Devil is in the detail: Resume Tips

Candidate applications - what gets noticed and what gets you declined… tips for a difficult market

As a recruitment professional, in the last 8yrs I have been fortunate to work within a number of buoyant markets and busy sectors but as many will testify recently, times are tough across the nation and as a job seeker, securing a new position can be a stressful and troublesome process, particularly if you’re in a candidate rich sector (such as Mining, Oil and Gas, Construction)

Keeping this in mind, I have created this piece to highlight what might be making the difference between you securing a call back, interview or step back into a market.

“The devil is in the detail”
Clarity of information is vital as a job seeker, you would expect (when reviewing an advertisement) to understand what the job entails, what you will need to be successful and where you’ll be working.

The same is true for your application! As a talent acquisition member for Skout, we often note major issues that disqualifies candidates straight away! 

Here are my Top 5 points of interest: 

1- Job Location vs Your Location:
If your CV & Cover-Letter doesn’t explain why you’re interested in a role outside of your immediate area, it is highly likely you’ll be rejected. You need to explain & account for why your location won’t be a barrier for the new position. If your application is for another state for example, ensure you are explaining how you will be capable of living in a new location and what support network you’ll use.
Hiring teams will often discount applications outside of the target location as the risk and costs involved can be out weight the candidate background.

2- Content and Reasoning: 
I can’t stress enough the importance of content, both in the cover letter and CV. 
Your CV needs to explain (quickly) what you do, that you’re qualified and why you’re suitable for the role (this is the important bit) that you’ve applied for. 
Generic cover letters suggests to a recruiter and hiring manager that you haven’t done your research and don’t appear to value your application.
Are you changing career/Industry? - We need to understand why – Sending an application for a role outside of your career so far, can be confusing without the correct context to the recruitment team.
Adopt the Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) thought process, don’t get bogged down in pages of content and make sure you’re information is correct. 

3- Format:
99% of issues with CVs that cannot be reviewed are format based. An industry standard for a CV is PDF and Word. In a time where there are any number of software options and cloud based IT solutions, make sure that the file you’re sending to potential employer’s works! 
Using screen shots from your phone or tablet, hand written copies, and those with large files embedded within the CV can often crash or corrupt the employer’s email server and might not give a professional first impression (you can include tickets and certificates in an additional document)
CV sizing is an important thing to consider. Another is who has created your CV, if you are not the Author of your CV then this can create doubt in your application in general. Last format related point is typos or spelling mistakes, this can be compounded if you list strengths like ‘Attention to detail’ 

4- Positive Language:
It is important not to paint negative picture on your previous career, whether that might be a former employer or those you have worked with. Giving off a negative tone can cause doubt about whether a candidate might be a good fit culturally and whether they will create an atmosphere later down the track. In high paced, high volume industries securing a team orientated and collaborative atmosphere is vital.

5- Correct Contact Details:
On every campaign we note errors in contact details both for the candidate and their nominated references. Spending that extra moment to ensure your mobile, address and email details are correct ensures you don’t miss out. It is also worth mentioning what your email address might suggest on your behalf. Creating an email address that suits your target audience is a simple process these days and using on with potentially embarrassing or inappropriate content again might put off an employer. You should also make sure the references contact details are right and more importantly they are expecting someone to call, more often than not, we speak to contacts that can’t even recall the person we’re hoping to secure a reference on. This again, does not paint a positive picture.


David Frayne

Talent Acquisition for Skout Solutions - Perth

Recruiting on behalf of Broadspectrum 

about the author

David Frayne - Talent Acquisition Specialist - Perth

David Frayne is the TA specialist for Skout Solutions Perth


  • 17/01/2018 Jamie
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  • 19/03/2018
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