Many employers are time poor and inundated with job applications when they advertise a position. Employers are then forced to screen resumes manually or by using a computer-based program. These methods allow the employer to quickly set aside any applications that are considered to be ‘immediately disqualified’ from getting the job.
This is brutal but it is the truth. It doesn’t have to be you ending up in the discard pile. If you are a fresh graduate your chances of being discredited quickly may be even higher. It doesn’t have to be that way though. Here are our top 10 tips to get past resume screening and find your dream job.
Have a Great Cover Letter
Your cover letter really needs to stand out. Don’t make it too wordy, but be confident and strong in why you want the position and your suitability.
Add Your Extra-Curricular Activities Onto Your CV
What you lack in work experience you can make up for by including any extra-curricular activities you have been involved in. Community groups, sporting teams and more can show your ability to be a member of a team and be involved in something you are passionate about.
Keep Your CV Format Easy to Read
CV layouts need to plain and simple. Avoid anything fancy that may put a computer screening system off or look complicated to the reader. A linear, vertical layout is standard for most resumes and PDF and Microsoft Word documents are most common – we’ll talk a bit more about this later. Always check the applications to see if specific requests are made about CVs.
Don’t Skimp on Paper or Ink
If you’re sending your application via post, make sure your ink is clear with no lines running through your text or fading. Also, make sure you use quality white paper.
Proofread, Again and Again!
Your prospective employer or the automatic computer screen won’t appreciate spelling or grammatical mistakes in your application. Proofread twice and consider getting your application looked over by a professional.
Keep Your Application Looking Professional
Your application must look professional. Avoid multiple formats of text, fonts or colours. Stick to one or two of each (maximum). Even in creative industries, there’s a time to keep it strictly professional. Learning more about your employer can give you a better idea of what they’re looking for, but it is usually better to be safe than sorry.
Submit Your Application in the Right Format
We have already touched on this, but in the digital age this needs a section of its own. If you’re submitting your application online a computer screening may not recognise particular formats. Submit the application in the format specified by the employer. If no format is specified be safe and submit your application as a Microsoft Word Document (.doc) or a Portable Document Format (PDF)
Place Keywords within Your Application
Like Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) you need to place certain keywords in your application so that they can be picked up by the reader or by computer screens. Study the position description carefully and make sure you use keywords from the description in your application.
List Your Education First in Your CV
Reputable universities are favoured by employers. List your education at the top of your CV and make sure you include your majors and any honours or study recognition you may have received.
Think About Your Point of Difference
You need to give your prospective employer a reason to want to meet you just by scanning through your application. Think about what will set you apart from other graduates applying for the job and state clearly what that point of difference is in your letter.
Getting past resume screening for university graduates is possible! Thankfully, with a task like this you can seek advice on how to make your CV sit in the ‘yes’ pile! At NotedCareers in Melbourne, we can offer career management services to ensure you perfect your cover letter and CV for your new career. Let us help you get past resume screening and into a career. Contact us today.