Are you applying for what you’re certain is your perfect job? It’s more than likely that you’re aware that the pressure to impress is now on. Making a good first impression so they can’t turn you down all depends on what you put in your resume and cover letter. This includes your skills, qualities, work experience, and achievements. But you can’t simply list them down, you need to showcase how well they align with the employer’s requirements.
To help you write a winning resume and cover letter, here are some tips on showcasing your professional capability to potential employers.
1. Display your skills in practical ways
The skills you should put in your resume are your key personal skills (aka soft skills) and professional skills (aka hard skills) that align with the role you’re applying for. Near the top of your resume, include a “Strengths” section for your personal or soft skills, and near the bottom include a “Skills” or “Technical Skills” section for your professional or hard skills.
If you’re applying for an executive position, for instance, you should choose up to four key skills and back them up with a tangible benefit or result. This’ll elevate your leadership skills and declare loudly the organisational problems you can solve.
For example: Agile project leader, focused on close collaboration with the business across a diverse range of projects to ensure the delivery of customer-centric solutions that realise revenue uplift.
You can also provide proof of your skills in the work experience section of your resume.
a) Personal or soft skills
Here are some examples of personal or soft skills, along with practical ways to express them:
- Adaptability – Highly adaptable, mobile, positive, resilient, patient risk-taker who is open to new ideas.
- Problem solving – Productive worker with solid work ethic who exerts optimal effort in successfully completing tasks.
- Planning and organisation – Results-driven achiever with exemplary planning and organisational skills, along with a high degree of detail orientation.
- Teamwork – Resourceful team player who excels at building trusting relationships with customers and colleagues.
- Quick learning – Fast learner who is able to grasp new concepts and ideas quickly, as well as master new skills quickly such as learning a new technology for work in a short amount of time.
b) Professional or hard skills
Professional or hard skills you should include in your resume are technologies you currently use at work and have used in the past, such as Microsoft Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Also include language skills, computer programming skills, and other hard skills. Make sure to describe how you applied these skills at work and what you achieved by using them.
2. Include strong action verbs
An employer would want to see competencies that demonstrate your skills and experience in solving organisational problems. You can do this by including strong action verbs in your resume, such as:
- Shaped vision and strategy.
- Drove continuous improvement.
- Forged relationships with influential stakeholders.
You should also choose action verbs according to your level. Pick transactional if you’re a manager and strategic if you’re an executive. For instance:
- Execute vs spearhead.
- Persuade vs inspire.
- Developed vs shaped.
3. Use numbers to illustrate your experience
If you’re applying for a Special Events Manager position, for example, you can use numbers to illustrate your experience in your cover letter. But use them within context so the employer understands what you’ve accomplished and how it qualifies you for the position.
For instance, you can write: It took 640 hours, eight weeks, and 50 volunteers to pull off a successful event.
4. Provide data to back up your achievements
To make your cover letter stand out, you shouldn’t just say what you’ve achieved, but also provide data to back up your achievements. For example, if you say that you saved your clients money by implementing a new cost saving system, also include how much you saved them. This’ll show the employer how impactful your contribution really was.
Here are other ways to write your achievements:
- Increased revenue by 10%.
- Reduced employee attrition to under 3%.
- Conducted successful contract negotiations with ABC Industries, resulting in savings of $3 million in 2017.
5. Use a relevant quote to highlight your expertise
Using a quote in your cover letter can add more value to it. Choose a quote that relates to your experience, passions, and the job position. However, more than the content of the quote itself, you can use this to showcase your areas of interest and breadth of knowledge. Then tie it into your experience and explain how it summarises your qualifications.
For example: Stephen R. Covey once said, “Accountability breeds response-ability.” As an experienced manager, I believe accountability is the key to success in any work environment. In every management position I’ve had, I’ve encouraged my employees to be accountable for their successes and failures, which is why my leadership style will be a great fit for this position.
6. Address how and why you’re uniquely qualified for the job
The purpose of your cover letter is to illustrate how and why you in particular are suited to the job and deserve the opportunity to be interviewed over other potential advocates. Tailor your experience to the requirements specified in the description so you can address how you can meet those needs. Share examples with measurable results on what you’ve done, how you did it, and how it helped the employer or your team.
7. Showcase your passion, not just your relevance
In your cover letter, don’t just say why you’re qualified for the job, also explain why you chose your career path. You can do this by illustrating your passions, dreams, and goals in relation to the position. It’ll show the employer that you’re passionate and will be motivated to do your job.
Prove your professional capability with Deakin’s micro-credentials
As you can see, there are many ways you can showcase your professional capability on your resume and cover letter. So if you’re applying for a job and want to stand out to an employer, simply follow these tips. If you’re lucky, you could land an interview and get the job!Deakin offers a range of solutions for learning and development that can help you prepare for a new job and your future career. Find out about how our micro-credentials and other services can assist you by contacting us today.