The resume is much more important than the cover letter, it is the heart, the absolutely most important part in the whole application. Many applicants spend hours on the formulation of a cover letter and do not pay special attention to the resume.
This is a big mistake. I explain why you should pay more attention to your resume in this blog article. I’ll also give you tips on writing and building your resume. By the way: I explain how to structure your application as a whole in my article about the structure and scope of an application.
The biggest resume-building misconceptions up front
2-3 minutes I took for an application when I was still working as a recruiter. It is therefore important that you quickly make it clear in your CV that you meet the company’s requirements. So the more specifically you tailor your documents to the call, the better.
This is especially true for the resume, because it is the first thing that is read. The cover letter is usually only read if you are interesting for the job and the company in terms of your qualifications and work experience. The biggest mistakes that my resume writing clients fall for very often are:
- The resume must contain as much information as possible!
WRONG: The resume must all important information include. What is interesting to one employer may be insignificant to another.
- The application decides whether you are hired or not!
FALSE: The application and the CV are only used for, To be invited to the interview. In the interview you then have the opportunity to introduce yourself in more detail.
Writing a CV: 11 tips to make sure the recruiter doesn’t fall asleep while reading it.
Nobody is born as an application ace and making a good application is mainly a question of experience. So don’t be discouraged if you don’t get it right at the start with writing your CV. I will give you the following tips for this:
1. For each application a separate and customized resume
"What? This is too much work!"It is not as difficult as you might think. And the investment is worthwhile in any case, because each tender makes different demands on the applicant. Therefore, you should definitely make the effort to adapt your CV to the specific job advertisement. And look at it this way: you want someone to give you a job in the year z.B. 100.000, – € gross pays. A company expects you to take the trouble to explain what you bring to the specific job.
My tipMake a detailed resume template. It can have seven pages. In it, you list every little thing you did in that particular position. And from this template you then help yourself.
2. Limit yourself to the essentials when writing a resume
Two pages, that’s all your resume should be. Always think about the recruiter who has little time to get a picture of you. The clearer you make the resume and the better you manage to reduce the information to the essentials, the better the recruiter will remember what qualifies you for the advertised position.
Different rules apply to management applications. Here, longer CVs are accepted and even desired, but otherwise the following applies: two pages.
My tip: Summarize several items if you find it difficult to limit yourself to two pages. For example, if you did several short jobs for 5 years, you could do it like this: 2000 – 2005 service worker, retail saleswoman, care of the elderly.
3. How to find out what is essential for the resume
Maybe you are asking yourself now: "What is the essence?? How am I supposed to know what interests the company I am applying to??"
For one thing, it’s clear from the job description. The first step is therefore a thorough spot analysis. In this you work out what you have to offer for the company and the specific requirements listed. The best way to do this is to create a table in which you go through the job advertisement point by point and list all your experience with it. The experience can also be from the private sector
- International company: Experience in an EMEA area
- Automotive industry: experience in the automotive supply industry
- Project experience: house construction, management of organizational development project "Go for IT
In this way you make clear what experience you bring to the job. There is usually more to it than meets the eye. You will also get a feel for what is important for the position and what you should focus on when writing your resume.
My tip: Put yourself in the shoes of a recruiter or manager. If you had to fill this position at this company, what would you look for in a candidate?? What would the applicant need to bring to the table for you?
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4. Resume structure: Clear headings and as few of them as possible
The classic resume structure is as follows:
- Personal details
- Professional background
- Internships, experience abroad
- Studies, school, training
- Continuing education
- Special skills such as languages and IT
- Hobbies or interests
My resume tipLimit the structure of your resume to as few headings as possible. And ask yourself for each point again the question: Is this relevant?? If you already have 25 years of work experience, then your internships are certainly no longer interesting.
5. Personal information in the resume: Watch out!
Some personal information can hurt you, so you should pay special attention to it. The good news is: not all of them are "mandatory". Always think about: what is important for the potential employer?
Personal information includes:
- Date and place of birth (optional)
- E-mail address
- Nationality (optional)
- Marital status (optional)
- Number of children (optional)
- Religious affiliation (optional)
Even if the General Equal Treatment Act (AGG) prohibits discriminating against someone on the basis of nationality, age, gender, political views, religious affiliation or sexual orientation: Unfortunately, it does happen in everyday life.
It can happen that candidates who are actually very well qualified are rejected. Unconscious, deep-seated prejudices repeatedly lead to candidates not even being invited if they have a foreign name, for example.
Anonymous applications have not caught on. It’s a pity, because it is still the case that mothers, older applicants or applicants with a migration background have a much harder time being invited to interviews if they state everything dutifully. For mothers with small children, I would advise against including the children in the resume.
My tip: Attention!! Be careful what you reveal about yourself and focus the personal data on what is really important. The fact that you are married and the number of your children does not say anything about your qualifications. You can still include this information in the interview, but it has nothing to do with your professional suitability for the position.
6. Professional history: much about you, little about the companies
In some resumes I learn more about the companies someone has worked for than about the applicant him/herself. But: industry, products, company size and other marginal information you can safely leave out. For a potential employer, it is much more important to know what function and position you held in the company and what tasks and responsibilities were associated with it.
Management applications are an exception. If you are applying as a managing director, then it is of course interesting to know the sizes and industries of the companies you have managed so far.
My tipBe brief in your resume about the companies you work for. The name and the place are sufficient.
7. Resume writing tips: Understandable position titles
Companies can be very inventive in their choice of position titles. But HR Supervisor can be anything or nothing. However, it’s more important for the recruiter and hiring manager to understand what exactly you did than to know the original position title. Better than "HR Supervisor" is: "Head of Human Resources".
In small companies without their own HR department, employment contracts are not always adjusted promptly when an employee changes jobs or gets more responsibility.
I recently had a client who started in controlling as a clerk. Within 10 years she had risen to the position of manager and managed several employees. However, according to the contract, she was still a clerk.
Presenting yourself in the resume as a clerk is then consistent with the employment contract, but the reader can not get an idea of the qualifications of the applicant. If the position titles are not self-explanatory or, as in the case of the controlling manager, not accurate, then there is a risk that you, as the applicant, will give a false image of yourself: You are underestimated or overestimated, or simply become intangible to the reader.
My tipDo not be afraid to deviate from the position description in the reference or employment contract. In the interview, you can include your contracted position title in your self-presentation.
8. Studies, school, training: What needs to be in the resume?
Reduce to the max. The further back your time in school and training or studies goes, the less important this information is.
My tipSchool, education and studies should be summarized in one section and shortened as much as possible. No one is interested in what courses you took and what grade you achieved in your Abi 30 years ago. You can also safely leave out the topic of your final thesis in your studies, unless it pays off in the position you are aiming for.
9. Further education in the resume
Focus on the most important and the most recent trainings when building your resume. Any training that adds value to the position you are applying for is important and you should include it.
Continuing education from 10 years ago is outdated. This is especially true if you’ve been recognizably unable to apply what you’ve learned to your job. For example, if you have completed training in occupational safety, but your marketing job does not include this task.
My tipFocus on about four to five current and important continuing education courses.
10. Hobbies: Eating, reading, sleeping
This is how boring hobbies and interests often appear in resumes. You really won’t inspire anyone to invite you for an interview. How you can do better:
- Ambitious tango dancer instead of dancing
- Travel to South American countries instead of traveling
- Swedish detective stories instead of reading
My tip: If you include hobbies, make them specific and interesting enough to create a picture in the reader’s mind.
11. Sign resume?
Your signature gives your resume a personal touch. Even if the signature is no longer necessary in the digital age, in my opinion the resume looks more valuable if you have signed it.
My tipScan your signature in a good quality. Then you embed the signature into your resume, add the current date. You already underline that you have created the resume specifically for the advertised position.
I hope you can use the resume writing tips for your next job application. You still have questions or comments? Supplements and other good tips on the subject of job applications? Feel free to write me a comment or an e-mail!
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2 Comments on "Writing a resume: Tips from an HR Professional"
Hello Mrs. Grotegut,
these are all very good tips, nicely summarized in a nutshell! I would like to make one small addition. Yes, the signature gives the documents an individual and personal touch. But I think you should not overdo it with the individuality when signing. The signature should always be just legible, so that you can at least guess the name. Who has a signature, like a doctor, and scribbles only a large squiggle and a curved line, should in my opinion write his name better still in block letters with the word processor under it. Or how do you see it? Does the signature under the application not have to be legible at all, since the name is on the letterhead anyway?
Bjorn Rudnik of Karrierejump.de
Hello Mr. Rudnik,
thank you for your question. I agree with you completely, if a signature is not legible at all, then it is also dispensable. After all, there is no obligation to sign your resume. The signature should in no case look "shuffled along", but rather appropriate to the occasion. After all, the application is about something.