Resume and CV Tips

Resume and CV Tips

In today's competitive job market, a well written resume is the single most important factor in getting your foot in the door and on your way to getting the perfect position. It's important that your resume be as strong and positive as possible. With your resume before them, employers can visualize how you will operate within the framework of their corporation, and how your skills and abilities will be utilized in the future development of the company.

The resume’s purpose is to get you an interview. Recruiters will tell you that employers usually spend thirty seconds on most resumes while thinning the stack. Therefore, it is critical to make your resume stand out and be defensible. Use these tips to ensure your resume gets where it needs to go and that it receives as high a ranking as possible, optimizing your chances of getting an interview.

Resume/CV Guidelines and Checklist

  • Use quality white, ivory or light tan paper for printed resumes and cover letters. Don't use gimmicks like colored or scented paper. Stapling is not recommended and keep your cover letter separate.
  • Make certain the content of the resume is relevant to the position. Customize your resume. You may qualify to work in various industries. Tailor your resume accordingly for each.
  • Follow standard format. There are a variety of resume formats and you can probably follow any of them. New graduates should emphasize education, internships, and grades.
  • Make it easy to read. Even while following standard format, there are a number of ways you can make your resume easy to read including using bullet points or tables.
  • Be brief. One page for a recent college graduate is sufficient. And, experienced job seekers should limit resumes to two pages.
  • Don’t lie on your resume. Mention skills you're capable of. You can mention if you are in the process of learning particular skills required for this job position.
  • Proofread. Don't waste your entire effort by sending out resumes with errors. Errors show a lack of attention to detail and genuine interest in the position. Use a spell checker and grammar checker. And, most importantly, have someone else review your resume; they could find errors missed by spell and grammar checking programs.
  • Use NDT industry terminology. Do use industry terms but don't be too academic with language.
  • Promote yourself. Your resume has to sell you. Write it using action words and be factual with concrete details.
  • Have references ready. Have three references printed on a separate sheet of paper and only provide them if asked.  Make sure you have asked these individuals to speak on your behalf.
  • Stick to the file format. If a company asks for your resume in a specific format and/or provided by a particular method of delivery, then comply.
  • Don’t send your resume as an attachment. To avoid getting caught by security scans, paste it into the body of the e-mail.
  • When e-mailing a resume, keep exclamation marks out of the subject line and body of the text.
  • When e-mailing a resume, don’t use words in the document or headline that could be misinterpreted by spam filters. For example, use “graduated with high honors” instead of “graduated cum laude.”

Applicant Tacking Software (ATS)

Today, large employers use applicant tracking software (ATS) programs for initial applicant screenings. ATS allows employers and recruiters to screen, rank, and filter resumes and CVs. This information is useful for finding matches between openings and applicants. Employers use ATS programs to maintain a database of applicant and job information. The value of this information is enhanced if it can be stored and retrieved electronically comprehensive recruitment workflow, screening, ranking, filtering, scheduling and searching candidates along with custom reports and dashboards.

  • Make sure the keywords in the executive summary and bulleted qualifications and achievements replicate those in the job posting.
  • Keywords alone aren’t enough. State-of-the-art ATS technology relies on contextualization as well. Frame keywords with descriptive material that demonstrates experience and familiarity with the subject.
  • Do not use abbreviations such as “Mgr” instead of “Manager.” It is unlikely that the ATS has been programmed with a list of abbreviations to stand in for keywords.
  • Avoid misspellings. A misspelled keyword is a keyword that the ATS will miss, lowering your ranking.
  • If the ATS offers options, opt for uploading your resume instead of cutting and pasting. This feature often parses information and saves it in the optimal format, ensuring the cleanest presentation.
  • To avoid choking an ATS with a highly formatted resume, make sure your resume is in a clear, concise format, with your contact information located at the top instead of in the header or footer.
  • Do not include graphics or logos on a resume; they can garble the information the ATS processes.
  • If you’re being referred by an employee, make sure the ATS knows it, because it’s “smart” enough to recognize it and will rate your resume higher.

Tips for Effective Resumes/CVs

  • Include an executive summary at the top of the resume. In a few sentences describe what makes you a solid match for the particular position.
  • Provide employment summary details. Sort your previous positions by date; start with your most recent employer, and then continue in descending order.
  • Gaps in employment longer than 30 days should be covered. You'll be more likely to impress an employer if you can show that you used the time between jobs to acquire new skills or additional qualifications.
  • Make the most of your skills and strengths when building your own resume. With your resume before them, employers can visualize how you will operate within the framework of their organization, and how your skills and abilities will be utilized in the future development of the company.
  • If you have served in the military, include this experience. Military personnel offer a great deal of experience and dedication to prospective nondestructive testing employers.
  • Provide the record of your college, technical school and/or certificate history. Emphasize those skills, the education and training that specifically pertain to the position you're looking for. List the highlights of your education and training that clearly fit the type of skills employers are looking for.
  • Include all of your necessary skills and background information. This section provides employers with the general overview of your NDT experience, training and background that they request. Be as specific as possible. Provide full names when listing NDT methods, applications and equipment used.
  • Include key accomplishments that demonstrate your success as an employee. Wherever possible provide metrics used to illustrate having met goals and desired performance objectives.
  • If you’ve received honors and/or recognitions which are demonstrate skills or talents relevant to the position, include those in your resume.

Now, post it. ASNT members can post their resumes (FREE as an ASNT member benefit)