We grow up hearing the famous phrase: Don’t judge a book by its cover. Well, not to shatter anyone’s ideology but that idiom does not apply in the work field. Unfortunately, 99% of the time you will be judged by your cover; and we don’t mean your looks. Let me clarify, you will eventually be judged by looks but before that you will be judged by how your resume and cover letter look. You can be an amazing person and the perfect candidate for a job position but unless you have a professional resume, and in some cases a cover letter, you may never get the chance to show that employer how awesome you are.
A good resume is clean in presentation and customized for the position you are applying for. For example, you don’t want to overwhelm a resume with skills relating to the medical field if the position you are applying for is as a receptionist at a law firm dealing in immigration. The skill set has nothing to do with the position, an employer will just be confused by it and will toss it.
You have to remember that when an employer creates a job posting, that posting will be seen by thousands of people and hundreds of those people will apply. Your resume has to stand out because an employer will only give it a second’s glance. As soon as they find a typo or an inconsistency or even if the layout is unorganized and messy with different fonts and colors and who knows what else, the employer will toss the resume!
Make sure your resume does not get tossed by ensuring a professional look and feel. Start off with a consistent format and with a strong email address as a means of contact. This means never use something like “[email protected]”. Next, ensure that the experience listed is relevant to the job posting. Even if your prior experience is in a different industry, relate it back to how the skills from that prior job can be of value to the new employer. Wording on a resume is extremely important, so use a thesaurus if you have to! The point is to not give the employer any reason to throw out your resume before reading through it.
Also, don’t forget that volunteer work can be helpful when professional experiences are lacking in a resume. Plenty of people could be using all the volunteer work they do for church (tribe leader, media team, youth coordinator, CBC instructor, etc) on a resume and don’t know it. But most importantly, remember to use your faith! Get on your knees and send a prayer up to God before hitting that send or submit button. Your resume may not be the best that gets submitted but remember you have someone on your side that a lot of those other applicants don’t have; you have God! But if ever in doubt about your resume, reach out to your local University Group Coordinator for some advice. We’ve been there, and some of us are hiring managers so we know what to look out for.