A Resume shouldn't just be a laundry list of all your experiences. It should tell a STORY and CONVINCE prospective employers that you are the best candidate!
1. Figure out what your Employer wants
If you really want to get a call-back, you need to focus on what your employer wants (rather than what you want).
Just like how social media is a "highlights reel", your CV shouldn't be just a laundry list of all the jobs you ever had, with every detail about your accomplishments (and non-accomplishments). It should be a focused "highlights reel" that showcase your skills and strengths - which are relevant to your dream job. Your resume should highlight you as a person, and why you would be an excellent fit for your prospective employer.
2. Weave a Story
Sell yourself! Be your own best advocate.
Based on what your prospective employer wants, arrange your best work experiences and accomplishments into a narrative that sells yourself. Think about how all your past experiences have built up your strengths, and why these strengths can add value to your prospective employer.
Steve Jobs famously said that you can't connect the dots looking forward, you can only connect them looking backwards. Connect the dots for your employer!
Make it easy for HR to select your resume. Consider a summary at the top, use an aesthetically-pleasing template. Especially in competitive fields, you only have a few seconds to make the right impression.
Nowadays, a lot of employers use machine systems to scan your resume. So make sure that you have the right key words and that all the important fields are filled out (dates, contact information etc.)
Put the most important information where they can see it. Use formatting to your advantage. Make it streamlined and easy to read.
Another big mistake is having a resume that is too long. Make sure to keep all your best skills and experience in the first page. You don't want to lose the job just because HR didn't flip to the 2nd page. You only have 5 seconds to make a good first impression.
4. Transferable Skills
Your current experience may not be a perfect match for your dream job. This is where weaving a story is important. You need to pick up the transferable skills from all your past experience, and highlight those parts, to weave a narrative about why you would be an excellent candidate.
A weak resume tells the employer that you are hardworking and willing to learn on the job. A strong resume shows the employer why you are READY and perfect for the job.
If you are lacking in relevant expertise, take the initiative to upskill. Take a short course in the area, read some books, and make sure you understand the company & industry. Be sure to include any other skills or experience you have, including languages, IT-related or any leadership role you undertake in your spare time. This makes you an all-rounded candidate, and an extra hobby/ skill may just inch you above the next candidate.
Applying to a competitive industry? If you'd like an industry professional to review your CV, submit for a review here.