Are you new to the workforce, thinking of a career change or promotion, seeking employment in another sector or planning on entering the work force after a few years away from full-time employment?

If your answer is yes and you don’t know where or how to start, you may want to consider seeking professional advice.

You can cut your learning curve and avoid wasting time and making costly mistakes that can ruin your chances of winning the interview for that dream job.

What you need, first and foremost, is a resumé and cover letter with a “wow” factor. Your resumé is your strategic marketing tool. Jobseekers have been writing resumés or CVs, as they are known in some countries, for decades, yet they are boring, lack excitement, passion and dynamics and are totally devoid of thought, style or flair.

After you have submitted application after application and haven’t got that call back, you really need to re-look your resumé. You need to do a better job selling yourself. Your resumé has to convince your would-be employer that you have the skills needed for the job and the abilities to do it successfully and proficiently.

And it needs to do that in less than 45 seconds, which research shows is as much time as a recruiter or employer will give to your document before deciding if you are worthy of an interview.

Strategic marketing tool

The specific purpose of your resumé is to win an interview. If it doesn’t, then, it is not effective. Remember, the competition to win that interview is often fierce. A resumé is like an advertisement, nothing more, nothing less. Your resumé has to be:

* a strategic marketing tool;

* easy and quick to read; and

* the means to sell you as well as your skills and experience.

Your resumé must, after being read within 30 seconds, convince, inspire and excite the human resource manager or recruiter to want to reach for the phone and invite you for that very important interview.

Your resumé should:

* Highlight your skills and achievements as well as who you really are as a person;

* Focus on delivery of skills needed by your would-be employer;

* Provide evidence of your abilities, qualities and achievements;

* State clearly your career objective and why you are the perfect candidate for that specific job. Target your audience;

* Lead with your 30-second elevator pitch. In most cases, this could be the only section to be fully read by your would-be employer; and

* Use power words, be concise and keep to the point, yet make your résumé look great and appetising.

Presentation and layout

Your resumé must be like a work of art, appealing to look at and engaging to the reader. You must pay attention to uniformity and consistency in the use of:

* Punctuation

* Syntax

* Grammar

* Fonts

* Capital letters

* Italics

* Bold faces

* Bullets

Your resumé is your strategic marketing document and it has to be right the first time. You never get a second chance to make a good first impression.