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How to craft a winning resume

How to craft a winning resume

Friday Feb 19, 2016

Time to take the next step in your career? Then it’s definitely time to work on your resume. It may have been a while since you last looked at it, but it is the key to finding your next engineering position. Why is it so important? Put simply, over 90% of shortlisting decisions are made solely on the contents of your resume. Here are some tips to help you craft a winning document.

1. Layout

Many employers won’t take the time to read a messy document. Ensure your layout is easy on the eye and allows the reader to pick out details quickly. Choose relevant headings to divide your resume into bite size sections, such as ‘Personal Statement’ and ‘Qualifications’, then make them stand out from the main body of text, which should all be large enough to be easily legible. You can make your resume more attractive with small touches like borders and icons, but be careful not to go over the top with fancy design and colours as this may not display well on every computer screen and employers will often want to print it out. You should also keep your resume as concise as possible - keep it to a maximum of 2 pages, where practical.

2. Personal statement and details

Keep a clear goal at the forefront of your mind; be precise about who you are and what you’re looking for. Stay away from over inflated statements and keep it honest and brief, as it’s likely this will be discussed in an interview. Limit your statement to your professional life, as employers don’t need to know about your hobbies. When listing personal details, you should provide an email address and phone number. Be careful which email address you use, as 76% of the time an unprofessional address leads to a resume being ignored. It’s best to use one that simply features your name - you may wish to create a new address solely for your job search, so you can easily track your application communications and can then safely ignore any unwanted communications once you’ve found your new job.

3. Work experience

You should always list your most recent jobs, as you don’t want employers to think there are gaps in your employment history. However, to keep your resume concise, there’s no need to list every job you’ve ever had. Beyond the last couple of years, just pick out those that are most relevant and clearly demonstrate your suitability for the role you’re applying for. You only need to go into detail about roles which required the same skills and experience. If there are any gaps in your recent employment history, try to explain them as best as you can. When it comes to education, just list your top level qualifications - there’s no need to list your school grades if you have a degree!

4. Research

When applying for a job, tailor your resume to match their particular job requirements and company culture. You’ll need to research the company and study the job description carefully to understand their values, their needs, and the specific skills and experience you’ll need to highlight. You should have at least one generic resume as a template, which you can then modify as needed to match a job’s requirements as closely as possible. This will make it clear to the employer that you’ve done your homework, have a genuine interest in the job, and that you’re the right candidate to meet their specification.

5. Be meticulous with your proof-reading

Badly written resumes peppered with spelling mistakes are more common than you might think, and over 50% of employers cite poor spelling and grammar as their number one turn-off. When an employer reviews a resume they’re searching for the whole package. They want to know a candidate has put effort into their application, has good communication skills, an eye for detail, and is genuinely interested in the job and the company. Even if you’ve checked and double checked your resume yourself, it may help to get somebody else to proofread it before sending it to any potential employers. It’s often hard to spot mistakes when you’re overly familiar with your work and a fresh pair of eyes can spot problems that you’ll miss.

6. Making your resume search engine friendly

When you’re writing your resume, consider what keywords employers would be using to track down people in your profession when they’re actively looking to fill a role, and include these multiple times throughout the document. When describing your experience, ensure you use terms associated with your industry.  If you have a technical job and are skilled with specific software suites, rather than just writing that you’re highly computer literate, list the actual software which you are experienced with, in case they are searching for this skill.

Once you’ve got a great resume, it’s time to start your job hunt! If you’re looking for an opportunity in engineering, look no further than TRS Staffing Solutions. We have roles in a variety of sectors and professions in locations around the world. Visit our web site to discover the next step in your career.