April 1st– The #LetteroftheDay is “L” as in Layout
How important is the layout of your résumé? Considering your résumé is often the first impression that an employer has of you, I would say it is critical. According to The Ladders, a recruiter views your résumé for 7.4 seconds before making a decision whether to move forward or not.
Within 7.4 seconds, you need to convey your unique value, capture the readers’ attention, and make them want to learn more. Here are a few quick tips to improve your résumé layout and make the most of your 7.4 seconds:
- Be concise and use bullet points to showcase your achievements – large blocks of text will go unread
- Use easy-to-read fonts – Century Gothic, Calibri, Verdana, and Helvetica are some of my favorites
- Set your margins to no less than 0.5 inch all the way around
- Use styling elements sparingly – bolding every other word loses its effectiveness, so save emphatic styling for when you want to draw the reader’s attention to a specific area
April 2nd– The #LetteroftheDay is “M” as in Marketing
Marketing refers to activities undertaken to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.
During a job search, you are the product. Your résumé’s job is to capture the reader’s attention and entice them to call you for an interview.
In essence, your résumé is a marketing document, isn’t it time you started treating it as such?
If I am hiring for a Sales Manager and you have 10 years of experience as a Sales Manager, you don’t need to fill two pages explaining your responsibilities. Instead, show me how successful you’ve been by listing your accomplishments and give me a reason to buy what you are selling.
April 3rd– The #LetteroftheDay is “N” as is Nationality
One challenge I have seen in the past is foreign nationals trying to convert their CV to comply with U.S. laws when applying for positions in the U.S. According to the EEOC, it is illegal to ask a candidate questions about their:
- Race, Color, or National Origin
- Sex, Gender Identity, or Sexual Orientation
- Pregnancy status
- Age or Genetic Information
- Marital Status or Number of Children
Therefore, leave this information off a résumé or CV if applying to roles in the U.S.
April 4th– The #LetteroftheDay is “O” as in Offer
You’ve been job searching for six months and you’ve finally received a job offer. Your first inclination is to accept immediately and get to work –not so fast.
Here are a few things to consider before accepting an offer:
- Is there room for a counteroffer? 75% of the time there is. Negotiating more money or more perks up front can pay big dividends
- Do you have any questions about your benefits? Now is the time for clarification
- Is the offer in writing? If not, I would ask for it to avoid “misunderstandings” down the road
- Is the timing right? Does the agreed upon start date work for you?
- Are there any contingencies to worry about? Completion of a background check? Drug test? Do you have a reason to be concerned? Make sure you check before resigning from your current job.
April 5th– The #LetteroftheDay is “P” as in Plain Text
There is plenty of misinformation on internet about Applicant Tracking Software (ATS) on how they read a résumé, and what you should and should not do on your résumé to ensure that your information will be read completely.
One simple way to see what an ATS system sees is to copy and paste your entire résumé into a text editor and convert it to plain text.
You will notice that information contained in headers, footers, text boxes, and graphics do not show up. You can use these elements on a résumé targeted for a human reader but be aware that they will go blind to an ATS.