Unemployment might be 5% today but the real bad news is that it is as high as 13% for people between 18-29 years. That translates to over 30-crore unemployed youth. Future prospects look grim with economic growth decelerating to 5.7%. Terrifying facts, aren’t they for all those out looking for a job?
Take heart. Even in these tough times, job opportunities have not dried up. They are just fewer of them making competition stiffer and employers more selective. To stand out in these challenging times, candidates have to grab every opportunity they get by the collar. When you decide to do that - a well-crafted resume will be the most powerful weapon in your arsenal.
Applicant-to-hire ratios vary widely depending on the appeal of the employer brand, visibility of the job opening, designation and level of compensation offered and other such factors. Generally, a typical entry-level opening follows the ratio 100 resumes: 10 interviews: 1 hire. For companies that typically have more than 100 openings every year, this means approximately ten thousand resumes need to be evaluated.
Common sense will tell you that it’s impossible for recruiters to read every single document they receive. A seasoned Recruiter will also tell you that rejected resumes on an average get no more than six seconds of attention. To compound the problem, disruptive technologies have made the job even tougher for candidates. A resume screening software ruthlessly eliminates candidates if essential keywords from the Job Description do not find appropriate mention in the resume.
If you survive the Resume BOT and a six-second glance, you will then land yourself a wonderful opportunity of a detailed scrutiny by an inquisitive interviewer.
It is at this stage that the resume evolves from an ad spot to a marketing pitch, it positions you and establishes your value proposition in the eyes of the interviewer. It embodies the huge investment of time and money you have made in your academics and your career.
For it to be a winner, the resume has to be authentic and yet relevant. It needs care for design and language and has to be logical and visually appealing. It requires extreme attention to detail as every word you put down can make or break your candidature. Most importantly it has to be rooted in an understanding of what the hiring manager wants.
This is a stressful and a big ask, so candidates tend to bury their head in the sand and just neglect the task at hand.
Knowing how to create a perfect resume is not as hard as it seems. Here are a few essential tips to keep in mind when crafting an effective and job winning resume:
Capture recruiter attention with imaginative design and flow.
Inadequate attention to resume style and formatting are important factors which can severely detract from your resume value. But you need to be careful while finalizing your resume look and feel – you don’t want your document to be all bling but neither do you want it to be unreadable. So keep a balance when you determine the amount of white space and font and colour variations. Reverse chronology on education and work experience is the right way to go with crisp bullets or small paragraphs explaining your responsibilities and achievements.
Devil is in the Detail - Avoid pitfalls of Errors and Irrelevance
Spelling mistakes and grammatical errors can ruin all the hard work that goes in crafting a resume. The other blunder which is most common is “Information Overload”. Off course you want to paint a holistic picture of yourself in the hiring manager’s eyes. But excessive and irrelevant information is not the key to success. Experienced professionals should try and compress their resume to ideally two pages. Bland listing of “Hobbies”, irrelevant addresses, family details and references are definite No-No. Another common mistake at the entry level is tacky email addresses and casual photographs. This is not college anymore and “firstname.lastname@example.org ” doesn't cut much ice. It’s also a good idea to then have your document reviewed by a friend or a professional resume writer as catching your own mistakes can be tough.
Career Summaries are the New Objective Statements
Objective Statements, once a standard feature, are now becoming obsolete. As the art of resume writing became more sophisticated, well crafted career summaries have gained in prominence. Hiring managers have zero interest in reading bland and generic statements stating what you want. Their interest is in what you have to offer and if it meets the requirements that they have at hand. So highlight your value proposition by creating crisp career summaries that encapsulate your competencies, experience and achievements.
Tailoring to face the BOT Challenge
Most large organisations are increasingly investing in technology to improve hiring efficiencies. The Resume BOT with its key word based filtering mechanism is the latest challenge for aspiring candidates, with resumes not having requisite phrases and keywords being ruthlessly eliminated. a “one-size-fits-all” resume strategy is no longer a viable option. So tailor your resume for each opportunity – make sure your resume highlights the key words in the job description.
Let your Achievements Occupy the Real Estate
Hiring Managers will tell you that it is not just “what you have done” but “how well you have done it” is what counts. They want to get a sense of the depth of your exposure, the range of your strategic understanding and the impact you have created. So shy away from a bland listing of your activities and create an engaging narrative. Elaborate on your achievements, substantiate them with numbers and drive home your candidature.
Just like you, a well crafted resume can multi task and stand the test of time. Make it work for you and give yourself that definitive edge.