Are you wondering why after sending your resume to company after company you have not gotten many responses? The reason could be simply because you were not qualified for the position, or there was a lot of competition for the role. In either case, if you felt that you are qualified and could leave a lasting impression if only you secured an interview, then you should focus on optimizing your resume so that you can land that first meeting.
A mistake that many job seekers make is to send a generic resume to many companies in the hopes that the more they send the more likely one or two will be interested. When it comes to job applications however, it is not a numbers game. Your top focus should be on the quality of your applications not the quantity. As such, when applying both to a Japanese company, or foreign firm, we recommend customizing your resume for each position you apply for in order to showcase how you are a good match for the position and secure an interview.
In your Rirekisho (履歴書) you may not able to elaborate too much as typically you should only include the date and general experience. However, when writing Shokumu keireki-sho (職務経歴書) you have the ability to be more creative and include more information about your experience. Making sure the content on your resume is targeted to the position is the key to unlocking your future job.
So how do you create a targeted resume? Below are 6 steps you can take to make sure your resume is customized to each position you apply for.
1. HIGHLIGHT YOUR RELATED EXPERIENCES
After studying the company, and the description of the job post, you may have a feeling that this position is the perfect fit for you and what they are looking for is reflected in your experience. Go ahead and jot down your relevant experience on a piece of paper, then look at the job description and pick the skills and related experiences out from the list. This process would ensure you pick out your essential experience, and leave out any of the unnecessary information that you may have included otherwise. You may have all the necessary experience, but if you do not highlight it on your resume and water it down with some of your experience that the position is not looking for you risk having your profile rejected.
2. INCLUDE YOUR TRANSFERABLE SKILLS
After reviewing your related work experiences, the next crucial part that you need to think about is what soft skills you posses that relate to the position. These soft skills may not be very apparent on the job description and are things such as people skills, communication, character traits, attitudes among many other skills and traits. By understanding the company and it’s direction, you can do an analysis of what skills may be required for improving the performance of the company in the near future. For this purpose, several transferable skills or soft skills maybe come in handy.
For example, is it possible that you bring something new to the company? Cross culture management, negotiation, and leadership are examples of some of the transferable skills that fit with your resume. What about communication skills? Both verbal and written communication skills is important for building strong teamwork within the company. Try to relate your achievements in the past to showcase your soft skills and relate them to the position.
3. FOCUS ON YOUR ACHIEVEMENTS
One of the important aspects of a strong resume is showing your accomplishments, particularly through using quantifiable metrics. Previous similar work experiences is a good starting point to show the company you are good candidate. If you showcase your quantifiable results, it helps the hiring manager visualize your strengths and your successes. Using percentage changes, the amount of sales or revenue you contributed to will make you stand out from the competition.
A great metric to use is showing how you contributed to an increase in sales or revenue. To demonstrate this you can include a bullet point along the lines of: “Increased sales by XX% after implementing...”
4. DECIDE ON THE APPEARANCE
Just like your professional appearance in an interview, your resume is also held to a certain standard appearance wise. For the formatting, standard practice is to follow a chronological order in your work experience and within each section prioritize skills and accomplishments that is more related to the position rather than only listing the responsibilities.
To make it more visually appearing and also easy to review, use some design elements such as bullet points, bold or underline company names and job titles to guide readers through your experience. Take look at some sample templates for ideas on ways your can format your resume.
To stand out even more, try to create a format that matches the company's branding. It could be the company’s art style (look at their website design, article formats, or font they used and color palette, etc). This would be going above what is expected but can leave a lasting impact on the hiring manager.
5. USE KEYWORDS
Oftentimes when hiring managers review resumes, they scan the resume and look for a number of keywords that match the requirements of the position. Your goal should be to have those keywords throughout your resume so that they flag your profile as a good match. To do this, try to mimic the language used in the job description and include those keywords in the bullet points in your work experience.
When expressing your soft skills, be careful to avoid overused words such as “passionate”, “determined” or “motivated" among many others. These overused words will not make your profile stand out the way you intend to. Instead, use action words like “ problem-solving” or “manage”.
Carefully check the format, spelling, dates and all other fine details in your application. Never forget to proofread before submitting your resume to avoid the possibility of getting rejected because of mistakes on your resume that you could have easily prevented with proofreading. If you are working with a recruitment consultant, they would be happy to help you craft the perfect targeted resume. Sign up to meet with a recruitment consultant in your industry.