Is Written & How It Is Written
In one of our previous post, How to Make Your CV Standout we established that due to the highly competitive nature of getting a job in Nigeria, a successful candidate must have a resume that stands out among the hundreds of resumes that will be screened both by the automatic application tracking systems and the human reviewers.
There was some specific feedback regarding how exactly can a CV be structured to pass the applicants tracking system, have a lasting impression in the hearts of the reviewers and hiring managers, and get the best jobs in Nigeria.
We were gracious enough to have seasoned professionals and celebrated hiring managers send us valuable contributions and unique ideas on how to make a resume scale these two hurdles. Surprisingly, their independent submissions can be distilled into two major highlights: what is written and how it is written!
Resume Must Fit into The Job Description with The Use of Keywords and
Based on multiple feedback from most of the hiring professionals, if your resume will be reviewed at all by the recruiters, then your resume must meet the job requirements.
No two jobs are alike; hence your Resume or CV must be made to suit the job profile your prospective employers are looking for.
If you want your resume to stand out, use the same keywords that were used in the original job posting. If you arent sure what to add to your resume, the job posting is the first place to look. Many companies use keyword searches when filtering through a lot of resumes. Having these specific keywords will immediately grab an employers attention.
I think that people are generally unconscious about the importance of keywords when making a CV. By some statistics, almost 70 percent of CVs never get to the human eyes because ATS software companies are using discarded them as irrelevant - mostly because
they didnt have the right keywords. Thats why the first step towards a great CV is keyword research to ensure it goes in the right hand.
A CV should be easy to read and should have all the relevant information, including soft and hard skills, work experience, and contact information. But candidates can make it stand out by sharing a statement or a quote in the header or summary part where they can express their individuality and give a glimpse of their personality and beliefs.
Hertzel Betito, Founder of Freesumes
Using 'power words' and knowing where and when to use them, can jump off the page, and help your resume stand out. Exactly what qualifies as a power word will vary according to the role you're applying for and if its a leadership role - where you would use terms like 'cultivate', 'delegated', or 'facilitated'. While a role where communication is the key quality they're after, you'd be better to use terms like 'composed', ' negotiated' and 'presented'. And in addition, you can mirror a company's language. Look out for favorite phrases and keywords that describe company values, company ethos and how they see themselves and describe themselves to others - and (without being too obvious), weave this language into your own text.
People may say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but when you're trying to highlight your experience and expertise via your resume, a few perfectly placed words can easily be the equivalent.
You'll want to include action phrases that showcase what you're willing to offer, including the positive outcomes that will follow as a result. Some phrases that you may want to consider include: implements successful strategies, presents in a timely manner, showcases innovative solutions, enjoys working as part of a team, and excels in productivity and time management.
It appears hiring experts and industry leaders are aligned on this one thing: Should your Resume go past the first stage, it must fit into the job description with the appropriate lingo. So, it doesnt matter if you are looking forward to filling up the latest N.G.O jobs in Nigeria, HR jobs in Nigeria, or the latest jobs in Nigeria for British citizens, the use of industry-specific keywords can make the difference between whether your Resume goes past a companys applicant tracking system or other resume scanning tools.
We also found out that when keywords are used appropriately outside the Resume, it becomes a powerful tool with which you can advance your career. For instance, use keywords when writing your LinkedIn profile and during interviews.
Keywords come in several categories and must be used appropriately. For example, educational keywords including names of institutions attended, MBA, Ph.D., University of Benin or Princeton; training keywords, SHRM-CP, Six Sigma Professional; previous experience keywords like job titles, years of experience and names of previous employers; soft skill keyword like innovative, efficient, team management, collaborator, ability to work within a multi-cultural setting; and, keywords that provide additional information like your locality and personal contributions to the society.
Are you still wondering if the keywords in your Resume match the job description of the opening? With your resume and job description, you can quickly see how well you match a job with this tool provided by Jobscan. This resume software uses an ATS-like algorithm to calculate your match rate based on skills, job title, and education.
2. Your Resume Must
Highlight the Results of Your Responsibilities.
In our earlier post we referenced, one of the points raised was that job seekers should ensure that the resume is not crammed with unnecessary fluffy information that can bore a potential employer. The Resume should rather include relevant details that will catch the attention of the recruiters such that they will want to know more about you to call you for an interview.
One sure way to do this is to state some of the most important results you have been able to achieve during your day to day responsibilities.
Many Resumes are responsibility driven: you have candidates stating their day to day activities in their previous and current roles without a tangible sense of the results they had achieved in those roles. Getting jobs in Nigeria or in most places is quite a stiff race because many candidates will mostly have similar degrees and comparable experience but a key differentiator will be in the results you have been able to achieve in your day to day responsibilities.
Still confused? This is the difference between your responsibilities and the results from those job roles: Responsibilities are the set of actions the role demands; results are what you achieved while carrying out those actions. For instance:
Responsibility: Daily processing of merchandise payments.
Results: Implemented a new payment system that saved the department
N1 million in overhead costs on a quarterly basis.
This point appears to be so important due to the emphasis placed on it by experienced professionals below:
Dev Raj Singh. Chief Executive Officer at TheYuvas .
Hiring managers are not more interested in your personal information. So, it's important to know what to include and what to leave. Focus more on your previous job, your experience, skills and the project you have worked on. Your job description makes your resume to stand out.
Should we include responsibilities of previous roles or focused only on the results achieved in those roles.?
You should note the major responsibilities that you were tasked with completing on a weekly basis (or monthly/quarterly) BUT ALSO what resulted from the vital job responsibilities.
For example, for a Bank Teller at a bank that has responsibilities to push services and products:
Responsible for upsetting credit card account, mortgages, and personal vehicle loans in addition to bank teller tasking, resulting in achieving minimum monthly sales goals, including an average of five new mortgage loans, 14 new auto loans, and 25 new checking accounts monthly.
For an Human Resources Practitioner:
Responsible for recruiting, interviewing, offer letters, and new hire orientation, resulting in an average of ~35 new employees onboarded monthly
Provide customer service to employees, answering questions on health and welfare benefits, retirement programs, and life insurance to approximately 30-50 internal employee inquiries per week within a company of 300 personnel
Conduct interviews with state employment agencies for terminated employees and/or grievances, with 99% success rate in winning company case against unemployment benefits and/or 90% success rate in resolving EEO or ADA grievances.
Angela Watts, PHR, SHRM-CP, RACR, CCTC, Owner, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Resume Writer at MyPro Resumes & Recruiting
Your best bet is to use a combination of role description and bulleted accomplishment statements. The role description should explain how your position impacts the company, customer or team, should provide scope details (for comparison purposes) and should be packed full of relevant keywords from the posting (in order to pass screening by an Applicant Tracking System or 'ATS'). The accomplishment statements are best delivered as bullet points that concisely describe the context, challenges faced, action taken and results of your efforts (also known as the C-CAR formula). Their inclusion is equally important to intrigue human screeners at the next stage in the hiring process. This format has proven effective in electronic screening, eye tracking studies, across professional levels and throughout numerous industries and fields.
Kelly Garland have been in mid to exec level recruiting for 20 years. See his contribution below on the need to have both the responsibilities and accomplishment in context and he gave examples on how you can go about it:
without context of what your scope and responsibilities are, the accomplishments lose relevance. I really don't like to see a list of accomplishments at the top of a resume not tied to a job. Case in point, I had a resume of one of the top logistics
people for one of America's largest retailers that moved to a much smaller company. All the accomplishments were listed at the top, which diminished their impact since you didn't know if it was for a massive or small company. A 3% improvement on $900M
in logistics spend is way different than 3% for $60M in spend, tie it to the role.
Not only should you include scope and responsibility, you need to open with a short blurb on the company, even if it is well branded. Never let the reader assume anything or expect them to spend time looking up a company they aren't familiar with, delete is only a click away! You have a short window of attention from the reader, get it out there with clarity.
My format suggestion is:
Start with a 1-3 sentence opener on the company. Size, niche, information such as it's a startup company, during my tenure we went public, since inception we have grown to $100M in five years, brought in as part of a turnaround team, merger etc. Explaining a little about the company not only sets the stage, it can also give you am extra chance to sprinkle some great nuggets about what you were a part of.
Next include your scope of management, staff size and role types that report to you. Include what you are responsible for such as budgets, purchasing, advertising, training etc. Depending your situation, you can use a short paragraph or bullets.
Next go to your accomplishments and use bullets here. The reason to use bullet points is to quickly establish a pattern of impact with tangible results, using a paragraph format rather than bullets dilutes the impact. I want to skim down a resume and see impact bullets for every job shouting look what I did.
There is no one set format that works for resumes, you need to think about what you are highlighting and what works best for your experience. Do this for each job but don't be redundant in word usage (I managed 20 times isnt good if you will be expected to write memos to a staff, plus it stinks). For each position keep showing you have always made an impact and improved things. Everyone wants to hire the person that can help make their own job and the company better, let them know you make it happen!
These are a couple more feedback to buttress the importance of this point:
Stacy Caprio. Owner, Stacy Caprio Inc
When writing a resume, try to keep the focus on the results you achieved, particularly if you are in a results-focused role such as marketing or sales. Companies hire you for end results not for a list of skills or responsibilities, so results should be what you highlight on your resume
This feedback is from Robyn L. Coburn celebrated author of Work in Production, who specializes in writing Resumes and cover letters for the entertainment industry:
Robyn L. Coburn, Owner, Work in Production .
State the responsibility using the keywords that are in the job listing, as a bullet point, AND add a stepped in bullet with a great metric that highlights the achievement with nice active verbs. Metrics should include numbers, which draw the eye and
work best when they include change over a specific time frame.
Use the Summary to bring focus to your achievements in a more general way,
summarizing the results from the last few jobs or projects, then go into
more detail in the individual listing.
As you continue your search for a job in Nigeria, remember that your resume has two major hurdles to cross: the automatic tracking system for institutions that use those software and the human reviewers.
What you have written on the resume will help you past the initial auto-selection barrier. All the hiring and resume experts who wrote about this agreed that your resume must fit the job description with the use of keywords and power phrases.
The other thing you must do to scale human reviewers is to ensure you accentuate the responsibilities listed in your resume with the results you achieved when carrying out those day to day roles. This was how Ineke McMahon, one of the most recognized and established Executive Recruiters and Career Strategists phrased this idea:
Ineke McMahon, Chief Executive Officer, The Path to Promotion .
With two decades of recruitment experience at executive levels My advice is to list your responsibilities backed by achievement data!
This bonus tip is from Matt Hayes, Hiring Manager at Backpacker Job Board .
Dont be embarrassed to drop names.
People love a celebrity encounter. The term 'celebrity' will mean different things in different fields - it could be any form of industry influencer, whether a business leader, a famous writer, or a world-renowned scientist - but no matter what the celebrity in your field looks like, if youve worked for, with or near one, dont be shy in mentioning that fact on your resume.
The name drop shouldnt come across desperate or overt, but mentioning that youve worked with a renowned individual can do wonders for the visibility of your CV. The recruiter will often want to hear more about the encounter, giving you an opportunity to not just tell them what you learned from the experience, but to show why youre the perfect candidate too!
All the best!
Thankyou for reading the blog!