It can be pretty exciting to read through job ads, imagining yourself in the perfect role and all the possibilities of your future career. But before you hit the ‘apply’ button on a recruitment website, take a moment to assess the strength of your resume. Following a few guidelines can make a positive difference to the document that’s going to represent you in the hiring process.
Steps for creating a better resume:
Standard practice, particularly in the early stages of your career, is to make sure that your resume is under two pages in length. This means leaving out unnecessary details in your job application and avoiding ‘rambling’. When writing your resume, keep in mind that you are summarising your skills and experience, and that the interview will be your opportunity to go into more detail and explanation. So keep it short and to the point and only include the important information.
What to include in your resume
Use your resume to grab your prospective employer’s attention and show off your best attributes. Make sure to include your personal information like phone number, email address and location so the hirer knows how to get in touch with you.
Consider including a short introduction at the start of the document to let the employer know who you are and to establish your key strengths up front. If they like what they read in the first three sentences it will encourage them to keep reading to learn more about you. Think of it as a blurb to summarise why you’re a great candidate for the role.
Follow on with a list of your education and training achievements, and then a chronological list of your employment history. Make sure that you provide dates to show how long you’ve spent in each of your previous roles.
What not to include in your resume
There are certain details that you may think define you, but don’t really have any impact on how well you can perform a job. It’s not necessary to list personal details in your resume, like your age or date of birth, your relationship status, your gender, or any health problems or disabilities.
Unless you’re 100% certain that your hobbies will help you get the job because they relate to the necessary experience, keep them to a minimum. It’s good to show you are a well-rounded person with outside interests but they shouldn’t take up too much valuable space.
Use your resume to address selection criteria
Tailor your resume to the role you’re applying for by examining the selection criteria and required skills and values that are listed in the advertisement. You can use the job ad to your advantage by linking the duties and responsibilities of your past roles to the skills that the employer is looking for. Use dot points to outline your achievements from your past roles. Back up the attributes you’ve listed with examples of real life situations where you’ve used your skills. Do more than just tell the employer that you’re enthusiastic and organised – give them details of how you’ve demonstrated this.
Presentation and formatting of job applications
Make sure that there are no typos or spelling mistakes! Use your spell-checker, and re-read what you’ve written. Sometimes it can help to read your sentences out loud to make sure that they make sense and flow well. Have someone proofread your resume for you.
Lay out your information in a neat and easy-to-read fashion. You want your prospective employer to be able to navigate your resume with ease. And when it comes to formatting – keep it simple. Choose one font and stick to it. It’s recommended to format your text to size 11 and use a black or near-black font colour so that it is neat and easy to read.