Resume Preparation

A resume is your quickest and most effective way to get to the top of the list of people a recruiter or HR Manager wants to see. Your resume should create positive anticipation about you, via your experience and achievements. The accuracy, grammar, and layout of your resume is a key part of how you represent yourself. It’s important to be honest to ensure that the positive anticipation you create in your resume is matched by the impression you make in person.

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What should your resume include?

Your resume should always include the following:

  • Your basic personal information
    • Name
    • Phone numbers – Your personal mobile and your work number if you can take calls privately
    • Home address
    • Email address
  • Education details
    • Tertiary and Secondary qualifications first, the year you graduated and which institution you graduated from
    • Relevant courses you have completed while at work e.g. time management, presentation skills, training on specific software, and the month and year in which you completed the course
  • Employment History
    • Include the name of each company, when you started and finished each role (month and year), your responsibilities bullet pointed, and achievements for each role bullet pointed
    • The objective of your resume is to provide details on your experience and achievements. It should quietly “sing your praise.” This is what will get a prospective employer interested in seeing you for a first interview. Most companies are driven by results and your resume should show your ability to produce results i.e. achievements. Please make sure your achievements are quantifiable and bullet pointed.

Resume Do’s

  • Do use bullet points to ensure it is simple and easy to read and scan through.
  • Do include your email address in contact details. About 5%-10% of resumes don’t include an email address. Strange but true.
  • Do use headings i.e. Personal Details, Education, Employment History. It allows the reader to quickly scan your resume for the important things they are looking for.
  • Do check your resume over and over again. Have it proofread by someone else, a fresh pair of eyes may see something you may have missed. Read it for accuracy and typographical errors before you submit it.
  • Do write clear and concise facts with regards to responsibilities and achievements.

Resume Don'ts

  • Do not lie. Ever.
  • Do not use elaborate fonts and colours because this makes it difficult to read.
  • Do not include a photo (unless you are applying to a modelling agency).
  • Do not be modest – state your quantifiable achievements accurately.
  • Do not use “I” excessively, stick with third person when writing a resume.
  • Instead of “I increased sales by 20%” simply write “increased sales by 20% over the previously year”.
  • The language of your resume should be specific, clear, succinct and factual.
  • You should not use flowery language or adjectives such as “highly successful”. The fact you are 20% over budget illustrates your success. Facts rather than emotional language work.

Employment History

  • Begin with your most recent job, and work backwards.
  • Include company name, location, position title, your responsibilities, specific dates of employment (e.g. May 1992 – Oct 2003), achievements and the reason for leaving (optional) and whether the position was full time, part time, temporary or permanent.
  • Achievements are essential. Wherever possible, quantify your achievements with facts and figures – percentage increases in sales, margin or market share increases, decreased costs, reducing lead times are all excellent ways to show you can add value to an organisation and be a successful hire.
  • Gaps during employment history should be accounted for. If you don’t explain it on paper then a recruiter or employers will wonder what you are hiding. Examples of gaps may be time out for study, travel or maternity leave. It is also OK to leave a job without another to move straight into.
  • Include the basic information on positions that were early in your career and are less relevant to the jobs you are currently applying for. Include the company, title and length of service in each role. You’d be surprised how employers will see something positive in your previous history that you might find unimportant. Responsibilities and achievements can be left off the resume for these roles.

Referees

  • Please provide at least two or more people that you have reported to previously. Your friend or colleague cannot provide details on how to manage you or advice on how to get the best out of you etc. This is important information for your new employer.
  • Include your referee’s company, position title, mobile number and direct work contact number. If you do not feel comfortable providing referee details, make clear that you will provide them upon request.
  • It is handy to let your referee know that a recruiter or HR manager will be calling to reference check you.

Resources

Attend our FREE Resume Ready Workshop held each fortnight to learn more about how to get your resume in top shape and be prepared for your next career opportunity.