Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and job coach from Alberta in Canada

Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and job coach from Alberta in Canada

Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and job coach from Alberta in Canada

Listing your hobbies, adding colourful charts and weaving in words from the company’s mission statement is the key to writing a standout resume, an award-winning job coach has revealed.

Adrienne Tom is a professional resume writer and employment strategist from Alberta in western Canada, who works with businesses and candidates to help both parties find their perfect fit.

She shared 10 simple steps  for writing the perfect resume on LinkedIn to help hopefuls stand out in a fiercely competitive job market, as Australia braces for a predicted 10 percent unemployment rate by the end of June.

Australia last saw double-digit unemployment in the early 1990s, when jobless levels peaked at 11.2 percent in December 1992, the highest since the Great Depression of the 1930s when one in five people were out of work.

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A sample resume marked with the tricks that make a resume standout from dozens of others, including coloured headings, concise bullet points and tailored explanations of skills

A sample resume marked with the tricks that make a resume standout from dozens of others, including coloured headings, concise bullet points and tailored explanations of skills

A sample resume marked with the tricks that make a resume standout from dozens of others, including coloured headings, concise bullet points and tailored explanations of skills

1. Start with a target

Before putting pen to paper, Ms Tom said it’s important to have a clear understanding of the the job you hope to secure and the qualities a recruiter will be looking for to fill it.

Studies suggest that the average candidate’s CV has just seven seconds to make an impression before it is binned.

Australian human resources expert Karen Gately said the same is true of a cover letter, which should never begin with ‘Dear Sir or Madam’.

Ms Gately previously told Daily Mail Australia the generic opener is ‘one of the quickest ways to end up on the ‘no’ pile’.

‘You’re not even taking the time to address your resume or your application to the people that you’re talking to. Find out who they are and address them,’ she said.

2. Customise every line

Ms Tom said every section of your resume must be tailored to show how your skills and experience match the role you are applying for.

‘General resumes just don’t work,’ she said.

Ms Gately said it’s important to clearly state your relevant achievements and demonstrate how they could bring value to the organisation.

‘If I’m saying ‘I have a strong eye for detail’ and there’s a whole bunch of mistakes through the resume, they don’t go well together,’ she said.

‘Or if I say, ‘I’m an innovative go-getting kind of person’ – well how have you demonstrated that? When have you come up with innovative ideas or challenged the status quo? Make statements about yourself but ensure you’re backing it up.’

This graph shows how Australia's unemployment rate will likely nearly double to peak at 10 per cent for the June quarter as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis - but it could have been far worse if the government hadn't introduced JobKeeper

This graph shows how Australia's unemployment rate will likely nearly double to peak at 10 per cent for the June quarter as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis - but it could have been far worse if the government hadn't introduced JobKeeper

This graph shows how Australia’s unemployment rate will likely nearly double to peak at 10 per cent for the June quarter as a direct result of the coronavirus crisis – but it could have been far worse if the government hadn’t introduced JobKeeper

3. Use keywords

London recruitment coach and author Rita Chowdhry

London recruitment coach and author Rita Chowdhry

London recruitment coach and author Rita Chowdhry

Ms Tom said weaving keywords from the job advertisement into your resume will show a recruiter that you’ve thoroughly researched the role and already possess many of the capabilities the employer is looking for.

London recruitment coach Rita Chowdhry, who spent five years crafting what has been hailed as ‘the world’s best CV‘, said hiring managers are always impressed when a candidate refers to their company’s values in at least one career achievement.

4. Give unique examples 

Ms Tom said it’s crucial to provide creative examples of how you excelled in previous roles to truly set yourself apart from other candidates.

She advised brainstorming before writing an application to come up with clever anecdotes of ‘what makes you unique’ and how you can add value and skill to the role.

Including charity projects and hobbies, if there is space, shows a glimpse of your personal values and allows a recruiter to connect with you on a human level while reading your application.

HR expert Karen Gately said personal passions are key because they reveal what motivates you.

‘Whatever it may be, it demonstrates your diligence, commitment to learning and the extent of which you are a participant in life and strive to be successful,’ she said.

Rita Chowdhry’s top tips for what makes the world’s best CV 

– Do not include a photo or date of birth.

– Keep it short. It should only be one page in length, or a maximum of two if you are in a senior position.

– To impress ‘D’ personalities (typically MDs and CEOs), and ‘Cs’, such as CFOs, use clear headings and bulleted sections, written in a simple, consistent font such as Arial or Times New Roman, size 11 or 12. This makes it easy to comprehend for ‘Ds’, who tend to skim read, while also including the structure and consistency that ‘Cs’ look for.

– Keep sentences short and concise, and give proof supporting your career achievements. This appeals to ‘D’ and ‘I’ types who want facts and statistics, and ‘S’ and ‘Cs’ who are put off by excessive self-promotion.

– List your work history in chronological order.

– Impress recruiters by referring to their company’s values in at least one of your career achievements.

– Ditch stock phrases like ‘I’m a good team player’ and ‘I enjoy spending time with my family and friends’ 

– Give at least one example of how you are motivated, and how you have and will motivate others.

– Mention two activities that demonstrate your personal values. This could be charity work (fundraising by running a marathon, for instance).

– Use positive language throughout that indicates a ‘can-do’ attitude.

Source: London recruitment coach Rita Chowdhry 

5. Be specific

Ms Tom said its important to preempt the queries a recruiter or hiring manager might have after reading your resume so you can answer them in your application without them ever needing to ask.

‘Answer reader questions and demonstrate value with the appropriate balance of details,’ she said.

Instead of having a resume that is page after page of your previous jobs, Ms Gately suggests including only relevant experience and then saying ‘prior employment history available if required’.

‘It’s about the relevance of [your past] job to the one that you’re going for, and whether it adds value,’ she said.

What are your employment rights during COVID-19?

Employees remain protected from dismissal under the Fair Work Act 2009 during the crisis, because of:

– a temporary absence due to illness or injury (i.e having coronavirus)

 – caring for someone with coronavirus

 – discrimination (i.e you are from a particular race or cultural background)

– a reason that is harsh, unjust or unreasonable.

Source: FairWork.gov.au

6. Focus on results

While it may be tempting to list every daily task you were expected to perform in your previous job, Ms Tom said recruiters take note of people who show initiative rather than those who simply follow orders.

‘Avoid task-heavy content and focus on results,’ she said.

If you previously secured a lucrative deal or worked on a project that improved a company’s balance sheet, include exact figures to demonstrate your monetary value to the business. 

7. Keep it short

Ms Tom said the best resumes are two pages long, with all relevant details included in a clear and concise layout.

‘There’s no need to drone on and on. Typical resumes are two pages, three at most,’ she said.

Ms Chowdhry believes resumes should be confined to a single page unless you are applying for a position in senior management.

Sexual orientation, religious beliefs and any other ‘non-vital’ details, including photographs, should be left out to avoid any unconscious biases a recruitment panel might have.

8. Add colour

FIVE THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY IN A JOB INTERVIEW 

1. Obviously

2. We

3. Workaholic

4. Challenge

5. ‘Motivated by change’

Source: Hays Recruitment Director Jason Walker via Seek 

Ms Tom said there’s no need to be afraid of adding a splash of colour – in fact, it could be the very thing that makes you memorable to a recruiter tasked with trawling through dozens of typically black and white applications.

She suggested giving the file a ‘facelift’ by including charts, graphs and coloured headings which draw the eye towards important content.

9. Use bullet points

Resumes are not essays, and Ms Tom said bullet points can help to focus your writing on the key messages you want the reader to see.

‘Front-load statements and use bullet points with numbers and values. Don’t make the reader hunt,’ she said. 

Ms Chowdhry agrees, saying work history should be listed in chronological order with bulleted sections written in a clear, consistent font like Arial or Times New Roman, size 11 or 12.

Is being ‘stood down’ the same as being made redundant? 

Australian employers have been forced to cut pay, furlough workers and announce redundancies as cashflow grinds to a standstill from the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Being furloughed or ‘stood down’ is different to redundancy.

Staff who are stood down remain employed, while redundancy results in the termination of an employee’s contract because the employer no longer needs that job done by anyone.

Many businesses are restructuring their operations as a result of the pandemic. 

Some retail brands are shutting physical stores and moving all business online. In these cases, permanent employees working in the bricks and mortar stores would be made redundant, unless they are reassigned.

Employees of businesses like restaurants, pubs and gyms, who have closed temporarily but will reopen as soon as lockdown is lifted,  are more likely to be ‘stood down’.

Source: National Law Review

10. Send directly to decision makers

Ms Tom said a brilliant resume can only show its true potential if its received by the right person.

‘Once your resume is ready, consider ways to get it directly into the hands of decision makers,’ she said.

If you are sending a resume ‘off the cuff’ to a recruiter, Ms Tom recommended generating a PDF version which retains formatting and structure better than a Microsoft Word document.

If you are already in contact with the recipient, she said it ‘can’t hurt to ask their preference’. 

For more tips on writing a standout resume and general career advice during coronavirus, visit Seek Australia here.

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