The 7 Most Overlooked Details on a Resume or CV
While most professionals are keenly aware of the need to present their past experience by listing company names, job titles, and a list of responsibilities and accomplishments, there are several details which 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 both 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 or 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, usergroups, 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, many companies, as part of their larger corporate social responsibility goals, regularly encourage employees to take time to volunteer for non-profit organizations, as a conduit of employee empowerment and also strong community relations.
3. Social Media Links
In an age of LinkedIn, resumes or CV 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 certain 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 you can 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, clearer idea of your performance and capabilities – and also demonstrates 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. Often times, budgets fluctuate yet organizations need to have their best people trained.
Displaying certifications you’ve undertaken on your own or while 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 also like to see your ability to serve as an instructor. Teaching is itself a profession, of course, but professionally, employees are often tasked with explaining a process or a set of concepts to coworkers or clients – often without any prior experience.
Companies are eager to seek out candidates who have the ability to instruct, as you can be called upon to perform various tasks. Instructing also means leading, and as such, this experience also comprises those all too 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, personal side of you, go further. On your resume or CV, mention how you spearheaded the neighborhood yard sale, or organized the school field trip, or learned how to snowboard. These off-the-cuff accomplishments all contribute to your personal 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.
In sum, it is important to portray a range of your skills, talents, and abilities to recruiters and hiring managers. 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 actually set you apart from the rest, piquing interest.
Remember that all past experience is experience – even if you were not paid for it. Often times in our lives, we pick up some of the most essential career experience while not on the job. As such, your resume or CV should reflect that.
(Article written by Jake Wengroff)
Comment by Jane K
It is indeed important to include any volunteer work or that kind of stuff on your CV as well. For one, it leaves the potential employer the impression that you are an active person. For two, it will help you stand out from the rest of the applicants.
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