When you have recruited tens of thousands of casually employed promotional and event staff over a 22-year period, you learn a thing or two about how to review resumes on mass, what to look for and what makes the cut!
What it is on resumes that get our attention for all the right reasons? How do you make it stand out from the crowd and land that crucial next interview?! Whilst we all want to showcase our extensive experience, it is important to streamline information to ensure that a potential, time poor employer finds, reads & retains all the important bits. But more importantly, ensure that those important bits do stand out and don’t get lost in a cluttered resume because the assumption is, more is best!
Creating that first impression.
In our industry, making the first cut is all about the application and resume.
When applying to an agency like MEA for a casual in store Christmas role, or, as a brand ambassador on an events team, your application is the agency’s first impression of you. With hundreds of resumes being reviewed on an average day at MEA, making the short list will come down to your application – made up of a cover letter or email introduction, AND your resume.
How to stand out & be noticed
1.The Email / Cover Letter – Introduce yourself by addressing the employer in your email and referencing the job being applied for. What you say and how you say it will set the scene - so ensure its short, concise and to the point.
(NB: A cover letter is a must if the job advertisement asks for one, so take note, as many employers will simply delete a job application if a resume has been sent with no cover letter when asked for one. Sound harsh? Not really when you think that not following a simple directive from the outset can be an indicator to a prospective employer that your attention to detail may be lacking or that you have disregard for what is being asked.)
2.The Resume: Vital statistics – Your vital statistics should always appear at the top of your resume. These should include your name, home address, suburb, state, postcode, email address, mobile and date of birth.
3.The Resume: The introduction – Introduce yourself both professionally and personally by listing a minimum of six professional skills and six personal attributes that you believe make you perfect for the role you have just applied for. Be sure your attributes and skills make you the right fit for the role, as a future employer does read these as they start to humanize the applicant on paper. These should always appear after the vital stats.
4.The Resume: Your employment history – Starting with your most recent role, list who you worked for, job title and bullet point what you did in your role. If you have moved frequently between roles and companies, then it can be helpful to any future employer to understand why you moved around, as you want to ensure assumptions aren’t made from frequent movement being a result of not lasting in a role for any negative reasons.
5.The Resume: In closing – Summarise your education (both high school and tertiary if any) and any certifications you may have gained, along with any charity/voluntary work you may have done (this can say a lot about a person too). Summarise any hobbies/pastimes you partake in, but only if there is a fit between those mentioned and the role being applied for, otherwise leave out. Be sure to list three references (minimum two professional and one personal or if not listed on your resume then state you will provide references upon request).
Stand out from other promotional staff and land that interview!
So, in following the above tips, make sure you keep the text in your resume to a minimum, be short concise and to the point. A resume layout is key and can be an attention grabber too – so if you are slightly creative, add a bit of flair to it in the way you lay it out, ensuring that it is still easy to read for the time poor employer and is memorable for all the right reasons. A great resume is easy to read, so ensure it looks uncluttered and clean.
So now with a resume that makes all vital information quickly identifiable, make sure the head shot compliments the resume and role you are applying for.
A professional head shot should be taken from the chest or shoulders up, as this humanises your resume. They say a picture tells a thousand words, therefore use your picture to characterise who you are and bring the written words in your resume to life!
But a word of warning, a picture can say more than the thousand words and a bad picture can undo a great resume.