Getting an Interview: The DOs and DON’Ts of standing out
As you can imagine we see hundreds of resumes every day at Itch. We completely understand that one of the challenges you face when sending your resumes is “How do I make mine stand out?” So here are a few tips which, in our opinion, will get you to the top of the pile (keep in mind that they are opinions only!)
Include a photo
This is a big “NO” – it doesn’t matter if you are a potential for the cover of Vogue or simply would like to put a face to a name, there is no compelling reason to include a photo on a resume (unless you are applying for a job as an actor or a model, in which case you would include a portfolio). Photos encourage both discrimination and judgement based on your appearance, and we hate to break it to you, but they rarely look as good as you think they do.
Spend $ on a professional resume
Sure, you can seek the advice of a resume writer for appropriate content or proof-reading, but paying someone to make you a generic resume using a template with pretty fonts, florals, “5 star ratings”, borders and bright blues will not make any difference to securing an interview (especially not with an experienced recruiter). Plus, they often get butchered by our recruitment software and are hard to read!
What matters is how you articulate what you have done and what you can do. So before getting out your credit card, be sure to check out some resume writing tips online! Here is a link to one article I particularly liked, but there are hundreds more, all for free!
Include a list cookie-cutter skills and abilities
You will not stand out by listing, “punctual”, “professional”, and “able to work both alone and in a team” as skills and attributes. These points take up valuable resume real-estate, and serve no purpose: they will help you blend in, not stand out.
Instead, be specific about achievements and special skills; tell us about the obscure (and relevant) software you know, or tell us about your experience rolling-out a new procedure or system.
Lying on your resume
Extending dates, exaggerating skills and aptitudes, including false contacts for referees will all lead to disaster, be honest and frank at all times; lies always get found out and will get you ‘blacklisted’ and will significantly damage your ‘personal brand’.
Be short, sharp and to the point
Keep lists of duties and responsibilities to 6-8 descriptive points. Give us enough information to intrigue us, but not enough to bore us.
Save the extra room for highlighting key achievements and contributions you made; what did you do that was “above and beyond” your job? Highlight what makes you a valuable employee!
Pick up the phone
It is astounding how few people pick up the phone and talk to us; we are in a service business, we are nice people, and we want to talk to you. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone! Use it as an opportunity to get additional information about the job, to display your communication ability, and to get noticed. Of course, if you don’t get through right away, try not to ‘pester’ and call over and over, as that will make you stand out for the wrong reason. Don’t know quite what to say? Check out our Handy guide to calling a Recruiter.
After you hit that ‘apply’ button, it becomes a waiting game. But there is no reason that you can’t communicate directly with the recruiter (if you have their details). There is nothing like getting a personalised (and polite) email advising that you have submitted an application, mentioning why you are enthusiastic about the job, and offering to provide any further information.
Be friendly and warm in your communications, remember a recruiter’s job is to decide whether you are the right ‘fit’ for their client’s culture, or if you are applying direct to a company, this person will be thinking about whether you are someone they would be happy to spend every day with! Of course you need to be professional and match your tone to the job and the company you are applying to, but don’t be afraid to be genuine and let your personality show.
THE GOLDEN TICKET
This is one of the most important pieces of the puzzle. You’ll have to wait for another article about this one!
Written by Jodie Perram, Founder + Director, Itch.