Given the importance of correct English usage in most industries, making grammatical mistakes in your resume illustrates carelessness and makes you look unprofessional. Many employers are attributing these slipping skills to an influx of informal email, text and social networking. Poor language can create bad impressions, ruin marketing attempts and jeopardize your chances of being hired.
I recently had an interesting email sent in regarding an individual that was seeking a job in Manchester and homewares. This particular person (let’s call her Sammy) was seeking to transfer from a career in caring, so whilst it wasn’t the biggest transition the world has seen – it was a sizeable task to accomplish. I outlined a step-by-step plan for Sammy to help maximise her chances of landing a job, and she just recently informed me that she’s taken on a new position and is delighted with the new career she has ventured into.
Below you’ll find an excerpt of the plan offered to Sammy, this can of course be adapted to different career opportunities.
Tailoring Your Resume - Sammy presented me with what was a rather generic and outdated resume. Whilst she’d made reference to organisations she’d worked with in caring, she took little care in specifying areas relevant to both Manchester and homewares within her resume and cover letter – this was the first area we needed to rectify. Sammy had no direct experience within the Manchester industry, however, she, like many other mothers had bought an entire household worth of linen and had become well aware of older brands including Actil, and the giants such as Sheridan. She knew their differing traits, their product selection and was essentially stunned when I made reference to this – she had NO idea she knew so much about their products and the industry. Whilst she kept her previous workplaces within the past roles section, she made specific mention to her knowledge of Manchester, including her skill set and background and how this directly related to what she could do within the industry.
I instructed her to leverage her experience – the caring industry is no easy feat; it’s an incredibly demanding (both in time and patience) industry. Sammy made reference to the excellent customer service skills she’d developed in her industry and how these could be transferred over to her new career.
Networking - I recommended she take a look at a local expo that focused on homewares and had a number of products on show. I made this suggestion to firstly become well acquainted with the marketing techniques used by vendors in the industry – but also as a key networking source. Expos often bring forth a number of smaller companies that are more willing to take on older, more experienced workers than larger organizations. I encouraged her to speak about instances in which she’d bought doona covers or bed linen online, these were easy conversation starters and it was easy for her to begin networking and relating to a complete stranger.
Research - When making a career change it’s important to become up-to-date with all the technical jargon and get a feel for what is current and what is outdated. Take action and work towards becoming more acquainted with the industry each day, speak to people in-the-know and understand concerns and advantages surrounding the industry.
One thing I highly recommend in your job search is networking – there is an abundance of power in being in-the-know and speaking to people within the same industry as you. I’ve had clients land jobs based on this facet alone – in that the person they began networking with was actually looking to hire someone and they came across as an excellent, well-spoken candidate. Make an effort to speak to as many people as possible, leave your contact details with them should anything of interest arise.
During the Interview - Throughout the interview I suggested Sammy be herself – to conduct herself in a professional manner and illustrate her enthusiasm and intent to enter a new industry, transferring her ideas over. I instructed her to take notice of areas of the business that were lacking, and come up with new suggestions to address these issues. One area businesses often lack in is their online web presence – making mention of how you can resurrect this for them at a fraction of the cost of a web development company puts you in the good books with a potential employer. It shows that you are forward-thinking and not a generic, outdated, bland employment prospect. Remember, businesses want to know how you can make and save them money – they need to make a profit at the end of the day!
Don’t become discouraged if you aren’t able to find something right away. Maintain an upbeat attitude and continue working towards making your career change.
Creating a positive first impression in your job search is vital to success. Most people develop a first (and often lasting) impression within the first six seconds of meeting you. That’s well before you’ve said anything important, in fact you’ve barely had a chance to introduce yourself. Whilst some of that is based off your body language and handshake, the remainder is based upon how you dress.
Your interviewer is focused on what you can bring to the table. They want someone that acts, but also looks the part. If you want to really ‘Woo!’ an interviewer, presenting yourself in a professional manner is essential. It’s a common cliche statement, however, in the interview, ‘dress for the job dream of, not the one you’re applying for’. Dress at a level higher than the job you are applying for, dress for success.
Whilst what you say during the interview is important, how you convey yourself and speak is of equal importance. Up to 70% of communication derives from the way you present yourself – this includes eye contact, facial expressions and gestures. It’s important to practice this aspect of interviewing to ensure the greatest likelihood of a prospective employer choosing you for the job.
It’s become somewhat of a social norm nowadays – young, aspiring adults exiting college and university now ready and eager to tackle the ‘real-world’ with a piece of paper they’ve invested upwards of $40,000 into, however, lacking the experience and ‘street-smarts’ employees expect in prospective candidates. Whilst obtaining the education and certification to undertake a job is important, employers expect a minimum of one to five years experience within the field of work to consider the applicant in question as a viable employment option.
Hiring managers spend an estimated six to fifteen seconds skimming through each resume before simply rejecting your application, or choosing to take it past initial evaluation. Today’s resume submissions require more than a simple list of your skills and accomplishments in order to capture attention, they are an opportunity to sell yourself and essentially illustrate the value you can bring to an organisation. Whilst it is important to ensure your submission contains elements employers look for in a resume, it is equally important to avoid red flags which instinctively turn-off hiring managers and dissuade them from conducting further evaluation on what you have to offer.
For just one moment, let’s place ourselves in the position of a recruiter. Countless resumes from applicants, all expressing boundless interest in the position advertised. The initial recruitment stage of a hiring manager’s job is working their way through repetitious applications. Presented with dozens of candidates each day, all of which propose the same offer to the company and believe they are the perfect aspirant for the job in question. Thinking like a recruiter as opposed to a contender is a solid mentality to adopt whilst writing a resume; it ensures you create a relevant, concise and tailored document of your skills and experience.
A resume is essentially a written compilation of your education, training, skills and experience which is presented to a prospective employer to enable them to foresee how you will contribute to the workplace and satisfy the requirements of the position applied for.
Whilst the promotion of a product within the market focuses upon a number of selling points to persuade a consumer to purchase, a resume essentially offers the same service in that it sells you, as an employee. It is essential that an employer is instantly able to recognise that you are fit for the position, and whilst a potential candidate may have an adequate skill and experience level to tackle the job – a professional resume is essential in making this clearly visible.