Written by Luke Powell
After graduation, one of the most pressing issues that an individual will face is the task of finding a job. While some of us are fortunate enough to have placements or connections that lead to finding employment quickly…the rest of us are faced with years invested into our education, high amounts of student debt, and no idea how to find a career in the field we want.
The nature of workplace hiring has evolved with the advent of the internet. Websites like Monster.ca and Workopolis.com have a massive number of jobs posted daily. Although this evolution means that it is much easier to find potential jobs, it also leads to stiffer competition for those jobs. How can you stand out from a sea of hopeful applicants?
Many of us make the mistake of creating a single one-size-fits-all resume, which we then send out to every potential employer. Instead, build a specific resume for each job you apply for.
Think of it this way: if you create a product without understanding the desires of your customers, that product is unlikely to be successful. The same can be said for resumes. Every employer differs slightly in what they are looking for, and what they believe will match with the position they have available. What may be appealing to one employer may not be appealing to another. As a result, it is important that if you’re applying for a specific job, your resume is designed to match that job’s requirements as closely as possible.
The most effective way to build a resume it to begin with a skeleton, that is, a basic list of experiences and skills which you can then flesh out for a specific application. Research the company before you apply. What do they value? Try to incorporate that in your resume. Also, consider everything you have done. Often small components of past jobs that may seem unrelated actually provide valuable experience.
Although the above tips are useful when applying for a specific job, you will want to consider a different approach when designing your resume for a general online job board. Websites like linkedin.com, as well as the previously mentioned workopolis.com and monster.ca, are great places to upload your resume.
How should a resume be built when it is not for a specific job? Firstly, look up a variety of job postings in the field you are interested in. Secondly, carefully comb through each job description. What skills do they require? What do they have in common? Look for frequently used key words and phrases. Companies often use software to filter through the high volume of posted resumes. Sometimes only resumes with a high number of key words will actually be looked at by the employer. Using the right words and phrases in your resume will increase the chances of it being seen.
No matter how strong your resume is, the interview is always more important. A good resume will get you an interview, but it is a good interview that gets you the job. Below is an infographic from mint.com which provides a great summary of how to perform well in an interview.
Happy job hunting!