Overturning a Dire Resume: How to Appeal to SME Employers

At the hype of HR as majority of the industry is chasing HR technology like a moth to a flame, Links International is keen in offering clients and candidates value beyond the latest systems. 

Recently winning multiple awards across Hong Kong and Singapore at the HR Vendors of the Year awards, Links is recognised for our achievements in bringing the best to our clients. Our suite of professional HR services is created to meet the needs of HR professionals across Asia Pacific. Designed with a human touch, our goal is to provide the professional support that you need to develop your career and business.

Scott Thomson, our Group Managing Director was recently featured in a SCMP segment called the Career Doctor where he responded to a query from someone writing in. The segment is dedicated to providing candidates with professional HR advice. Here's the original response:

 

Career Doctor: 3 Tips Help You Better Advertise Yourself


Question from Tim:

“I have worked in an IT company (SME) for almost 20 years and for the last 8 years I specialised in project management and leading new projects. Recently I am pondering a move into leading companies for greater opportunities. What are the three key things my potential employer would like to read from my resume except my loyalty?  What can I do to put myself on equal footing with those who already have impressive job exposure in different industry?”

 

Career change can be a daunting process, especially for anyone who’s been with the same firm for over 10 years.  Job seeking is a skill and you may be rusty at, but don’t worry it comes back with a bit of practice!   Candidates who have worked with one company for an extended period of time often worry that  employers will think that they have less exposure, are set in their ways, or may question whether such candidates will be able to adapt and adjust to the new demands of a new role.

 However, these concerns are often ungrounded and a long tenure can be refreshing for employers and an asset when explained well.   Having a CV with more than 2 years experience at each company will stand out a lot in Hong Kong given the number of people with "jumpy" CVs as a result of regularly job hopping!  Here’s three key ways to improve your resume, reassure your future employer and stand out from the competition.

 

1. Treat your resume as unique

Think of your resume as a sales pitch for the value you will bring to your new employer!  Everyone’s story is unique, so you should treat the resume as such and not a generic list of your skills and academic achievements. For starters,  if you’re in project management chances are you have been involved in a ton of different types of projects so think which of your experience is likely to be of interest to each potential employer.   Stop looking at your years of experience at the same firm as a disadvantage use this as an opportunity to instead explain your long term view of a career and a good relationship with your employer.

 Looking at your experience, the first questions recruiters will ask are:

  • What made your stay?
  • Why the change now?
  • What kind of opportunity are you looking forward to?

 By providing a concise explanation of your past, present, and future, you help your recruiter or employer build a better impression of you as an individual. This act of anticipating the employers queries also allows you to demonstrate character, helping you stay away from overly generalised descriptors.

 

2. Quantifying your achievements

The goal of a well crafted resume is to illustrate a comprehensive picture of who you are. For a candidate who has been with the same firm for a long time, a great idea is to use numbers and percentages to support and demonstrate the diverse work you have involved and the contribution to the firm.

 Figures help give substance to your achievements and paint a clearer picture of your influence on the development of the company.  Such facts and figures also help demonstrate your initiative and responsibility in tracking your performance.

 

3. Demonstrate your aptitude for change and development

Aside from the questions mentioned above, what recruiters and employers will want to know the most for candidates who have been with the same firm for over 10 years is whether they have moved with the times.

What you want to do is to demonstrate in your resume your desire to grow and develop. This can be incorporated in your personal description and in the way you’ve addressed the questions earlier.

Another way recruiters can get a feel of their candidates is in the appearance and formatting of the resume. Make sure your resume is in keeping with the times, the best ones are crafted concisely with a professional and modern tone-of-voice. Avoid over stylising resumes. Research shows that recruiters spend on average 7 seconds looking at a CV so your best bet is to keep it clean and simple, positioning crucial details more prominently.

 

Take home message

Ultimately what you want is to find the right opportunity for you, so don’t oversell or try to become someone you’re not. Having a "stable" CV already helps you stand out in the market!  Conveying the depth of your experience at that single company, your long term view of career development and a bit of job seeking practice is the key to picking up that new role!

SCMP Career Doctor

 

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Links International

Links International

Links International is an award-winning industry leader in innovative human resources outsourcing in Asia. Links was established in 1999 and has offices in Hong Kong, Singapore, Shanghai, Zhuhai, Macau, Malaysia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Australia.

 

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