[dropcap]Y[/dropcap]ou’ve probably heard the old adage: “You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.” You may have taken this principle into account when preparing for a job interview, but have you ever given any thought to the first impression your resume may have on prospective employers? Are you presenting the proper message or are you going for
[pullquote]“Tune your resume to the specific role, with details that show why you are a great fit for the position.”[/pullquote]
When responding to a job opening, your resume precedes you. The employer’s first impression of you is based solely on what he or she sees on paper (or the computer screen). Your “uniqueness” or personal brand is what you want to stand out clearly from the other job applicants. And you need to stand out for the right reasons!
Online resume submission has made it much easier for candidates to apply for jobs than in the past, unfortunately for job seekers, it has also increased the number of applicants for the positions that are available. Employers are often flooded with resumes for new openings, so how do you make yours stand out from the rest… and without resorting to science fiction?
Since most companies don’t have the time or resources to interview everyone, they are always looking for ways to filter out candidates as quickly as possible. In fact, some merely glance at a resume once before deciding whether or not to toss it in the “Yes” or “No” pile. While we could write a book about what not to put on your resume, the most important thing (after making sure there are no grammatical errors) is to make your resume as visually appealing as possible so you can stand out from the others.
While some recruiters and corporate HR would disagree with this advice, they don’t work in the motorcycle industry. Enthusiasts who love motorcycles also RUN the industry, too. You don’t have to have the skill of Milton Glaser (he designed the “I Love NY” logo), but where there’s a will there’s a way. Try an image search on Goggle with the keywords “Creative Resumes” and you will see some funny, creative and even ingenious resumes that should help get your creative juices flowing. Resumes don’t need to be 2-3 pages long (in fact, many experts recommend one page), but it should include enough detail to grab the prospective employer’s attention and keep your resume on the “Yes” pile.
The second most important thing to remember: Don’t use the same old resume for every position you apply for in the industry. “Tune” your resume to the specific role, with details that clearly demonstrate why you are a great fit for the position. Include as many of your relevant skills and experience for the job your applying for. If you are a tech, for instance, make sure to include the training you’ve had from the OEMs or tech schools, what kind of diagnostic equipment you’ve used, etc.
This next tip is obvious, but often missed. Make sure your resume is error free, have a couple of friends or relatives check it over. Simple and unnecessary mistakes such as not adding an apostrophe for a contraction can be interpreted as laziness (Its or It’s, make sure you use the correct form). Make sure the resume and cover letter, if included, are polished and error-free before hitting the send button.
Another helpful tip is to make your resume tell a story or paint a picture of your professional life. Your resume should bring the reader through your experience, accomplishments, skills and knowledge. It should show how you’ve advanced over the years, and what you can bring to the table. Make your resume long enough to tell your story, but short enough to skim in a single sitting. The key is readability and relevance to the job you’re targeting.
Consider including a cover letter with your resume. Some experts say you don’t need a cover letter these days, but not all are in agreement. Better safe than sorry!
According to statistics, here is what employers had to say about cover letters:
• 42.9% wanted candidates to submit a cover letter for each position
• 29.8% felt that they were not important (“I don’t have the time to read them anyway”)
• 27.4% had no preference
While I believe it adds a nice touch to include a cover letter, it’s probably not necessary for many of the powersports industry gigs, especially entry-level porter positions. However, if you decide to write one, employers were mixed as to how long should it be:
• 19% preferred a full page
• 46% preferred half a page
• 11% had no preference
• 24% felt the shorter the better!
Choose A Resume File Format
Finally, when submitting a resume, pay attention to how they want you to apply! Most job listings will state exactly how they want you to apply. If you apply a different way than stated, it could be misconstrued that not being able to follow instructions, which means you’re not able to follow orders.
The employer may want your resume attached to the email message and sent in a specific format – typically as a Microsoft Word document or a PDF. When applying for employment via email, copy and paste your cover letter into the email message or write your cover letter in the body of an email message. This way you’ll have all the bases covered.
Leave the Grimm Fairytales to the other candidates… Follow these simple steps and you won’t scare the employer away!