Resume screening: how to pass?
Imagine a recruiter has just finished reading over a hundred resumes. Only a small number of them has made the shortlist for their client.
Your resume is next in line.
Will your resume be passed by or found worthy?
The answer to this question lies in how a recruiter decides on what makes a good candidate for a role – and what you can do to increase the chance of your resume being shortlisted.
What’s the first thing your resume should say?
Recruiters ideally like to see a quick snapshot of who you are, your background and what you can bring to their client. You should start your resume with something called a profile statement. Specifically, your personal statement (or profile statement) is the first thing the recruiter will read. It should show what you have done in your career to date, how you’re different and why they should take an interest in you.
You must tailor your personal statement to the position being advertised. Use keywords from the job advertisement! Don’t go over two to three sentences (or ideally 3 – 4 short and sharp bullet points) and focus on your experience and achievements.
The right personal statement should convince the reader to continue reading the rest of your resume.
It must impress them – so use action words and quantify the content i.e. x number of years’ experience, technologies you are proficient in, how many projects you’ve delivered and the specific experience you have that proves you can do the job they are advertising.
Instead of saying ‘Profile Statement’ at the top of this section, keyword optimises it to the job title.
For example, if the title of the job being advertised is ‘Structural Engineer’, the title of your profile statement should be ‘Experienced Structural Engineer – an overview’.
What skills do you have that their client wants?
Now that the recruiter knows who you are and what you can bring to their client, they will want to know if you have the right experience and skills for the job.
We recommend placing a short key skills list beneath your personal statement. The skills should relate to the job you are applying for and be specific to your experience.
Key tip: Aim to have a bullet point list of five to six key skills that they ask for in the job advertisement. Tailor this section so each bullet point looks like this:
Structural design: XXXXXXXXXXX (this is where you need to highlight your experience using quantifiable examples)
Subcontractor management: XXXXXXXXXXX (this is where you need to highlight your experience using quantifiable examples)
How did you achieve your passed duties?
Next, the recruiter looks for evidence of your skillset in your employment history. This section is important in showing the tasks you performed and what you have achieved.
List your relevant employment history to date by starting with your most recent job. List the job title, organisation, location and the dates you were employed there.
It is best to use a bullet point list that details your responsibilities and achievements. Try to inject keywords and language from the job description.
Make sure you really paint a picture of your responsibilities and achievements too. Provide details, numbers and detailed examples of your work.
Qualifications and certificates
Next, list your qualifications and certificates. Include the name of the college or university, course as well as the year and location.
Why would you matter to their client?
When writing your resume, ask yourself this question: ‘If I was the recruiter, would I be convinced about this candidate? Would I call them for an interview?’
The recruiter will want to speak with you or even meet you to assess if you:
- Will be a good fit for the organisation – make sure you are personable and be ready to explain exactly what’s in your resume with quantifiable examples.
- Are worthy of referring to their client – Do you have the skills, knowledge, experience and expertise to successfully do the work that their client needs to be done?
If you meet the standard expected by recruiters or even surpass it, you will catch their attention with your resume.
Want to know more?
We know how tough the Australian job market can be, so we hope the above list helps you in finding a job in Australia.
Would you like us to review your resume? Feel free to contact us for a free consultation.
We wish you all the best in the job search.
Careers Team, Career Success Australia