Every time employers publish a job role online, they can expect to receive a LOT of resumes or CVs- thousands in some cases.

If you want to stand a realistic chance of being picked, your resume needs to be the best it can be.

Here’s how you can work on improving your employability as well as presenting yourself in the very best way.

photo

Improve your qualifications

You might think that just because you have a bachelor’s degree that you can rest on your skills, but actually, it’s not true.

If you graduated a while back…that degree might not hold as much weight as you thought- especially if you’ve been working in an unrelated field ever since.

Employers often require candidates to have a bachelor’s degree as people who have them tend to be faster at learning and easier to train then those who don’t- not because of the knowledge you learned on your course.

If you want qualifications that really count and will impress employers, consider studying again. Recent certification, especially if it’s backed up with work experience is what really matters. You could go back to university, either full or just part time online.

It could be anything from an online masters in special education to a engineering or english degree- but importantly, it should be closely linked to the job you intend on applying for.

If you don’t have the time or inclination to study for years again, there are plenty of diploma courses that can be gained in around four or five months part time and look great on your CV.

When it comes to older qualifications such as school and college results, if it’s been years since you passed then you don’t need to make a reference to every grade. A line saying that exams were taken and passed will be enough, and prevent you from wasting valuable space.

Gain some experience

Experience is one of the most important things on your CV, while you’ll need the right qualifications to get considered- they often don’t  mean much unless you’ve used them in a practical setting.

We all know the catch 22 situation here, you can’t get a job without experience but you can’t get experience without a job. But one thing you can do is voluntary work, an excellent way to build your skills and show employers that you’re serious about getting the skills you need to succeed.

If you want to become a social worker for example, doing some voluntary work at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter while studying for your qualification would be a smart move.

If you’re planning on going into any kind of law enforcement role then there are often opportunities to volunteer with the courts, probation, police and prison systems.

Think about what would benefit you most. Aim to volunteer for at least an hour a week, the more you can do the better. You’ll get a good reference from whoever you’re working with, and can add all kinds of valuable skills to your resume / CV.

It could be the difference between getting the job and losing out to someone else if you’re up against a similar candidate.

Think about your hobbies

It might seem strange why employers would be interested in your hobbies- after all, most of us are very different people inside and outside of work. But actually, hobbies can be a great, subtle way to show employers you have other skills that they might well be looking for. For this reason, list your hobbies carefully- putting down only those that will be useful for the job position.

For example, if you’re applying for a very team based job then mentioning that you play a team sport could show that you really can work with others- rather than just saying you can (which lets face it, everyone says on their CV).

If the job you’re applying for requires a creative flair, a mention to the fact you go to an art class or are writing your own novel are excellent ways to show employers that you enjoy creating and it’s something you have a natural talent and passion towards.

Don’t just list of generic hobbies such as socialising and going to the gym. And while you shouldn’t lie, taking up some new hobbies that improve your skills while looking good on your resume could be a great way to self develop.

The length

A resume / CV should be no longer than two pages long. If yours is longer than this, it’s time to strip it back. Remove anything that’s not relevant to the job you’re applying for, and cut the waffle.

There are lots of space saving hacks you can utilize, in regards to references, for example, you don’t need to include them or even write ‘available upon request.’ If your employer wants them, they’ll be sure to ask you.

If you have jobs listen that are more than ten years old, they can be removed. Your summer jobs at college and university aren’t really relevant, or old temping jobs you had when you were younger.

It’s tempting to want to list everything you’ve ever done, but ensure you’re just mentioning recent relevant skills and experience that are related to the job you want. Avoid long rambly personal statements and keep it snappy, you want something that will jump out to whoever is reading your CV amongst masses of others.

The AppearanceThe way your resume looks is more important than you might think. First and foremost, it should look professional and easy to read. It sounds like common sense, but black text on a white background is always going to be suitable.

Other things to consider are if it’s consistent throughout, if you’re adding headers in bold in a larger font then they should be like this all the way through, and your line spacing should also be consistent. Sans serif fonts are considered more modern than traditional ones like Times New Roman, Calibri is good readable sans serif option. Avoid fancy fonts or anything that could make your resume look childlike or amateur.