How To

How to write a resume

How to write a resume

A vital tool

Your resume gets you an interview – if it’s good enough.

Your resume may be one of hundreds, and recruiters scan them in seconds, so it must cut to the chase. Fast.

It must be riveting, relevant, comprehensive, flawless and true.

You have one chance to get it right.

Contact

Include your full name. Capitalise your FAMILY NAME so there’s no mistake.

Add your address, phone details and a professional-looking email. Be easily contactable.

Omit your date of birth, marital status, number of children and ethnicity. They’re irrelevant.

Experience

Clearly define your career goal. Link it to the job you’re going for.

Explain what you want and what value the employer will derive in return.

List your work experience from latest to earliest.

Include your:

  • Employers (who they were, what they did).
  • Job titles.
  • Key duties (but not entire job descriptions).
  • Achievements (Show, don’t tell. If you grew sales, give figures.).
  • Reasons for leaving.

Don’t leave gaps in your resume. If you took time off to rest, travel, have a child or do a project, say so.

Truth is best, and varied life experiences can actually improve your chances.

Education

List your education from latest to earliest.

Include academic qualifications (degree, master’s) and other achievements (diving permit, black belt, first aid certificate).

Referees

Add 2-3 referees available: respected people who can describe you in action (teacher, boss, community leader). It’s not necessary to provide all their contact details as they can be provided at a later date.

Interests

Include a few relevant interests to give a sense of you as a person (club, sport, hobby, community work).

Tone

Be confident, but not cocky. Sell yourself, but don’t boast. Stretching of the truth can be found out. So, keep it factual.

Use present infinitive verbs (action words) like create, deliver and manage.

Only use terms your readers will know.

Skew your resume to the role. Address (and perhaps use) the wording of the ad.

Be brief. Use bullets wherever you can.

Format

Create your resume in MS Word or PDF format for easy sending and opening.

Make it 2-4 pages. Not a napkin. Not a book.

Use subheaders (like we have).

Avoid italics, reverse type and OVER FORMATTING.

Avoid small, coloured or weird fonts; they merely distract readers from your content.

Plain, black-and-white Arial 12 is all you need.

Keep things simple and elegant. Leave some white space.

Don’t cram too much information onto one page.

Avoid photos, graphics, shading and fancy backgrounds and paper.

A single typo can torpedo your chances.

Check layout and content thoroughly. Don’t rely on spell check.

Read your resume aloud, then give it to someone (ideally from the job’s sector) with English skills good enough to double check your work.

If in doubt, pay a professional.

It’ll be worth it.

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