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We spend hours per day scanning through resumes in search for suitable candidates to place in positions. It is striking that a vast amount of people of all calibers do not know how to compile a reader friendly resume. We felt it our duty to let job seekers know what it is like on the other side of the laptop. The best advice we can give you in compiling or updating your resume is to let logic prevail. Put yourself in the recruiter's shoes. Let the basics be easy to find. All your achievements and your list of courses and expensive education will get a space, but tell us the basics first.
Here are a couple of guidelines to make your resume reader friendly and worthy of a call for an interview:
1. Area in which you reside
This is the very first thing a recruiter will look at. You can be the best salesman in the world but if you live in Cape Town and a position has presented itself in Polokwane it is a given that you will not be considered for that position. You don't need to put your full address, just the area will do. So many jobseekers, we find, will simply put Johannesburg for example. This is extremely vast. Try to narrow down your area to the closest suburb.
2. Your age
The next thing we look at will be your age. This is not to discriminate. This is simply to see that you will fit the profile. Let's imagine that a position exist for a sales manager to lead a group of sales people between the ages of 25-40. It will not be very wise to place a nineteen year old person to guide this team.
3. Don't be desperate
If a position becomes available for a sales manager and you only have 3 month's sales experience it will only be logical to assume that you will not be considered for the position. Give yourself more respect than that. No-one enjoys desperation. Be honest with yourself and your recruiter in knowing that the position that you are applying for will suite your personality, your experience gained throughout your career and your geographical location.
4. Be honest
Nothing will break your image the way that a lie would. If you have a criminal record be honest with your recruiter and explain straight up what exactly happened. You will never be trusted again and surely will not get the job if your criminal check delivers a record to your recruiter's surprise. There might be a speeding offence or past debt that is better to talk about from the start then to cross your fingers and hope that it will remain a secret.
It is challenging to get to know a person purely by means of a document. It is always nice to place a photograph of yourself on your resume. If you don't have a nice picture of yourself, please don't put one on your resume that shows you at your cousin's wedding stark drunk and singing karaoke. Also don't take a photo of yourself in the office toilet during lunch break just to have a photo to put onto your resume. We recently received a resume that opened with a photograph of a good looking young girl dressed in a very seductive outfit. Continuing to scroll down there was information about her school career and hobby of modelling. She added in a heading that read: Extra Info under which she listed skills like: fast learner, great admin skills etc. We had to email her in order to find out about her work experience. The entire aim of a resume is to let the possible future recruiter know what your skills are. What you look like is somewhat second to that.
The only reason for a heading like "Hobbies" on a resume is to give the recruiter some idea of your personality. If there are no particular interest in your life you don't need to include this particular heading on your resume. It is very detrimental to your image to type in comments like "watching TV". Your recruiter will get an image of a lazy coach potato.
7. Don't give up
School leavers carry a great amount of frustration in that they perceive that companies always are on the outlook for people with experience. This is not fact. There are always positions available suitable for someone with no experience. School leavers can see the fact that they have no experience as a positive. Put a paragraph in your resume that shows the pro's like: 'no bad habits have been acquired, looking at things for the first time will boost creativity' etc.
The best advice we can give anyone (with any document for that matter) is to read it again before you start emailing the entire country. Make sure that there are no typos on your document. Make sure that the grammar is one hundred percent correct. We receive hundreds of resumes applying for administrative positions that are littered with typos. Would you appoint an admin person who doesn't double check your document after it is typed? Doubt it. Your resume is you on paper. Just like you would wear a suit to the interview, clothe your paper personality in the same style.
Tell the recruiter which position you are applying for. You need to remember that recruiters very rarely only have one open position at a time. It is best to put this in the subject line of the email with your resume attached. Please remember to actually attach your resume as well. No jokes. We have received many an email with such professional content and you guessed it, with no attachment.
If you are in the job market, do not despair. With the correct attitude you will get the perfect job for you. Let us help you. Go to our page for jobseekers and upload your CV onto our database.
Happy job hunting!