By Laura Shepherd, Marketing Manager
The COVID-19 Pandemic has left the world in an unprecedented state…millions of people are without work, and professionals in the business aviation industry are no exception.
For those who have devastatingly found themselves without jobs, the thought of making a re-entry into an already competitive industry might feel like a daunting task. Thankfully, as we weather this storm and wait for operations to return to normal, there are things you can do to prepare for your return to the workforce. One of the most important uses of your time? Perfecting your resume.
We’ve all felt the frustration of staring at a computer screen, trying to transcribe our years of work into single bullet points, but feeling that the lack-luster sentences on the page before us fail to depict the type of employee we’ve actually been, and the goals that we’ve so proudly achieved. Chances are you’ll end up feeling uninspired, search for examples of resumes written by other people in your industry, and tweak their language to fit with your own experiences.
But is that really the best way to accurately represent yourself to a potential future employer? Probably not.
Studies show that the average recruiter or hiring manager spends 6 seconds reading a resume…that’s only 6 seconds that you have to tell your story and make a positive impression that will ultimately determine your future. While this may sound near impossible, I can assure you, it’s not.
Prior to kicking off my marketing career (and brief stint as a corporate flight attendant), I worked at a recruitment agency where I spent hours upon hours sourcing resumes for the best candidates to fit various job descriptions. I literally spent all day reading resumes on job boards, and I can attest that the average amount of time I spent on each resume was pretty darn close to 6 seconds.
Though my recruiting career was short lived, I did walk away having gained a very important piece of knowledge…how to write a stand-out resume.
So I am here to share these tips with you in hopes of landing you that next dream job.
1. Include Keywords from the Job Posting’s Requirements and Qualifications.
By far the most important part of a resume are the keywords that are included throughout the body. Recruiters and hiring managers are ALWAYS looking for buzzwords that align with the requirements or qualifications presented in the job description. Be sure that you are including some of these keywords from the job description into your own experience.
For Example: The requirements on a job posting for a “Corporate Flight Attendant” position could read:
“To perform this job successfully, an individual must be able to perform each essential duty and responsibility satisfactorily. They must have experience working large cabin aircraft. Knowledgeable of the proper use of the cabin equipment and controls. Crew resource management skills are essential for normal and emergency operations.”
As an applicant I would make sure that my job responsibilities included keywords and phrases like: “large cabin aircraft,” “Crew Resource Management,” “emergency operations,” and “cabin equipment”.
2. Begin with a professional summary, objectives or “about me”.
There’s a good chance that if a hiring manager or recruiter reads any of your sentences at length, it will probably be the 1-2 lines at the top of the page. The key is to keep your summary short and sweet…and remember to use keywords where you can.
For Example: Two templates that work great to structure your summary or objectives are:
“I am a qualified [job title] with [x] years of experience, actively seeing a new opportunity that utilizes my [Skillset 1], [Skillset 2] and [Skillset 3].”
“My goal is to obtain a [job title] position that utilizes my [Skillset 1], [Skillset 2] and passion for [Skillset 3].”
3. If a certain education level or certification is required, list them at the top after your resume.
Including education and certifications at the beginning of a resume will show immediately that you meet the most minimum requirements for the job. It will also showcase areas where you exceed these requirements, as well.
4. Make sure your job titles are accurate to your job.
Job titles can vary from company to company – and sometimes can be very vague or confusing. While I am certainly not telling you to lie on your resume, it is perfectly ok to tweak your job titles (within reason), to better align with, and make clear to an outsider, what responsibilities you were actually doing at a specific job.
“Focus on what you achieved, not your tasks…”
Ideally a resume will be one page. Keep your previous job responsibilities short and sweet…focus on what you achieved, not your tasks. Use those keywords to make your bullet points powerful.
It’s also advised to leave off any jobs that are irrelevant to the one you’re currently applying for or took place prior to the last decade….if you absolutely must include these jobs, use minimal detail (1-2 bullet points is fine)… remember, if your future employer has questions or needs clarification, they can ask you at a later date!
6. Make the dates of your jobs stand out.
One of the primary things hiring managers and recruiters care about is the number of years of experience a person has…this is often the #1 thing that makes a candidate appear qualified. Make sure you have a start and end month and year for each job. This allows a manger or recruiter to have a sense of your career path at a glance. Be sure to highlight this by using bold font or unique text placements (a good idea may be to put the dates in a separate margin away from your titles).
7. Include a ‘skills’ or ‘expertise’ section.
If there are certain technologies, languages or skills you’re proficient in, make sure these are loud and clear! This is also another great place to include keywords…I am a huge fan of using small icons to further illustrate and draw the eye in. Feel free to get creative.
8. Don’t be afraid to stand out!
A resume is a representation of who you are…and you’re not just the same cookie cutter word document in Times New Roman!
Remember, hiring is a monotonous process and recruiters and hiring managers often see a different version of the same resume over and over again. The ones that are visually different are the ones that stop them in their tracks.
Think of it like scrolling on Instagram…you’re scrolling continuously until you find that one piece of content that stops you for just a second, long enough to take it in and even double tap to like it…that’s really all you need! You want to create a resume compelling enough to stop the ‘scrolling’ and get those 6 seconds to tell your story.
Play around with (minimal) use of color, different fonts, borders, and even photos and icons. If you’re not a designer, maybe solicit the help of a friend or an online resume builder. No need to go crazy, but don’t be afraid to have fun. It’s all about knowing your audience and finding a balance of professionalism, thoughtfulness and creativity.
Pro Tip: Google “Visual Resume” and you’ll find thousands of resumes to inspire you, as well as some templates and online tools.
9. Create your resume specifically for the job you want
Be sure that you’re creating your resume specifically for the job you want. If you’re applying to several captain positions on different types of aircraft, make sure you have different resumes to highlight your expertise on each type.
For jobs that might require a bit more creativity (flight attendants and marketers, I’m talking you!), design your resume to visually represent those talents.
What will work for one job, will not work for another. You should be designing and writing your resume specifically for each job you’re applying for and making sure to use relevant keywords.
Pro Tip: Do some research on the company to get a sense of their tone of voice. If the company portrays a fun and casual vibe, chances are they’ll appreciate a bit more flare to an applicant’s resume. Again…know your audience!
10. Make sure your contact information is clearly visible.
The goal of creating the perfect resume is to get an interview, where you can wow the hiring manager with your vast knowledge and colorful personality. Make sure your Name, Phone Number and Email are displayed clearly towards the top of the page. No address necessary.
Remember…YOU are your best advocate and the best person to tell YOUR story. Take some time to think about how you want the person on the other end to hear it.