If you’ve been to visit Curtin Careers, Employment & Leadership in Building 101, no doubt you would have met Lisa Laing, our resident resume expert. She sees hundreds of resumes a week, and quite often corrects the same mistakes over and over again. As we kick off our career skills workshops this week with Resumes, we asked her to write about some of the more common mistakes she sees and her tips to put your best foot forward.
When you come and see me to have your resume reviewed, the first thing I’ll teach you is to tailor your resume to the role that you are applying for. Resumes are no longer a static list of your education and prior work history and skills – they need to be a marketing document that is changed every time you apply for a job.
When students hear this they often think it sounds like too much work but the bottom line is, if you don’t tailor your resume to the role and the company using their language and keywords found in the job advertisement or their website, your resume may not even get looked at. This is because many recruiters will put your resume through applicant tracking software that will scan for key words and sort resumes into one folder that gets looked at by a human being, and another that doesn’t. Taking the time to tailor your resume will ensure that it will at least get in the hands of the right person.
Another common error is that students are reluctant to ‘sell’ their skills – squirming at the idea of spruiking their skills and experience to the employer by stating outcomes, results and achievements. Employers want people who get results. Sure they want to know what you did, but they also want to know how well you did it, and if you can’t prove that to them, you will probably get overlooked. So the difference between “sold pharmacy products to customers” versus “sold pharmacy products to customers using strong interpersonal and communication skills resulting in exceeding sales targets by 10% over a six-month period” could well be the difference between being offered an interview or not.
Employers can sometimes receive hundreds of resumes in response to one job advertisement so selling yourself effectively is essential if you want to stand out from the crowd. If you want to know how to put these sentences together on your resume or are struggling to articulate your outcomes, come along to one of our workshops or drop in and see me in Building 101. Alternatively, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete the Curtin Challenge module.