This is the second part in an ongoing series what to write on your resume to apply for a job. If you haven’t read my earlier post, Why you’re not getting an interview, go back and have a read so you can get a foundation for this article. Also, if you haven’t read Gordon’s post on the differences between a resume and CV, do it now as well.


Recently, in my everyday job outside the work I do here at Successful Graduate, I’ve been looking at resumes for a position my company is looking to fill around digital content production. A lot of the requirements are within my hard skills set and in fact cover things I was doing a few years ago, such as video production, social media marketing and writing. I still do those things in some capacity (among other things, I film and edit the videos for this site), but my experience means I’m well placed to determine if a candidate is suitable for the position or not.


So far, I’ve seen some deceptively overqualified applicants express interest in the position. Some applicants seem more qualified than me, despite only recently graduating. In fact, CEOs, executives and directors have all applied for an entry-level officer job.


Now, when I see those positions on a resume for an entry-level position, straight away I have three questions:

  1. What is the company?
  2. How did you score such an awesome job?
  3. Why do you want to go from being a director to an officer?


If you remember, in the LinkedIn Makeover special pod (by the way, as a special offer you can access the entire knowledge bank including pods for free, do it!), Anna McLeod said that an increasing number of recruitment and hiring managers look at social media and LinkedIn and use Google to find out more about their candidates.


I’m one of the majority.


When I saw directors, CEOs and executives applying for a content producer’s role I did some research. I didn’t like what I found, and I don’t think most other recruiters like it much either.


Let me start by being positive:

I think it’s awesome that grads are moving with the new economy by establishing their own consultancies to create full time workloads from several part-time contracts. It’s also great that grads have passions and are creating companies with friends to pursue their shared interests.


I have my own consultancy and I have several clients across a broad range of sectors, as do several other people at Successful Graduate.


The less positive:

If you started your own consultancy or formed your own business, tell me in the company description when you write your resume. Don’t just write CEO of Example Company and expect me to work it out straight away. You need to tell me you are a co-founder.


When you are working out what to write on your resume, there is nothing wrong with putting that experience down –  it can be an advantage for you – I’ll get to that later – but when I do a small amount of research and find out your CEO position is for a company you founded or co-founded and you didn’t tell me, my first thought is: what else are you hiding?

Maybe you simply forgot and not highlighting that you own or founded an organisation is entirely innocent, but just as you need to be mindful of how you dress when in a job interview, appearances matter. I, and many other recruiters, look at you not telling the entire truth and think the inclusion of those roles is there to distract from areas you may not be as strong in.


It’s a really big turn off.


How you can have your cake and eat it too:

You’re really doing yourself a huge disservice by not telling me you started your own company, because that company is a great way for you to tell me more about yourself in a very natural way. If you have your own organisation, tell me why you started it. Is it because you saw a problem you wanted to fix? Is it because it helps you pursue your passions? Did you start it because all your friends wanted help doing a particular task so you created your own service to do it?


Then tell me any challenges or triumphs you had. Did you learn how to manage your time? Can you interact with a large number of stakeholders?


Starting your own company can be used to show your leadership skills, problem-solving skills, work-ethic, initiative and most other highly valuable soft skills that top the list of what employers want. Best of all, you can highlight your strengths while still downplaying your weaknesses. I don’t mind if you lack one skill if you more than make up for it in other ways.


Like I’ve already said: it’s so important that understand how to market yourself. If you need to learn what to write on your resume we have several solutions for you. Our courses are designed to help you navigate the entire job application process.


Successful Graduate helps take out the guesswork when answering job ads. Sign-up today and become a successful graduate!


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