The recruitment department is one of the busiest departments in most establishments and it all starts with the resume. Having a resume that is visually appealing is so important. Tessa and I go through dozens of resumes every day and when I see some of them my first thought is “what a mess!” The information is unorganized, the formatting is inconsistent, the font itself is unnecessarily unique, and quite frankly sometimes it’s just too darn long. When putting together a resume it is important to keep your information organized, consistent and complete. Here are a few tips from the Plan A Recruitment Department to help you when writing your resume!
- Keep your cover letter short: To be honest sometimes I don’t even read them, especially if they are more than half a page long. Keep it to three short paragraphs: Introduction and position you’re applying for, reasons why you would be a good fit for said position, and your conclusion and salutation. Don’t spend too much time writing out your life story because as I said, it might not even be read. When I am reviewing dozens of resumes a day, on top of completing interviews, reference checks and other operational responsibilities, I don’t have time to read a novel. Moreover, recruiters are not impressed by people who over-share. I know Tessa has mentioned this in one of her past blogs and it couldn’t be more accurate. All we want it to know is “does this person have the requirements needed to book an interview?” Education, experience, and additional health care related courses; that’s it.
- Keep the body of your resume simple: Key Qualifications. Education. Work Experience. Keep your key qualifications to 6 – 10 bullet points, and your work experience should be relevant to the job you are applying for. If you’ve only had three jobs and one of them isn’t relevant, that’s ok. But if you are listing 10 jobs that you’ve had in your life and you’re applying to be a Nurse, I don’t really need to know that you worked as a welder or dishwasher when you were 18. Keep it relevant.
- Make sure the format is consistent. Pick one style of font and stick to it. Pick one style of bullet points and stick to it. Tabs, margins, page numbers, headers & footers… you see where I’m going with this.
- Use a standard font and basic layout. Resumes are not works of art. Unless you are applying for a position in the arts and getting creative is relevant, then the need for page boarders or clip art is unnecessary and a waste of ink. Use standard fonts – stick to
Times New Roman, Calibri, or Century Gothic. Try and refrain from using anything like Harrington or Freestyle Script. Don’t forget; this isn’t a greeting card it’s your professional resume.
- List the dates you spent at each job. As a recruiter, I want to know how much experience you have and also how long you tend to stay in your positions. If you just say “2012” that doesn’t tell us very much. When listing your previous jobs include the length of time you spent in each position. Example: “Sept 2012 – Jan 2015”, or “May 2013 – Present”, or “April – June 2014”.
Here at Plan A we are ever growing and always looking for new staff so we don’t discard resumes often just because they aren’t “pretty”. However, I know some establishments that do. If you are applying for a single position keep in mind that there are potentially dozens of others applying for the same job and your first impression is your resume. Be sure it is a clear, organized and concise document in order to keep it from ending up in someone’s trash.