If you have changed your name due to marriage, don’t forget to change your name on your voice mail and any pertinent documents such as email addresses and signatures, or your resume. If you have certificates from when you were single and concerned they may create confusion, you could include your maiden name in brackets in the personal details on your resume. It is about recruiters or employers being able to join the dots easily.
It’s nearly four years since I wrote a post on Tips for School Leavers Looking for Work which can be found here. If you are preparing your resume and wondering how to give it a point of difference, try re-visiting your Work Experience Reports. If you did well in your placements and received good feedback, those comments can be quoted at the top of your resume. How does that help with your job search? While potential employers are looking for aptitude they are also looking for the right attitude. Work Experience Reports can be a good source of detail about your character and personality. They may describe how well you commit to tasks, interact with others and fit in to a team. Don’t forget sporting or school awards either, but only from your time at secondary college and focus on the most recent ones.
21st century resumes can be read in multiple versions of software, via e-recruitment tools, or on a range of devices. It’s important to understand then, that the use of headers in your resume, as with other formatting, needs to be managed carefully.
When I opened a resume recently there were no personal details showing, even though they showed quite clearly on the printed copy. The personal details were contained in a header on the first page and it didn’t show up when I opened the document.The question immediately arose as to how many times this had happened when opened by various tools or differing versions of software.Having not used any other headers or footers the document was lacking name and contact details, so in an environment where resumes often don’t get printed out, this document would be rendered useless on various occasions.If you want to use headers and footers on your resume, that’s fine, I would just suggest that you don’t use a header on the front page, unless you are prepared to take a risk.
Monitoring jobs ads every day as I do, you come to notice trends and changes as to which skills, tickets and licences are being most sought. One current basic requirement for individuals working in construction, whether in mining, oil and gas or civil construction, is the OHS Construction White Card. A significant number of people seeking work hold the Red Card, which, as I have checked with Work Safe, is still a valid card. Even though the Red Card is valid, I suggest to my clients that they update to the White Card, as what we are seeing is an increasing number of companies rejecting the Red Card. This is possibly due to the timeframe in which they were acquired which is now a long time ago in the world of 21st century work. Again, having checked with Work Safe, I have ascertained that if you present yourself with your Red Card, and photographic proof of identity, such as your Driver’s Licence to a Registered Training Organisation authorised to deliver the White Card qualification, for a small fee a new White Card will be issued by Work Safe (without the need to repeat the training).
Given the current climate in the job market, I thought I would revisit a previous post on Speculative Cover Letters with an added suggestion to what is already there. As well as searching job advertisements for clues to what potential employers are looking for, it would also be useful to visit the website of the company you are applying to. Take a look at their values, their mission statement, how they say they operate and speak to that in your cover letter, e.g. if safety is one of their stated values and you have been part of a team that achieved a safety award, include that in your letter.
Made redundant recently, or current project come to an end? If so, you may be finding it a bit of a challenge to get work at the moment, or at least to get work as quickly as before, particularly in industries such as mining or oil and gas. How do you address that? Perhaps it’s time to re-assess your approach. Here are some things you can do.
- Remember, over 70% of all jobs are filled worth of mouth, so who are you talking to?
- Registering on Linkedin, the professional networking site at https://www.linkedin.com may help. Take a peak, play with it, look out for names you know, make the connection. There are job listings as well and you can follow companies. If you do decide to register, it will take commitment to set up your profile and check in regularly to monitor areas of interest.
- Now for your resume, fold the first page in half and look at what is listed in the top half. Will it make a recruiter want to read more? No? You may need to make changes as we know a resume gets between 10 and 20 seconds attention, sometimes less.
- Is your resume e-recruitment tool compatible? In the 21st century it needs to be.
- Check resume details, start at the top. Your personal details – has your address or phone number changed? If you have included your date of birth, delete, it might be working against you, even if you are young.
- Your email address, is it a professional one or something like email@example.com? If a recruiter cherry picks your email address onto a spreadsheet or similar, which email address do you think will keep your name up front and centre, firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com? It’s best to use your name in a job search email address, and again, don’t use your birth year if you need to use a number.
- Set up signatures in your email account. Include your name, your job title, email address and phone number, and Linkedin address too if you want. Use every opportunity like this to brand yourself.
- Make sure you have your name, phone number and email address on each page of your resume.
- Qualifications and training – are the details up to date? Add any recent training you have completed. Check the expiry dates of listed training and licences to ensure currency (and check your licence cards, e.g. your Licence to Perform High Risk Work to make sure renewal hasn’t escaped notice).
- How long is it since you have undertaken any training to improve skills? Many of the large employers favour people who are continually value adding to skills, and yes, I know it costs, but it may be worthwhile.
- Your most recent job, has it been added to your resume? You would be surprised how many people forget to do that.
- How long is it since you spoke to your referees? With so many people working on short term contracts and projects, details can change quickly. Check-in with your referees, make sure they are still willing to be your referee and that all contact details are up to date. Tell them what your intentions are, who you are applying to. It’s an important conversation to have as referees can make or break a job application. They may also have the inside scoop on upcoming jobs. It has become important to include referee email addresses as many recruiters and employers are electing to send out questionnaires rather than phoning.
- And finally, make sure your social media is squeaky clean, over 90% of employers and recruiters will google your name to see what comes up.
While not an exhaustive list, it will help to make changes knowing that just one small change might give you the competitive edge in getting over the line. Attention to detail, presentation and professionalism are important, particularly in a tight market.