Here’s a secret that HR departments and hiring managers won’t tell you – the CV (or resume) is a job seeker’s most powerful weapon. An attractive CV that captures the attention of a hiring manager is much more likely land you an interview than a regular one that simply “states the facts”. So, if it’s been a while since you’ve spruced up your CV, make doing so a top priority in 2019!
Not sure how to upgrade your resume from “drab” to “fab”? Here are a few easy-to-implement tips from one of Singapore's manpower agency; BGC Group.
1. Beauty is (not) in the eye of the beholder
One of the best ways to instantly stand out from the competition is to make your resume more visually attractive. This can be done with simple design elements, an attractive and easy-to-read layout and a touch of colour. Not sure how to do this? You can hire a designer to add some visual flair to your resume. Think of it as a small investment to land a job you really want (with a salary you may now be able to negotiable a little more easily for). Or, look for a free template online and use that.
Either way, be sure to add a creative touch to your resume with some design elements!
2. Impress with photos
You may not be applying for a job as Singapore’s next top model, but photos still matter. Even if employers aren’t selecting interviewees based on looks, including a photo (or photos) with your resume will give your future employer more confidence that you’ve got nothing to hide and are disclosing all relevant information to them.
Just be sure to include photos that showcase your professionalism. Ensure your photo is fairly recent (i.e. taken within the past few years) and please, no selfies!
3. It’s in the name
Depending on the popularity of an available position, a hiring manager could receive anywhere from dozens to hundreds of applications for a single role. Your resume needs to be immediately noticed the moment a hiring manager opens your email, and not be mistaken as an unrelated attachment.
If your CV is currently named “AUDREY-08911991-updated.pdf”, you’re already putting a barrier between your CV and your potential employer. Instead, be considerate and include your full name and the position you’re applying for in your resume’s file name, along with the word “CV” or “resume” so there’s no second-guessing what this file is for (and who it’s from)!
4. Yes, you can be overqualified
Sure you can be underqualified in your resume but did you know that recruiters and hiring managers may view your candidacy unfavourably if you're too overqualified? Remember that at the end of the day, employers want to work with motivated people who are a good fit for the job!
There are myriad reasons why an overqualified candidate will be rejected, here are some:
Higher salary expectations
Jumping ship - a fear that candidates will treat the job as a temporary gig
Possibility of being prone to boredom
Possibility of a "seniority" complex that is brought over from the previous role
To avoid this problem, you should tailor your resume to fit the position you're applying for. Leave out your specialised Master's degree and other post-college qualifications if you're applying for a non-specialised position.
If you are looking to start on something less senior or lighter on responsibilities, it helps to detail down the reasons why so.
Looking to make a career switch? If you think that job sounds too professional, it probably is. Keep it off your resume and bring it up during the interview instead.
5. Show your professionalism with the right file format
This is a small but important detail that job seekers often miss out. Do save your resume in a file format that your future employer can easily open. After all that good work you’ve put into creating/updating your resume, the last thing you want is for a hiring manager to realise that your file can only be opened on a different operating system, with the software they don’t own, or with a newer version of Microsoft Word that they have installed.
To be sure you don’t run into any formatting or compatibility issues, simply save your resume in a .PDF format (although Microsoft Word files are also acceptable).
PRO-TIP: Based on our experience, Microsoft word files saved with the (.docx) extension are a little troublesome to open and review. We recommend saving the resume as a (.doc) extension instead!
6. Use notable brand names in your resume
Of course, this should only apply to you if you've managed to gain an internship or a previous job experience with notable organizations. However, as recruiters, we've noticed that many individuals tend to underplay their previous experiences with notable organizations. For instance, instead of stating that they've worked at "DBS bank". We notice that candidates use the name, "The Developmental Bank of Singapore Limited" instead.
We understand that there is a need to appear more professional in your resumes. But keep in mind that you shouldn't sacrifice your marketability, just to sound more professional. When it comes to your resume, you should keep it short, and keep it sweet.
7. Keep your profile introduction short (and sweet)!
The first thing that a recruiter is going to see is your profile introduction. Try to keep them short and sweet as this is the first thing that a recruiter will see. This is your elevator pitch, you have 30 seconds or less to convince every recruiter or hiring manager who reads your profile to hire you. Or at least grant you the next step of the interview process. Find a punchy opening line or get your copywriter friend, colleague, sibling, partner to help you craft a snappy introduction.
8. Make your resumes ATS friendly!
Everything's different now. Instead of just a recruiter or hiring manager, most websites use an 'Applicant Tracking System' (ATS) to scan and filter multiple resumes. Whilst this is often done for the purpose of efficiency, job seekers who fail to make their resumes ATS friendly might miss out on a callback.
Thankfully, there are ways to get your resume through the ATS system. Here are some useful tips for you to consider:
Don't apply for multiple jobs in the same company: Try to stay mindful of the type of jobs that you apply to! It can raise some eyebrows when a job applicant applies for multiple positions including both entry and mid-career level positions.
Include the right keywords: Try to include the right keywords in your resume. The role of an 'Applicant Tracking System' is to scan through resumes and find candidates that feature the right keywords in their CV. This just means that you'll have to give your CV a more personalised touch. One way to figure out the keywords that the ATS is filtering out is to check the skills listed or even the type of qualifications the role requires.
New year, new CV!
Now, it’s time to take that “new year motivation” and use it to update your CV in all the right ways – so 2019 can be the year you finally get your dream job!
Can't decide what you want to do in life? Drop us your resume, and we'll get one of our friendly recruiters from Singapore job agency, BGC Group to invite you down for a chat!
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