In preparing resumes there are obvious clues that many miss and also simple ways to enhance your presentation to stand out from the others. I have listed seven of them.
- Research your company. Write a targeted resume and not a general all-purpose document. Visit the recruiting page/web site of the company and glean useful details about what they may be looking for. Make it obvious that you care enough to spend an hour to understand their hot-buttons. Most companies through their advertising make what they want to be known for very obvious except to the very disinterested. You may be a genius, but you do not want to be perceived as not passionate about your prospective employer.
- Be concise but professional. Do not write your resume in haste. This is the image of your person that you are projecting, so do not be perceived as careless with it. A poor self-image is not humility. On the contrary, it suggests laziness and inability to make the extra effort for things that are important... and this is a put-off. Use an up-to-date word-processing capability, explore templates (avoid the common ones – you want to stand out), Use the spell/grammar check. Use the Thesaurus to find simpler, better choice of words. Your language should be conservative, formal and polite to be safe (except you are applying for a DJ at a radio station). Ensure basic information is easy to find i.e. Career Objectives, Basic Profile, Employment History, Education, References (or available on request) and Summary of other pertinent information ( the key word here is pertinent).
- Integrity is key. Be careful of subtle exaggeration and self exaltation. Do not stretch the facts, avoid superlatives and instead simply present your credentials. Do not say “I was consistently in the top quartile in my class or was an exceptional student”...instead present verifiable qualifications. Do not deliberately hide information to manipulate the process. This is also a matter of integrity. It is acceptable for example to state your age (if required) even though you are over the cap for the job. You may want to add other qualities that support your eligibility. Your rare honesty and candour will be noted. It is much worse to be perceived as hiding your age or other relevant information you imagine not in your favour. You do not want to give the impression that there are more skeletons that will fall out of the closet later.
- Link your successes to the context What company A considers a success may be very different from company B. Research the attributes that are being sought. No need to state that you climbed the Mt. Everest and leave the panel wondering what will be your next adventure and how this will fit the hectic work schedule for the position. However, do not be shy to be unique in conveying evidence that indeed you stand out in what you have to offer. Be careful how you present your extracurricular activities. Sometimes this works and often it may not. Activities that reinforce team behaviour and creativity are generally perceived well. Do not manipulate readers of your resume.
- Get another opinion on your resume. You are the worst person to review your resume. The ideal person to review your resume would be someone in the industry you are targeting who understands the position and perhaps even the typical recruiting process. Remember, the first person to screen your resume may likely be a more junior recruiting officer – (trained to find certain key facts) and not the VP sales looking for a Turnaround Plan. Encourage feedback from your reviewers and rewrite completely if necessary. You can also present alternatives to friends reviewing your resume and seek their inputs to help you make a winning choice.
- Do a value check. This means you put yourself in the position of the target company and ask honestly ... “what value am I bringing onboard?”...if you cannot identify any then reflect again on the resume – if anything has been left out. Do not lie or oversell yourself. The chances are that you do indeed have some unique qualities you just may have missed out.
- Triple check for spoilers. The top spoilers of a resume would be
- Poor grammar/sentence construction/spelling...poor choice of words (e.g. trying to impress with big words)...use standard word-processing checks/Thesaurus
- Too much detail – too wordy...this is not a novel
- Hiding pertinent information and stretching the facts
- Shoddy presentation that conveys haste and lack of care
In addition, do pray. Remember that your source of livelihood is definitely not your employer but God. Ask for favour, grace and the will of God even as He prospers the processing, handling and decision making relevant to your resume. Do not be afraid to ask God to shut doors against wrong opportunities. Indeed, sometimes the best decision from that company needs to be a firm “No” - when God has something better. Finding and keeping that job may not be God’s will.
Deuteronomy 11 For the land, whither thou goest in to possess it, is not as the land of Egypt, from whence ye came out, where thou sowedst thy seed, and wateredst it with thy foot, as a garden of herbs:  But the land, whither ye go to possess it, is a land of hills and valleys, and drinketh water of the rain of heaven:  A land which the LORD thy God careth for: the eyes of the LORD thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year.
I suggest below some prayer points and you should fast and wait on God as you are specifically led by the Holy Spirit concerning the above scriptures to receive clearer illumination - even as you pray. In summary, there is the job that is certainly not for you as a Christian and there is the position you may not consider so attractive but which has the eyes of the Lord in constant watch. We do need divine insight to make the right decisions in a period filled with traps and snares to lure the careless.
As we rely more than ever on the leadings of God we find that He has been waiting for you to seek Him as He responds in love to your earnest prayers. Again I emphasise, lean not to your own understanding..but acknowledge Him more in all your ways.
The prayer points follow:
Father, let me not go to a job that I will water with my foot, toil and sweat. Let me not go back to places and positions I have escaped from only by your mercy. Let me not be deceived by first impressions of ease only to find myself later sacrificing my family, marriage, devotion and spiritual growth. Father, let me not sow my seed, my efforts, time and life on a job you have not selected for me. Show me a clear sign of your approval or disapproval. Give me extra grace to act according to your revealed will. Amen
Father, let me not find myself in a job sustained continually only by human efforts and self-application. Give me grace not to become a one-person show that eventually burns out in a land that devours its inhabitants. Help me not to find employment in a place in which you will not closely partner with me. Amen
Father, give me the grace to walk away from traps and snares cleverly disguised as promotion and growth opportunities. Amen
Father, show me and draw me to the land of hills and valleys that drinks water from above...the place that is nourished by your divine provision and sustained by your supernatural providence and unfailing mercies. Father, let the challenges and barriers trying to stop me from your divine selection of a job be unable to do so. Fix me firmly in the job of which you care and watch over day and night. Amen
Father, let every single day on my job testify greatly of your divine assurance and constant watch over me. Amen
Loss of your present job may just be God’s answer to prayer and you may need patience and a period of preparation before release into His best. Ask God to help you not to fret. Worrying reveals to you that your confidence is in self/man and not God. Receive grace to trust God more in His dealings.
(Bode is author of Wealth out of Ashes which contains career related wisdom from the word of God)
Remember – give your life to Jesus Christ. Do not wait another minute.
God bless you.