Plan to stand out from hundreds of job candidates? Think that downloading free resume and cover letter templates will land you a job interview? Although doing so may not be foolproof, you are getting somewhere – online references can give you a good idea of resume formatting. But one of the best ways to make that employer or HR executive call you is to keep your written content short, sweet, simple – and most preferably original.
Roy Rivera, our Career Services Consultant from the Centre of Professional Development (CPD) conducted a workshop for students at Raffles College of Higher Education, Singapore. And here are the highlights:
What makes a good resume?
Every good resume is able to make a good impression within 20 seconds. Because that is the average amount of time that employers spend on each resume before it is chucked into oblivion, never to be seen again. Top reasons for employers to reject resumes include: lengthiness, bad spelling and grammar, incorrect details, bad layout, no relevance, and no cover letter.
- Mentioned job-related skills and what you can offer to the company.
- Spell-checked, and preferably proof-read by at least one friend.
- Neat and professional-looking layout.
- Consistent font usage. The simplest strategy is to stick to one readable, formal-looking font and use it throughout.
- Cut away unnecessary information. Your employer does not have to know that you enjoy long browsing sessions on sites like Facebook or 9gag.
If you want to work in another country, studying overseas in the country of your choice helps. Having a local address in your resume gives potential employers the impression that you are serious about the job.
Once you are done with your own resume, try applying the 20-second rule on your masterpiece. Will you hire yourself?
Just for fun, Roy created mock resumes for Peter Parker and Tony Stark. Who do you think wrote a better resume?
Why is a cover letter important?
Here is a little insight on how the short-listing process goes on the inside:
1) The resumes of every applicant are printed for sorting.
2) After the employer or HR staff has sieved through the irrelevant entries, the decision-making process moves on.
3) As a fresh grad, no stranger will be putting in good words for you unless you have a fantastic reputation. Your cover letter will explain to every staff member why you are the right person for the job.
4) Interview questions will usually be set based on the cover letter and resume you send. Sometimes, the person you emailed your resume to might not necessarily be the one interviewing you. So, the email message you attach your resume to does not always replace your cover letter perfectly.
They key point is to draft your cover letter to reflect professionalism and capability. A good cover letter is ideally 3-4 paragraphs long. The first paragraph should include a short self-introduction and the reason why you want to work at the company you applied for. The second and third paragraph should mention your qualifications and other characteristics that make you the best person for the job. In your last paragraph, end off with giving them your email and mobile phone number. Be proactive and say you will call them a week later or so regarding the outcome of your job application.
Send out your resume!
This can be a daunting task if you are shy and it is the first time you are applying for jobs. But you will get used to it as you start sending out your resume to more places.
You can find employers through: online job portals like: JobsDB, Jobstreet, Monster.com, or Job Central.
If you know the exact field you want to work in, good for you. Start looking at company websites for relevant positions. Some companies are so busy that they do not have the time to post recruitment notices. So do them a favor and send them your resume! It also shows how resourceful you can be as an employee. It leaves a good impression!
Friends, family, and lecturers can be a good source of job recommendations too. If you do not have any immediate contacts, consider looking for a good recruitment agency. Not all recruitment agencies require job candidates to pay for recommendations. So look out for agencies that charge their corporate clients – not the jobseeker.
Guest Speakers: Salvation Army
Raffles invited the team from The Salvation Army to give a talk. They introduced volunteer opportunities and invited our students to volunteer their skills and talents.
Charity organizations are good for fresh graduates or students to gain job experience. Not to mention, the volunteer work is done for a good cause! It does not matter whether you study design or business – your skills could be put to good use. It is a good solution to the problem of some jobs expecting fresh graduates to have relevant experience.
Want to find out more about studying in Raffles College of Higher Education, Singapore?
Send us an enquiry! Everyone’s case is unique and we want to give the best advice that works for you. To ensure quality education every semester, there are limited seats in Raffles. And they are filling up fast! Need more information? Fill up an enquiry form and an experienced Education Consultant will provide you with a free consultation.