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Revamping your resume can help you to get ahead of the competition

Published on Saturday, 30 May 2015

If you are looking for a job, you probably know how much competition you are up against. In many industries today, the job market is competitive, with a large supply of good talent but a limited number of positions available, especially at the more senior levels.

So how do you get yourself noticed? With an impressive resume! If you can impress on paper, there is a higher chance you will stand out from the pile of resumes that hiring managers and recruiters receive every day. Recruiters typically spend less than 10 seconds looking at a resume, when deciding whether to call a candidate for an interview.

Job candidates who apply for the same position tend to have similar skill sets, so the way you express yourself in your resume is important when it comes to getting the first interview. It may be difficult not to use words such as innovative, creative, effective, organised, analytical, and motivated in your resume, but it is likely that everyone else will be using these terms to describe themselves. To get noticed, you should use other terms and other ways to provide evidence of your experience and achievements.

Try to elaborate more on the specific ways in which you have contributed to the company’s business in your previous roles. For example, you could mention the policies and systems that you have developed, the enhancements you have made and the processes you have implemented. It is good to give details about major achievements and contributions in each role. Therefore you should include details such as completing a project on time and within budget, significantly reducing costs or negotiating and concluding an acquisition deal. A good sentence structure to use follows the “results by action” formula – such as: “Reduced costs by 20 per cent to $1.5 million annually by introducing new automated processes and streamlining external vendors". If you quantify your achievements with numbers instead of just words you will make a stronger impact.

In terms of layout, a common mistake in resumes is to use large blocks of text. The presentation and layout of the resume is as important as the content. The use of bullet points to highlight experience and achievements and more use of white space (but no images or graphics) is always good. When in doubt, ask a professional for advice. 

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