you want to be able to achieve. 30-seconds (or let’s say no more than 150 words) does not give you a lot of room for content, and forces you to prioritise your goals. Once you’ve crafted your self-summary, paste it into the top of your resume. Most employers don’t want to read your life story, but if they can understand you in 3 lines, you have a better chance at securing the job.

4. Tailor to your Market

This is probably the most important point on this list. For your resume to be perfect you have to understand who your employer is. The resume you send to Apple is not going to be the same as the one you send to Goldman Sachs. Do some research and understand your employer’s ethos, company culture, and desires. If you’re applying to a job posted, make sure you read the job description and find where you can highlight that you have the requirements – your experience, key skills, achievements, or education. If your resume is tailored to suit the employer, you have a greater chance even if you do not meet all the requirements. What’s better, a highly-experienced employee people don’t get on with, or a less-experienced employee who gets on with everyone?

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5. Get your things in order

The order of your resume is also vitally important. Personally, I would say there are 5 main sections to consider: Profile, Experience, Interests, Qualifications & Achievements, Key Skills. They are listed in the order I would use them, and here’s why:

Your profile is your elevator pitch. It’s the introduction/synopsis of your resume, and gives the reader a quick glimpse of who you are. Experience is next as they will want to see your experience. I place Interests before Qualifications because they give an insight into what you do outside of working hours, and a greater insight into your personality. Not only that, but if you have some interesting things you do on the side, it is a great way of showing intrinsic motivation. The only suggestion would be that do not include anything that seems very time- or attention-consuming: employers will want you to be dedicated to your work and will not like to see your attention being shared too greatly. Keep Qualifications brief, it’s just a formality to see what education you’ve undergone but does not necessarily play a huge part in the decision-making process (again, dependent on the type of job you are applying for). Key Skills again offers insight into what you think you are good at, displaying confidence and acquired skills. It is a nice way to funnel out at the end of a resume, a smooth ending.

6. Quality, not Quantity

Don’t write your life story. Only include experience and interests which you think are relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’ve worked as an Intern for a competitor, that is more relevant than the fact that you did weekend shifts at Wall-mart. You get the gist, but this depends on how much experience you have to work with.

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7. Go Backwards in Time

Write your experience in reverse chronological order (most recent first). Your employer is more concerned with the job you just had then something you did 5, 10 years ago. However, relating to point 1, do this for all forms of time-scale throughout your resume. Consistency is key.

8. Unfinished Business

Do not omit any current or on-going work and projects. Your employers want to know what you are currently up to, to gauge whether or not you are ready for the job on offer. They will understand that in having a job you have to give notice periods and these do not often change the opinion of an employer. They would much rather know than not (point 2 – transparency).

9. Add some flare

Do not write your resume like it’s a status report. The common misconception is that a resume is there just so the employer knows what you’ve done, a historical document of your professional life. No! This is not the case. Your resume is designed to sell you. It’s a personal advert. Add some flare, some personality. You’re selling yourself, so sell YOU, not your experience.

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10. Include experience, aims, and achievements

So you’ve got some personality and your experience is listed. However, most people forget to include their aims, goals, and ambitions on their resumes. A company does not only want to know if you’re right for them, but if the company is right for you. They want to be sure that they can give you what you desire also, so that you can both grow alongside each other. This is more important than you think; it may be what you consider your ideal job, but if you feel like you are not learning or developing at all, you will slowly tire and get bored.

Extra Tip for Paper Resumes: Use heavy, quality paper. Psychological research has shown that resumes printed on heavier, good quality paper are seen as more important and better qualified than those on flimsy paper. If you really want the job, you’ve got to pull out all the stops.

I understand that this has been a somewhat lengthy article, but it was my intention to make it thorough the reasonings behind each section so as to give you more insight and ideas in formatting and writing your own resumes. I wish you all the best of luck with job-hunting, and hope your perfect resume allows you to get the perfect job.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via s3.amazonaws.com

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Last Updated on February 11, 2021

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

10 Secrets of Making Every Presentation Fun, Engaging, and Enjoyable

Not a lot of people are good at public speaking. You could even say that virtually everyone needs to get some practice, and preferably good guidance, before they can learn to stay calm when facing a room full of people. Having all eyes on you is an uncomfortable experience and it takes time to get used to. However, even if you can manage to control your stage fright and stay focused, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your presentation won’t put people to sleep. This is usually the case with long presentations on a very dull subject, with the presenter speaking in a monotone voice and dimming the lights to play a PowerPoint presentation.

You have to work hard to develop the right skills

If you want to be remembered and actually get people engaged, you need to make your presentation fun and enjoyable, without coming off as corny or desperate to please. I know, it doesn’t sound that easy at all! A good presentation during a promotional event or given to an important client can be a game changer for your business, so it is easy to get stressed out and fail to perform all that well. Luckily, giving an interesting lecture is something that can be practiced and perfected. There is plenty of advice out there on the topic, but let’s look at the most important aspects of giving a memorable and fun presentation.

1. Make your presentation short and sweet

With very long, meandering speeches you tend to lose the audience pretty early on, and from then on out it’s just a test of endurance for the few bravest listeners. Not only will people’s attention start to drop rapidly after sitting and listening to you talk for 30 minutes, but you also risk watering down your core ideas and leaving your audience with little in the way of key phrases and important bits of information to take away from the whole ordeal. Famous speakers throughout history have known the importance of condensing the information by using well thought out sentences and short phrases loaded with meaning.

JFK’s famous: ”It’s not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” expresses so much in very few words and gets the audience thinking. Ancient Spartans, for example were famous for their quick, dry wit, often demolishing their opponent’s argument with a single word or phrase. You’ll want to channel that ancient spirit and be as concise as possible when preparing your presentation.

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2. Open up with a good ice breaker

At the beginning, you are new to the audience. There is no rapport, no trust and the atmosphere is fairly neutral. Even if some of the people there know you personally, the concept of you as an authority on a particular matter giving a speech will be foreign to them. The best way to encourage a warm and friendly atmosphere is to get some kind of emotional response out of the audience right at the beginning. It doesn’t matter what emotion it is, you just need to connect with them on a more personal level. It can be shock, curiosity, laughter, knowing smirks, nervousness – whatever gets them out of that initial feeling of indifference. There are different kinds of effective ice-breakers, but generally speaking, the most successful ones utilize one of these tactics:

  • Joking
  • Tugging on their heart strings
  • Dropping a bombastic statement
  • Telling an interesting and relevant anecdote
  • Using a metaphor or drawing comparisons

You can make a small, self-deprecating comment, stir the presentation one way and then suddenly surprise the audience, use sarcasm, open up with a short childhood story that taught you a lesson, quote a famous person and elaborate on it from personal experience, use an inspirational anecdote or hit them with a bit of nostalgia. Just remember to keep it short and move on once you’ve gotten a reaction.

3. Keep things simple and to the point

Once you’re done warming up the crowd you can ease them into the core concepts and important ideas that you will be presenting. Keep the same presentation style thoughout. If you’ve started off a bit ironic, using dry wit, you can’t just jump into a boring monologue. If you’ve started off with a bang, telling a couple of great little jokes and getting the crowd riled up, you have to keep them happy by throwing in little jokes here and there and being generally positive and energetic during the presentation. You need a certain structure that you won’t deviate too far from at any point. A good game plan consists of several important points that need to be addressed efficiently. This means moving on from one point to another in a logical manner, coming to a sound conclusion and making sure to accentuate the key information.

4. Use a healthy dose of humor

Some of the best speeches and presentations in the world, which have been heard and viewed by millions, all feature plenty of humor. No matter the subject, a great speaker will use natural charisma, humor and beautiful language to convey their points and get the crowd excited about what they are saying. A great example of building rapport with the audience through the use of humor is Barrack Obama talking about the government building Iron Man.

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It is silly and fun, and absolutely not something that you would expect from a man in a position of power speaking in such a serious setting – and it’s exactly why it works. The more serious the situation and the bigger the accent on proper social behavior, the harder your jokes will hit.

5. Try to tell a story instead of ranting

Some people can do all of the above things right and still manage to turn their short and fun little presentation into a chaotic mess of information. You don’t want your speech to look like you just threw a bunch of information in a blender in no particular order. To avoid rambling, create a strong structure. Start with the ice breaker, introduce the core concepts and your goals briefly, elaborate on the various points in a bit more detail, draw logical conclusions and leave your audience with a clear takeaway message. You want to flow naturally from one part to the next like you are telling a big story chapter by chapter.

6. Practice your delivery

Standing in front of the mirror and practicing a speech or presentation is a technique as old as mirrors – well, come to think of it, as old as human speech, since you can see yourself reflected in any clear and calm body of water – and that means that it is tried and true. The theory is incredibly simple, yet the real problem is actually putting in the effort day in and day out. Work on your posture, your tone of voice, accent, pauses between sentences and facial expressions. The most important thing is to talk slowly and loudly enough to be heard and understood clearly. Many famous speakers, such as Demosthenes and King George VI, overcame speech impediments through hard work.

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7. Move around and use your hands

Although you won’t instill confidence in your project if you are very jittery, moving around erratically, not knowing what to do with your hands and making fast movements, standing dead still can be just as bad. You shouldn’t be afraid to use your arms and hands when talking as it makes you seem more passionate and confident. The same goes for moving around and taking up some space. However, try to make slower, calculated and deliberate movements. You want your movements to seem powerful, yet effortless. You can achieve this through practice.

8. Engage the audience by making them relate

Sometimes you will lose the audience somewhat in techno-babble, numbers, graphs and abstract ideas. At that point it is important to reel them back in using some good, old-fashioned storytelling. Make comparisons to events from everyday life that most people are more than familiar with. By making things look simple, not only will you help your audience get a better understanding of the subject by enabling them to visualize the information more clearly, you will also draw a connection between you. After all, you are all just regular people with similar experience, you just happen to be performing different roles at the moment.

9. Use funny images in your slides

Although slides are not really necessary at all times, if you do need them to make your point and present your information more effectively, it’s best to liven them up. They say that facts aren’t always black and white, and your presentation should reflect this. Add a bit of color, make the information stand out and use an interesting animation to switch from slide to slide. You can use the slides to add some more humor, both in terms of the text and the images. An image that is used to elicit a positive response needs to be funny within the context of what you are discussing. For example, if you are discussing the topic of authority, an image of Eric Cartman from South Park in a police uniform, demanding that you respect his “authoritah,” is a nice way to have a bit of fun and lighten things up.

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10. End on a more serious note

When all is said and done you will want the audience to remember the core concepts and keep thinking about what you have said after the presentation is over. This is why you should let things naturally calm down and end with an important idea, quote or even a question. Plant a seed in their mind and make them think. Let us turn to Patrick Henry for a great way to end a speech: “Is life so dear or peace so sweet as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery? Forbid it, Almighty God! I know not what course others may take; but as for me, give me liberty or give me death.”

As you can see, there is quite a bit to learn when it comes to giving a good presentation, one that is both memorable and fun. Be sure to work on your skills tirelessly and follow in the footsteps of great orators.

Featured photo credit: Austin Distel via unsplash.com

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