Words by Bianca Oana Asanache
Is your resume working for you or hindering your potential?
The biggest mistake people make when writing their resumes is being generic and focusing only on the tasks they performed, rather than on quantitative achievements.
When checking your resume, employers look for three main elements: experience, education and skills. If you’re looking for a career change, then including a career objective to communicate your career goals could be beneficial. A career summary, on the other hand, is a short description of your skills and qualifications that explains why you’re a good fit for the role.
But what can you do to improve your resume and turn it into a marketing document?
Be specific about your accomplishments
Your resume needs to show that you’re an expert in the field of your choice. Numbers help employers show what you’ve done rather than telling them you did. Saying you’re good at your job is different from demonstrating this with facts and figures.
Oftentimes, we’re led to think that quantity and quality are trades off when in fact the opposite is true. Quantity leads to quality when it comes to showcasing achievements on a resume. Concrete, quantifiable accomplishments demonstrate your abilities, service record and value.
The quantitative, in combination with the qualitative characteristics, distinguish you from your competition. It’s all about relating your experiences and accomplishments to the job you did.
The key question you’re trying to answer when presenting your resume: Can you add value to this company?
How to do it
1. Based on your industry and role, identify the measurable metrics such as sales revenue, cost reduction, customer rating, response time, etc.
2. Next, select the areas where you had the most impact. Quantify the change (before you/after you) as a result of your actions.
3. Make sure you use action-oriented verbs and active voice in your applications.
Here are some examples:
· Completed the project in 2 months.
· Led a team of 10 members.
· Successfully reduced churn rate by 10% in 3 months.
Remember: Tailor the resume to the job description
Employers are looking for candidates who can add value to the role they’re filling. When a company first introduces a new position, they look for individuals who will adapt quickly to the company culture. Your resume should highlight your capacity to thrive in a new and different job.
To show your potential employer that you have such capacity, you should custom your resume for every application you send out. Sounds like a lot of effort but it’s worth it. It’s the difference between making it to the interview and never even making it through the applicant tracking system (ATS).
First, research the company you’re applying for. Their mission, values, work culture, etc. (Glassdoor is a valuable partner in this process). You want to demonstrate you’re able to adapt to that specific environment, so sending generic details that may have nothing to do with that role won’t make the cut.
Make sure you emphasize the ways that a particular project taught you skills that will be useful in the new position you’re targeting. It’s not just about what you already know but also transferable skills and willingness to learn new ones.
Specific tips for professional migrant women
However new you are to the Australian job-hunting process, you may know that professional migrant women face some extra obstacles in landing their dream job. We mentioned some of them → here.
Acknowledging this is the first step to prepare you for what’s ahead.
Grammar errors are never acceptable
Many recruiters are concerned that migrants may lack critical language skills for performing well on the job. Employers place high value on workers with strong communication skills.
A grammar error-free resume is the best way to show your communication skills. Use tools such Grammarly, Pro Writing Aid, Hemingway. It’s worth considering a premium version of Grammarly to save time and stress.
Don’t forget! → Australian and American English have different ways of spelling certain words so be mindful of that.
Highlight your local experience
Put local experience (if you have any) right at the top. Even if you don’t have local experience in the industry you’re applying for, recruiters want to see that you know how to move within the Australian scene and that you have an understanding of its culture and society.
If you don’t have local experience yet, consider volunteering. Or reach out to city councils and specific organisations that offer work experience opportunities.
Remember that being bilingual is a superpower. Highlight this whenever you can, not just in the language skills dedicated section. For example, you can start your career summary with “Bilingual environmental engineer with 10+ experience working in an international environment.”
Are you proud of your IELTS test score? Add your level of proficiency to the language skills section.
Have you attended a speech club such as Toastmasters? Write it down.
Are you one of the lucky ones with no work restrictions? PR visa? Put it on your resume.
Have you worked in a multinational organisation with a “big” name (for example Toyota, Apple, Citigroup)? Use that name across your resume.
Don’t be afraid of oversharing as long as the information is relevant to the job you’re applying for. Use every extra piece of data that can put you ahead of the game.
Employers look for people they can trust and rely on. It’s hard to spark that emotion with a document such as a resume. Think about it.
That’s why we PMWs value the power of networking.
Your resume isn’t the only thing you need to perfect when trying to land a job and networking won’t guarantee you the job either, BUT it would help in breaking the invisible barriers of employment in Australia in a way that a piece of paper simply cannot.