On a Monday morning of December 15, 2020, the Founder of The Perfect Resume (TPR), Melissa Peacock, was invited by the NSW Cyber Security Innovation Node to be a Keynote Speaker and share her wit and wisdom with Year 10 students on the importance of creating resumes that would help them stand out.
Melissa kick-started her presentation by reminiscing about her student life, which did not only inspire the participants but also drew their attention and kept them very entertained. After finishing her degree with distinction, she started working in a position that allowed her to read and shortlist people for interviews which paved the way for her to be knowledgeable and highly skilful when it comes to creating an effective and well-rounded resume.
“I found a way to share my story and help people like yourself to stay focused on your careers,” said Melissa, unfolding her objective which is to encourage the attendees who are in the process of starting their race of life.
Along the way, she taught them the importance of a good resume design and the six vital sections that hold significant importance to the readers, namely: profile, skills, education, and technology, reference sections and the career summary table.
“In the 6 seconds they take to scan your resume, yes, you heard me right, 6 seconds, the hiring manager’s mind will rapidly jump to conclusions,” Melissa stated, emphasising how necessary a resume’s organisation and design is when trying to land a job. Aside from having an eye-catching layout, another significant thing to consider is the choice of words. Melissa asked the group, “If you were to hand in a blank resume with no content, would you get an interview?” The answer is of course a big no. “Therefore, this suggests that the words you put in your resume are extremely important!” she added.
Most companies nowadays sort out resumes electronically with the use of an Applicant Tracking Systems or ATS, picking out applications that include keywords and phrases related to the job. Therefore, not making room for the right and relevant words on your resume can cost you the career you’ve been dreaming of. This is where a professional resume writer comes in handy. “My job today is based around helping you to become the most competitive person in a pile of resumes,” Melissa explained.
Believe it or not, psychology plays a prime role in recruitment. We live in an evolving era wherein we are constantly seeking a “human touch” despite everything being just a click away. As much as possible, recruiters tend to cherry-pick someone who feels more authentic to contribute a great human experience in the working environment, over someone with a robotic personality. A downside to this is that the process can be biased sometimes. Melissa explained that the products TPR create are unconscious-bias proof since evidence-based psychology is utilised in every single resume.
According to Glassdoor, a corporate job offer attracts around 250 resumes and among them, only 4 to 6 aspirants are invited for an interview. At the end of the process, only one hopeful applicant can obtain employment. See how fierce the competition is? 54% of resumes are rejected, simply because they are not customised, nor tailored which is based on the studies conducted by CareerBuilder, a trusted employment website.
Piece by piece, Melissa broke down each component of what creates a very compelling resume, starting with the profile section, which is the first thing a hiring manager sees. “They are looking for what they want. In those 6 seconds, their psychology make-up is 100% selfish.” she exclaimed. Now, this is the main reason why one should closely pay attention to the job posting and tailoring the resume’s profile to the wants and needs of a company.
The next segment Melissa introduced to the students was the skill section, where applicants can showcase to employers the abilities, they possess that can aid them to succeed in the role they are pursuing. One might sigh and say, “but I am just a student; what or which skill can I include?” Come to think of it, to acquire an extensive skillset and land a good job you need some experience. But to get experience, you are required to have a job. Tricky! This is one of the major thoughts that discourage students and fresh graduates from running after the position they’ve been eyeing on. Because of this, Melissa lighted a fire under the attendees who have a few or even zero work experience by stating that they can still create and come up with a noticeable resume that would get them shortlisted despite being shorthanded.
“As a student, you can say that you are knowledgeable in the theoretical framework that sits behind these solutions. Or even better, perhaps you completed a project while you were studying, or you helped a company during an internship,” she said, motivating the spirits of everybody and teaching them how to use their academically-gained experiences as leverage. “Make them (the skills) relevant to the position being applied for. Highlight your knowledge in particular areas, your ability to add value to the team, and the areas where you can really help the company.”
Melissa then introduced the dos and don’ts students must consider when writing their resumes’ education section. “List your short courses, certificates, diplomas, and degrees,” she informed them. Since most of the people in the crowd were youngsters and are still in the process of learning, she advised them to focus on what they’ve gained throughout their student life. Before closing her talk regarding the education section, she also informed those who felt troubled or worried to reach out to her after the session.
Technology has greatly influenced our working lives today. Imagine working in an office 30 years ago when emails never existed yet, when business communication was done over the telephone or in-person, and when tasks were manually completed. It was very different and very inconvenient. According to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, the findings of Industry Insights 3/2018 — Future Productivity uncloaks how digital technologies bring benefits to the Australian economy through increased productivity.
Most companies existing today are taking great advantage of what technology can offer, for it is very close to impossible to operate and succeed without it. This is why employers prefer recruiting someone who is at least tech-literate if not tech-savvy. Including a section that portrays one’s knowledge in this area is key to making a very weighty resume. “A basic list of the technology and software you have used will be fine,” Melissa imparted. “If you have a chance to do some short courses in these (software and technology a job requires), it would be well worth your while.”
The fifth section on the list is the career summary table, the piece containing the timeline of one’s work experience. Although her audience may not have sufficient exposure to work, she still advised them to list down the casual job they had on the side while studying. Whilst, it might be very unrelated to the job they are aiming for, a manager will favour someone who’s already employed rather than a person who has completely no experience. She also informed them to take precautions when listing information on this section. “If you have bounced around from restaurant to restaurant while you have been studying and have spent less than 2 years at each one, this will be negatively perceived by the employer”, she warned, informing them regarding the doubtful-filled questions which it may cause.
The job of resume writers is very integral for they give a jobseeker a lead against those who also want the job by crafting The Perfect Resume. Melissa wrapped it up by kindly extending her generosity, offering free resume reviews to any student or professionals who need additional support by simply emailing an existing resume to firstname.lastname@example.org or by visiting the TPR’s website www.theperfectresume.com.au. Please feel free to do so!