CV Improvement Tips, Job Search Tips

The 15 Most Overlooked Details On A Resume Or CV That Will Surprise You

Written by mrafeeq · 6 min read >

Photo by Tyler Nix on Unsplash

It’s understandable that you want to get your resume or CV out there as quickly as possible, but it is also important not to overlook the details. The hiring process has become more competitive and the competition is fierce for many positions. You need to make sure you are on top of your game at all times in order to stand out from the rest.

While most professionals are keenly aware of the need to present their experience by listing company names, job titles, and a list of responsibilities and accomplishments, several details can make a resume or CV stand out from the crowd.

This article will examine several pieces of information or content most job candidates overlook, which add depth and transparency to a candidate’s background, spurring further consideration by recruiters and hiring managers.

1. Industry Participation

Add any industry conferences you’ve attended or spoken, or volunteered at. Perhaps you’ve contributed to any guidebooks, sat on committees, or spearheaded the local chapter for the organization.

This demonstrates a commitment to advancing your profession or industry and that you are willing to go the extra mile to learn, teach, and help others.

For some candidates, this is a no-brainer, but many still overlook the importance of demonstrating active industry participation. Of course, the bi-product of participating in industry conferences, meetings, user groups, or content development is that you network with others — giving yourself access to innumerable resources.

2. Community and Non-Profit Experience

While Industry Participation above often means working in a volunteer capacity for an organization, your resume or CV should also include volunteer work for non-work-related organizations, such as non-profit institutions related to the environment, arts and culture, education and literacy, faith and spirituality, animal welfare, or other missions.

Besides showing a more ‘human’ side of you (see The ‘Human’ Side of You, below), this experience shows that you have managed to budget and harness your free time in efforts to better society in some way. Additionally, as part of their larger corporate social responsibility goals, many companies regularly encourage employees to take time to volunteer for non-profit organizations as a conduit of employee empowerment and strong community relations.

3. Social Media Links

In the age of LinkedIn, resumes or CVs created in Microsoft Word should have links to a candidate’s social media profiles at the top, near the contact information. Since the late 1990s/early 2000s, it has become expected to include a mobile phone number; it should now be expected that links to Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ profiles — and a Skype ID — should appear as well. Links to Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram channels are a wildcard; include, but with discretion, as these are considered the more ‘social of the social networks.

Many believe that only candidates seeking specific roles, such as in marketing or media, should include social media links on a resume or CV, but this is a suggestion for any professional these days. At the very least, a link to a LinkedIn profile is necessary.

4. Links to Completed Projects

Why discuss your past work when you can have recruiters and hiring managers access and review it directly? Include links to past projects — documents, websites, code, reports, and other information — right in your resume or CV. The links can go to the source files or upload the documents to a site you control. If the information is confidential, try to create a more public-facing version, with the sensitive information removed. This can give hiring managers an immediate, more precise idea of your performance and capabilities and demonstrate your willingness to put your best foot (or work) forward.

5. Certifications and Non-Degree Study

Companies today want capable employees. Some will train you or pay to have you trained; others will not. Frequently, budgets fluctuate, yet organizations need to have their best people prepared.

Displaying certifications you’ve undertaken on your own or at past positions shows your willingness to engage in lifelong learning — a key goal of organizations.

6. Teaching and Training Experience

Conversely, besides seeing your willingness to learn, recruiters like to see your ability to serve as an instructor. Teaching is itself a profession, of course. Still, professionally, employees are often tasked with explaining a process or a set of concepts to coworkers or clients, often without prior experience.

Companies are eager to seek candidates who can instruct, as you can be called upon to perform various tasks. Instructing also means leading, and this experience also comprises those elusive ‘leadership’ skills all companies covet.

7. The ‘Human’ Side of You

Though Community and Non-Profit Experience described above certainly contributes to showing the human, the personal side of you, go further. On your resume or CV, mention how you spearheaded the neighbourhood yard sale, organized the school field trip, or learned snowboarding. These off-the-cuff accomplishments all contribute to your narrative, again demonstrating to recruiters your ability to juggle both professional and personal commitments and create value for others around you.

Besides, the more unlikely or off-the-beaten-path the undertaking, the more likely it will engage the recruiter or hiring manager in a conversation.

8. Missing Meaningful Introductions

Does your CV have a paragraph at the top that goes something like:

Senior Librarian with ten years experience of managing online resources in the health sector. literate, results-driven manager with several years people management experience seeking exciting and challenging new opportunities in the blah blah blah…

The yawn is a severe issue. It would help if you never gave the impression that you are bored or tired. In addition, it would help if you seemed engaged and interested in the position you are applying for. This will help your application to stand out from the crowd and attract the attention of recruiters.

Why should anyone hire you if you are bored, tired, fed up, or just not interested in the job? To win a job, you must be enthusiastic, alert and ready to jump in and start working. The position of a candidate is to convince a potential employer that they would be a great employee.

So get up, walk around, stretch, smile, greet people and practice being enthusiastic and interested in the job.

If you’re unsure what to write in the ‘Introduction’ section of your CV, stick to a brief summary of your career history. For example, “I have had a variety of roles and responsibilities in marketing and communications over the last 10 years, most recently as an executive communications consultant.”

9. Not using Active voice

Active voice is considered to be a more robust and persuasive style of writing. In contrast, passive voice is less direct and forceful, and it can be used to describe someone else’s actions rather than your own. Therefore, when writing your resume, you should aim to avoid using passive language. For example, you should not note, “my project was completed” or “I was selected”. Instead, it would help if you wrote, “I was selected to complete the project”.

Don’t be a lazy reader! If you see a job description that asks for “implementing ERP software,” that doesn’t mean you need to do that. It simply means the employer wants someone who can do something. The only reason to mention “implementing ERP software” is to show you have the skills to do that. It’s perfectly acceptable to leave it out, and even a good idea to do so. It simply means you can’t do it, which might not be a bad thing.

10. Failure to demonstrate and quantify results

A recruiter wants to see the results you’ve achieved in previous jobs. This means the company could hire you. It shows how well you are likely to do in this job. It is about numbers — numbers of employees employed, amount of money earned, sales made, or whatever your goals are. Without showing quantifiable results, it might seem like you have responsibilities yet did not show initiative or achieve results.

11. Not customizing cv to the requirement

When you’re applying for an available position, you may not have the right skills or qualifications for the job. Also, if you’re applying for a job that requires a specialized skill set, make sure you include those specific skills on your resume. If you don’t, you might be eliminated for a reason related to a lack of relevant skills.

12. Not keeping the design simple

Yes, you want to leave a lasting impression. However, using a colourful, busy font on the wrong CV template will only confuse employers trying to read your qualifications and career history. Too much is more diminutive. Show creativity in a way that will make your CV stand out without in-your-face details such as different font sizes and styles and distracting borders.

13. Missing out vital contact information

One of my friends told me that his resume was looking pretty good until I asked him if the phone number she had listed on her resume was correct. When he checked, he found out that the number was incorrect. After correcting, he started getting the calls that he had been expecting. So always double-check even the most minute details when you’re preparing for an interview.

14. Not including visa status

If you are an international applicant, it’s critical to mention your visa status; if your right to work in a nation is based on this, you must do so. If you don’t disclose that you have a work visa, the employer won’t realize that you’re legally authorized to work in that country and may reject your application. Visa categories for foreign workers are changed regularly; some types have limitations; it’s better to be upfront about it right at the start so that neither of you has to waste time completing the process only to discover that you’ll need a visa sponsor, which might end up being a lengthy and expensive procedure.

15. Missing out important keywords

It is crucial to include keywords from the job ad in your CV to improve your chances of being hired by a firm. It’s also essential to use these terms in a natural-sounding manner. However, don’t go overboard. To avoid appearing forced or unnatural, refrain from using too many keywords in your CV and ensure you’re not using them in a way to make yourself sound like you’re not qualified for the position.

Conclusion: In sum, it is vital to portray a range of your skills, talents, and abilities to recruiters and hiring managers. However, do not fear including experience on your resume or CV that you feel may veer from what is considered the mainstream, for such information may set you apart from the rest, piquing interest.

Remember that all experience is an experience — even if you were not paid for it. Frequently in our lives, we pick up some of the essential career experiences while not on the job. As such, your resume or CV should reflect that. In conclusion, it is crucial to include the most overlooked details in your resume or CV. It can be challenging to keep track of these small pieces when writing a lengthy document that multiple people will likely read. However, if you want to ensure that every detail is included and fully communicated, then the above checklist should help!

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