So you’ve come across the perfect role, and you’re getting started on your application. But somehow, what’s in your head isn’t translating to paper. Getting your application right and efficiently communicating your interest and candidacy for the role will help you stand out from the crowd. So how do you go about it?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! We’ve pulled together a four-part series of top tips to guide you in writing an awesome (and feminist) job application!
- Part One: 5 questions to ask yourself before you start your application
- Part Two: Writing a successful resume
- Part Three: Tips for writing an attention-grabbing cover letter
- Part Four: Tips to write the best ever bio
Part Two: Writing a successful resume
1. Tailor your resume to the position
Make sure you highlight information that is relevant to the position first – put it right at the top so the reader can’t miss it.
For example, if you’re applying for a public relations position, the hiring manager doesn’t want to scroll through two pages of retail experience to see that you interned for a media company. Put that at the top of your list!
If you don’t have relevant paid or volunteer PR experience, but have an educational qualification, highlight that.
2. Keep your resume accessible
Yes, all experiences and achievements are important. But they’re not important to everyone. In many cases, especially for more junior positions, a good cover letter can be more important than a resume.
Keep your resume accessible and focus on role-relevant information. Chances are, if you send in a ten-page resume, it will go to the bottom of the pile. Hiring managers have a high volume of resumes to get through and you want to ensure yours stands out when doing a quick scan.
As a side note – be mindful of how you format your resume and save as PDF if possible! Many companies, YWCA included, use online recruitment systems that parses information from your resume. Overly complicated formatting in Word can display strangely on the system.
3. Quantify your achievements
Many people could be a tutor, but only a few can claim that “75% of my students achieved a 80+ average in maths exams throughout the year”. Many people could work in retail sales, but only a few can claim that they were “the only salesperson to achieve sales targets for three quarters in a row”.
Being able to quantify your achievements helps to distinguish someone who does the job, from someone who does a great job.
4. Use active language and power words
Use short and concise description sentences, with active words such as “achieved” and “accomplished”. For example, instead of saying: “While employed at MMM, I was the team leader responsible for increasing sales revenue for the quarter”, try strengthening and shortening the sentence down to: “Successfully increased quarterly sales revenue by 25%”.
As women, we are socially conditioned to minimise our successes and gloss over our achievements. This needs to stop. Tip – try writing your resume with the same unhindered confidence of a mediocre white man!
Power words to use: Earned, achieved, led, excelled, delivered, accomplished, created, innovated
Passive words to avoid: Awarded, given, lucky, participated, assisted, took part in
5. Address that gap in your resume
You may have taken a gap year to travel the world or taken time off to care for yourself or someone in your family. Either way, address it in your resume succinctly. It could be as simple as “April 2017 – February 2018, Parental Leave”.
Women are more likely than men to take time away from the workforce because of care responsibilities. Let’s not perpetuate the stigma of care work but rather address it and move on.
Next up – writing an attention-grabbing cover letter!