When it comes to applying for new roles, you need to make sure to put your best foot forward. The first step is getting your resume right to make sure you’re noticed in the crowd of applicants.
The first impression is always the most important. No matter what facet of life, every interaction you have begins with the quality of your initial moments. This is no different in a professional setting, only now you are competing with dozens (or hundreds) of other people trying to make their first impression too. It’s important to make sure you know how to get your cover letter and resume right every time to give yourself the best chance.
How Your Application Should Look
This is overlooked by too many people when it comes to applications. Often, people will conflate the idea of being professional with needing to be boring. Hiring personnel look at hundreds of applications a day which all begin to blur into one another much of the time. So, make sure you have something which is not just black and white block text. Too many people assume this is the professional way – but, really, you are just blending into the majority.
Also, make sure you put a clean headshot on your application. Social media access means most employers or agencies will find any online profiles before they move into final stages. If they have a headshot, they are unlikely to mistake you for someone else who may show something undesirable. It’s a small risk, but not one worth taking. Show them that beautiful smile!
One great place to start is templates which are provided as standard by-word processing applications. These give great inspiration for clean, professional-looking documents which are interesting, organised, non-block layouts, and very customisable. Alternatively, there are fantastic sites like this one at Novo Resume which provide a huge range of well-designed templates you can use.
Choose one which suits you, get a good headshot and let’s move into what you need to put in there!
What Information You Need To Give The Employer
There is one main question everyone needs to ask themselves when they write their resume: what do I have that this employer wants? This is the million-dollar question that not enough people ask. Instead, they just give the employer every single detail they possibly can about themselves and hope that something sticks. All this achieves is forcing the hirer to analyse your resume and spend longer than they probably want – if they even bother doing that.
Instead, your submission needs to focus on the role you are applying for. Remember, companies don’t spend time and money putting together detailed and accurate job descriptions for no reason. The information in your application should directly relate to what will mean success in THIS role. For example, if you are applying for an IT role, they don’t need to know details about your 4 different part-time university jobs to make ends meet. The better move is to be clever and use those as an example of being “adaptable” or “versatile” in a short spiel about your attributes. Match it with the job at hand (along with the other relevant skills you possess) and explain why your skill is so good.
Don’t put anything in the document which is irrelevant or dated. School achievements for example, once past university, have no bearing on professional roles. You risk an employer seeing this as “so, they’ve achieved nothing since school worth talking about?” This is not what you need them thinking, so don’t risk it. You just need to show them skills that directly apply to this role and why you will succeed.
If you Lastly, you need to make sure to include a short bio about yourself in the application. Your bio should include: your current role/expertise; professional and personal goals (both short and long term); and a short section on your non-professional pursuits (a strong work-life balance is vital in modern workplaces). For more detailed information on how to create a bio, check out this information from indeed.com.
Get Your Cover Letter Perfect
Unlike a resume which is an information packet, a good bio and cover letter are your first chance to speak to employers as you. What you want to do is give vital, pertinent information about YOU and tell them why they can’t ignore your candidacy (and, ideally, interview you immediately). Your cover letter should be broken into a few sections:
- The Role: What you’re applying for, where you found it, a quick list of suitable skills
- A Summary of Your Bio: Why you’re applying, your goals, short list of non-professional pursuits
- Why You Are Suitable: A quick insight into your relevant skills and how they fit the job role
- Closing: Quick pitch on your best attributes and thanks for considering you for the role.
By giving them this information, you get the chance to explain your resume rather than just show it. You also get a great chance to tie your skills into the role itself and give the employer insight into why you want this role specifically. The more confident an employer can be in your connection to the role and to a long-term future, the more attractive your candidacy.
Ensure the cover letter is edited/proofed, accurate, and provides the best possible insight into you as a potential employee. This is your first communication with a manager at the company. Make it great.
Good luck in your search for a fantastic new role in 2022 – it’s an employees’ market right now so make the most of it!