February is a good time for many lawyers to contemplate the changes they would like to bring about over the remainder of the year. For some, this can mean earning a fresh start by applying for a new job. However, the prospect of creating a sleek, effective resume can be daunting.
To help you in clearing this hurdle, Insights has compiled a list of tips for creating an eye-catching resume.
- Use a Resume Template
The sheer act of formatting a resume can feel like a laborious, time-consuming process. However, Alison Doyle, Founder and CEO of online job-hunting resource Career Tool Belt, suggests using a resume template to give yourself a head start.
“You can use a resume template as a starting point for creating your own resume,” Doyle said.
“Add your information to the resume template, then tweak and edit it to personalise your resume so that it highlights your skills and abilities.”
For those who are looking for something quick and accessible, Microsoft offers a raft of free resume and cover letter templates.
- Remember to Address the Selection Criteria
While templates can provide you with a solid foundation for your resume, it is crucial to address the selection criteria for your intended role.
“Selection criteria are listed for a reason, so don’t neglect them from your application,” Wenee Yap, recruiter at Elias Recruitment, told Insights.
“Wherever possible, tailor your resume to meet the selection criteria. This may involve noting certain skills or experience in your recent positions which match selection criteria. Focus on demonstrable achievements that match selection criteria.”
However, Wenee warns against addressing selection criteria that doesn’t directly pertain to your professional capabilities.
“Leave any material which may be the basis of discrimination, unconscious or otherwise – for example, date of birth, marital status, children or religion,” she said.
- Create a Career Snapshot
Convention suggests job-hunters should begin their resume with an “objective” or “statement”. However, HR experts are urging professionals to opt instead for a career snapshot.
“With the career snapshot, you present a branding statement that briefly explains your unique value as well as your skills and qualifications," said Wise Data Media CEO Tomer Sade.
"This would then be followed by a few bullet points that highlight your experience and your accomplishments. Whatever you list here should be relevant to the position you're applying for."
- Explain Any Absences or Short Stints – and Don’t Embellish
Red flags every recruiter looks for in a resume include unexplained leaves of absence and unusually short placements. While innocuous, these resume gaps may suggest underlying issues with colleagues or managers or an inability to focus and settle into a role.
By briefly (and honestly) explaining the absence or short placement in your resume, you can allay your recruiter’s concerns on your terms.
“If you took extended time off, be up front about the reason – whether it was a career break, to assist with an ill family member or a business venture, it’s best to tackle the issue rather than allow employers to come to their conclusions and prematurely rule you out,” said Wenee.
“Whatever you do, don’t lie. Not only does it damage your credibility with your prospective employer, it may affect your overall reputation with future employers.”