Finding a job can be one of the most frustrating experiences you go through in life. I think I would be quite rich if I had a dollar for every job advertisement I have responded to over my years. Often, you can feel like you send out a hundreds of resumes for jobs and you never even get a call back. Obviously, there are many factors that will determine your chances for getting a job. Many of them are out of your control but one thing you can do to improve your chance of getting an elusive interview is by having a great, stand out resume. Here are 17 bright ideas for writing a winning resume:
Always remember that a resume is a marketing tool to promote you – It highlights your positives. Its aim is to get you an interview with an employer or recruiter. An employer or recruiter can receive 100’s of resumes applying for a particular job and they only spend a few minutes (if that) skimming over each resume so you want your resume to stand out.
Don’t rush writing a resume – Spend plenty of time to make it look and sound great. You only get one chance to make a great impression.
Always tell the truth – It is one thing to talk up your achievements or career objectives but don’t lie about things you haven’t done.
Triple check the spelling and grammar – Get someone else to proof read it before you send it to anyone. Nothing turns an employer off more than spelling mistakes. It might be the difference between the’ interview’ or ‘no interview’ piles.
Always accompany your resume with a cover letter to perspective employers – Write a letter even if you have spoken to someone or you are sending the resume via email. The cover letter should introduce you and highlight how you meet the requirements of the job specifications. Your resume is a summary of your education and professional experience. What you should include:
- Your name, address, phone number and email address. (By law, you do not need to mention your marital status or age.)
- A short summary of career goals/objectives.
- Details of your education, training and awards.
- A list of your employment history.
- Details of your skills and achievements.
When detailing your employment history, list your most recent job first – Give most information on your most recent jobs and if you have a lot of jobs, simply list the earliest jobs with dates. Give a concise summary of all the skills you have gained from your jobs and what tasks you have been responsible for. (If there are skills and tasks that suit the job you are applying for, mention them first.)
When listing your achievements, quantify the results, where possible – It is much more impactful and memorable to say you ‘lifted sales by 20% between 2010-2011’, as opposed to simply saying ‘increased sales’. No need to go into details, as you can talk about that when you get your interview.
You need to make the document look professional and keep the layout consistent –
- Your resume should be typed.
- A hand written resume looks unprofessional, no matter what job you are applying for.
- Use only 1 or 2 fonts throughout the entire document. Use something simple like Arial or Times New Roman with 10-11pt.
- Don’t add fancy boarders – keep white space around the document
- Use short paragraphs, subheadings and bullet points throughout the resume to help make it easier to read.
- If you print out your resume, print onto clean white or ivory paper.
When writing your resume, avoid using abbreviations, slang or SMS language – It doesn’t look professional and older people may not understand what you have written. Also, always use third person rather than first person. For example, it is better to say: “Redesigned the office filing system” as opposed to “The boss was happy with me when I redesigned up the filing system”.
Don’t overload your resume – Aim to keep it between 2 and 5 pages, depending on your level of experience and the job you are applying for. (If you are applying for a job as the CEO of Qantas, you will need to use a few more pages than if you are straight out of university applying for your 1st job.) Your resume should be a summary of highlights. An interview is your opportunity to talk about details.
You do not need to include copies of any certificates, awards or other papers with your resume – Never send original documents. You can always bring them along to your interview and present them if requested.
There is no need to include a photograph – This is very popular in Europe but not considered necessary in Australia.
Tailor your resume every time you send it out to a new employer – Understand what they are looking for and highlight those areas within your resume.
If you use or give an email address, try to make sure it isn’t a silly email address – It is best to set up a new specific email address for job hunting with Hotmail or Google rather than using something like firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you detail your career goals, don’t say you want a career in another industry – For example, when applying for a retail job, don’t say you are looking for a career in the music industry. It is best to say nothing at all. An employee will most likely think you are not serious about the job you are applying for or that you will leave the job soon after you are hired.
If you are applying for a job overseas, do a little research on what it expected from a resume in other countries – Different countries have different expectations and approaches on what they want to see and the overall tone of the document.
Be positive – Avoid writing about things you are not good at or things you didn’t like about your previous job. No one wants to work with someone who is negative and complaining.
- TAGS: How to write a resume, how do i write a resume, tips for writing a resume, what to put in a resume, writing a winning resume, writing a stand out resume, finding a job, seek, how do I apply for a job, school leavers tips for writing a resume.