not surprisingly, one of the most commonly questions my clients ask me is how to get their resume in top shape. Sometimes it needs updating and refreshing, other times we need to go back to scratch.
It may sound obvious, but I want to emphasis that writing your resume is actually a marketing exercise. This simple but important fact is often lost on job applicants who undersell themselves or sell themselves in the wrong way. Your resume should aim to succinctly highlight the key and relevant skills and achievements that sell your employability to potential employers. To do that you need to first and foremost understand the needs of the employer, the requirements of the job and then which aspects of your experience and training you need to emphasise.
Today I thought I would highlight 10 ESSENTIALS to help you refresh your resume and give it the best chance of success. Hopefully yours ticks all of these boxes!
1. Include the knowledge, skills, qualities and achievements that your potential new employer will be most interested in.
2. Aim for 2-3 pages in total (four at most).
3. Target and adapt your resume to each job you apply for.
4. Include the most important information on the first page:
- name and contact details: address, email, phone (preferably mobile)
- headline statement that signals your particular strengths eg ‘an experienced, capable and personable administrative assistant’
- skills summary highlighting your unique skill set relevant to the job
- qualifications and training
5. Follow this with a Career Summary – a list of positions and employers that you have had. Highlight responsibilities and achievements for each job. Use reverse chronological order when listing qualifications and previous jobs.
6. Then add any other relevant information such as awards, languages, community service, licences or accreditations, professional memberships and affiliations, security clearances and work permit.
7. Conclude with the names and contact details of two to three referees, including their name, title, place of employment and telephone number.
8. Ensure the layout and make sure that you have clear headings at the start of each section. Format job titles and employers in to differentiate them and make it easy for the reader to find. Use regular business fonts and plain paper.
9. Double check spelling and grammar. Give it to someone to review. Let them look at it for only 2 minutes and see what they can learn about you in that time. Most recruiters won’t spend that long on it.
10. Ensure it is Applicant Tracking System (ATS) compliant by using simple Word formatting, common resume headings, and the keywords highlighted in the vacancy details.
Have a question about your resume? Feel free to contact me and I’ll get back to you as quickly as I can.