It’s not as simple as writing up a list of achievements and being rewarded with your dream job.
A resume is often an employer’s first look into what an applicant has and can do, so it’s important to curate yours so it gives a good first impression.
“Today, you have to be the best at a dozen things to even be considered for the job and the resume is the first step at showcasing what you’re best at,” says Lauren Jerdonek, founder and creative director of strategic resume design company, Précis Resumes.
“Eye-catching resumes just weren’t necessary years ago but now it’s a totally different ball game,” she says.
One of Lauren’s biggest tips when putting together a resume is to know your audience and approach accordingly.
“Resumes aren’t a ‘one size fits all’ situation, and every situation calls for a different technique, which means that every career has a different standard of what a rock-star resume looks like,” she says.
Karen Poh, Editor-In-Chief of Melbourne-based online publication, Meld Magazine, agrees that a resume’s appearance depends on what role the applicant is going for.
“If you study design, then the graphic elements on your resume would definitely stand out to me, whereas if you were a business student, I’d be more likely to focus on things like internships or work experience over the way your resume looks,” she says.
Karen suggests that if you’re going to use your resume as a pre-portfolio, then it’s important that it actually reflects and shows off your skills.
“I’ve had design students who have applied with Meld who have tried to do up their resume and it didn’t look very good,” she says.
“It wasn’t presented well, it didn’t read well and that already gave me an indication that they weren’t very good at what they do.”
Other resume deal breakers include using a generic cover letter, which can suggest the candidate doesn’t pay attention to detail, or is too lazy to write individual applications.
“Tailoring your resume to the role is really important, “ says Karen.
“I think a lot of students and graduates don’t understand that when you send out resumes, it’s not just the one resume that you send out to all of these different employers.”
Lauren says that universities need to educate students on how to properly construct a resume that best shows off their skills and stresses the importance of making yourself known online.
“We live in a much different career sphere than those instructing us on how to land a job and resumes will soon be replaced by your online presence, such as your Google SEO clout, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.,” she says.
“Try to incorporate a lot of interactive media into your resume like portfolio sample work, testimonials from past employers and hyperlink your social media accounts because transparency is the key to success.
“The average recruiter only spends six seconds looking at a resume, so it’s imperative to have one that stands out in order to turn those six seconds into six minutes.”