Don’t: Sell yourself short
A resume should NOT be a running list of tasks you have completed. Instead, a successful resume highlights the most relevant skill sets and accomplishments that illustrate why you are the best fit based on the job description. Identify your skills through your education, experiences, engagement with your community.
What makes you unique? Do not shy away from adding your accomplishments on paper and do not limit yourself to just the resume. Create a personal website or virtual portfolio that highlights your work and add the link to your resume in your contact information. You can also include the link in your email signature and your LinkedIn account. These are just a few ways to add additional value to your resume.
Do: Highlight Transferable Skills
Take note of transferable skills. Transferable skills are aptitudes and abilities which can be applied to different jobs or industries. For example, if you worked in a restaurant, transferable skills include customer service, teamwork, sales, cash handling, and supervisory experience.
When transferring your skills, ensure each bullet point has a purpose. When writing a bullet point, ask yourself:
Why is this important to the reader?
What were my most relevant accomplishments?
What was the result of my effort?
Can I quantify this experience?
Is this bullet point clear and concise?
Who do/did I work with? (team size, autonomously, direct report to supervisor)
Don’t: Go for Quantity over Quality
Would you rather:
Apply to 50 companies and have one call you for an interview
Apply to 4 companies and have one call for an interview
Option A requires a higher investment of your time. Your investment will go further in the quality of application materials over the number of postings.
Another way to think of it is from the company’s viewpoint. Companies receive on average 250 applications. Candidates often make the mistake of expecting the company to invest the time in finding the ways the candidate matches their position. However, typically, employers spend 6-7 seconds viewing a resume for the first time. It is the candidate's responsibility to clearly and concisely state why they are the best fit.
Do: Your Research
Do your research on the company and the role you are applying for. Is the company in the news recently or working on a new initiative, or have they recently won an award? What is the team currently working on? Can you identify any points for improvement? Can you solve them? What value do you add to the team?
Starting your research of the company and role during the job search phase will enhance your overall job search experience and success. First, you will have a sense of the company’s culture, mission, vision, and values. This will help you go from applying to anything that sounds good, to apply to jobs you are not only qualified for but that align with your values and make you excited for the future. Second, research will add focus to your resume and better engage the reader. Lastly, detailed research will demonstrate initiative by allowing you to arrive at the interview equipped with insight and prepared to illustrate exactly why you are a good match for the company.
Remember, your first impression with the company starts during the application process, not on your first day!