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Words make all the difference when you’re job-hunting

Updated: Aug 25, 2021

In any job, we tackle our priorities first, and it’s the same when it comes to writing your resume and cover letters.

Talent specialist and PD volunteer Dana Sarkissian shares insights into what recruitment consultants look for.

Why do you need to consider when writing your resume?

It’s important to make it easy for the person who is reading your cover letter and resume. You might have a very deep understanding of what you do, but you have to ensure you communicate that properly in your documents.

I see a lot of resumes and far too often, it’s not clear what applicants do for a job. They’ve used industry jargon, but this doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

You want your resume document to have enough information that someone will get excited enough to give you a call.

So how should we approach a resume and cover letter?

The first port of call is to think of the audience – the person who will be reading your application. Come up with language that will both address the role, and equally be meaningful to the person who is reading it. Remember the cover letter is designed to get you past that first person – the recruiter – to the manager who’s looking for best person for the position.

The second thing is to include key words. This is harder than it sounds. In my experience, people really struggle with key words to include in their resume.

So when you’re writing the documents, make sure you are:

  • Succinct, get to the point, don’t waffle – use bullet points

  • Use key words that are relevant to the job you’re applying for – make sure they jump off the page

  • Showcase your experience – give the recruiter a reason to call you.

How do you find the right key words?

Imagine going to a dinner party, and someone asks you what you do. It’s got to be quick and to the point. So you go very high level and you summarise your work – this is called an elevator pitch.

You want to get across your expertise, your tenure in the type of work you’ve done, and summarise the kind of industries you’ve worked in, for example if you’ve worked in government, blue chip companies etc.

You also include your speciality as well as the broadness of your capabilities in a quick snapshot.

So showcase your experience, briefly.

What should you avoid?

Get away from soft skills – for example, someone might write they’re an enthusiastic hardworking marketer – but what does that really mean in the context of the actual job? You want to focus on technical ability – your resume needs to be packed with hard, cold facts.

Is a resume for ever?

No, definitely not. A resume should always be an ongoing progress document – not something you shelve.

Keep a ‘notes’ section on your phone. Then as you complete or remember various wins, achievements, or activities/initiatives you’ve been part of, write those in. It’s easier to do it as you go, instead of in a hurry.

How long should a resume be?

A good resume is 2-3 pages with absolute highlights.

You want enough information for recruiters to think, ‘I want to pick up the phone and learn more’.

Resume writing is a skill – don’t underestimate it. You can get advice at no cost from the experts like Dana at Project Displaced, whether that’s one on one or through a webinar. Reach out to us today.

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