Ef­fec­tive re­sume writ­ing

Monthly Chronicle - - Careers - PAUL DI MICHIEL CA­REER COACH Wahroonga-based Paul Di Michiel is the au­thor of Fired to Hired, The Guide to Ef­fec­tive Job Search for the Over 40s. Find out more about his ca­reer coach­ing busi­ness, The Ca­reer Medic, at: www.the­ca­reer­medic.com

The re­sume is the most sub­jec­tive doc­u­ment on the planet. It seems every­one has an opin­ion - so who do you be­lieve and what re­ally con­sti­tutes an ef­fec­tive re­sume?

The key pur­pose of the re­sume is to get you an in­ter­view. In other words, it should cre­ate suf­fi­cient in­ter­est for the reader to want to find out more. And once you’re in the in­ter­view, a well-crafted re­sume can act as the in­ter­viewer’s script. Most in­ter­view­ers are time poor and gen­er­ally ill­pre­pared, which means they’ll rely heav­ily on your re­sume dur­ing the in­ter­view.

So it’s im­per­a­tive that you spend suf­fi­cient time tai­lor­ing your re­sume to suit the job you’re ap­ply­ing for. Only around 50% of ap­pli­cants do this, so spend­ing that ad­di­tional time al­most guar­an­tees that you’ll be in the top half of can­di­dates.

What el­e­ments should you in­clude in your re­sume? There are sev­eral sec­tions, but based on my ex­ten­sive ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in both cor­po­rate Hu­man Re­sources and ca­reer coach­ing roles in Aus­tralia and over­seas, there are two sec­tions which are non­nego­tiable.

The first is a SUM­MARY which serves as a ‘hook’ to cre­ate in­ter­est and have the reader want to find out more. The four el­e­ments of the sum­mary are: your pro­fes­sion (e.g. ‘An ex­pe­ri­enced and de­gree-qual­i­fied mar­ket­ing pro­fes­sional’); in­dus­tries and com­pa­nies you’ve worked in (e.g. ‘Who has worked in telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions and fi­nance for or­gan­i­sa­tions in­clud­ing Optus and Sun­corp.’); three or four tech­ni­cal skills (e.g. ‘Ex­per­tise in event man­age­ment, so­cial me­dia and pub­lic re­la­tions.’), and lastly three or four soft or lead­er­ship skills (e.g. ‘Strengths in­clude the abil­ity to work with a broad ar­ray of stake­hold­ers up to C-level, lead­ing project teams and the abil­ity to man­age time and work to pri­or­i­ties’.)

The sec­ond and most im­por­tant el­e­ment of your re­sume are ACHIEVE­MENTS. I can’t stress enough how crit­i­cal these are. In my ex­pe­ri­ence, around 40% of re­sumes don’t have them and of those that do, many of the achieve­ments are only weakly pre­sented and don’t show­case the in­di­vid­ual’s con­tri­bu­tions. Achieve­ments should be around 2 lines in length, start with an ac­tion verb (e. g. Ini­ti­ated, led, man­aged, co- or­di­nated) and out­line what you de­liv­ered, ide­ally quan­ti­fied. Some ex­am­ples: • De­vel­oped a new so­cial me­dia mar­ket­ing strat­egy which im­proved cus­tomer con­ver­sion rate by 40% • Led a project team to or­gan­ise the an­nual sales con­fer­ence for over 500 na­tional at­ten­dees which re­ceived an av­er­age sat­is­fac­tion rat­ing of 4.8 on a 5-point scale

Achieve­ments serve as spe­cific and fac­tual ex­am­ples of your skills and how you have added value, par­tic­u­larly im­por­tant as the past is the best pre­dic­tor of the fu­ture. To put it more plainly, if you’ve done great things in pre­vi­ous roles, there’s no rea­son you can’t do so in the fu­ture. This is very at­trac­tive to po­ten­tial em­ploy­ers.

Be­yond these musthave el­e­ments, you should also in­clude:

• Per­sonal de­tails – name, mo­bile, email and LinkedIn URL, • Pro­fes­sional ex­pe­ri­ence – cov­er­ing your last 8-12 years of ex­pe­ri­ence, each role in­clud­ing five to seven ‘key re­spon­si­bil­i­ties’ (what you did in the job) and as we men­tioned above, around three to five ‘achieve­ments’,

• Em­ploy­ment prior to XXXX – any em­ploy­ment be­yond eight to 12 years can be ag­gre­gated in this sec­tion, with­out dates (e.g. Mar­ket­ing Co-or­di­na­tor, Na­tional Aus­tralia Bank),

• Ed­u­ca­tion – any univer­sity or TAFEre­lated train­ing rel­e­vant to the role, • Pro­fes­sional devel­op­ment – any com­pany or self-spon­sored train­ing rel­e­vant to the role, • Other sec­tions: IT skills, mem­ber­ships/ as­so­ci­a­tions, vol­un­tary work, lan­guages, ref­er­ees (in­clude ‘Can be sup­plied upon re­quest).

Also make sure your re­sume is no more than three to four pages in length, uses a com­mon and there­fore eas­i­lyread font such as Cal­ibri or Arial, and has suf­fi­cient white space, es­pe­cially as only 15 to 30 sec­onds is spent ‘read­ing’ the av­er­age re­sume ac­cord­ing to re­cruiters!

Use these guides to de­velop and/ or up­date your re­sume and I can guar­an­tee you’ll gather more in­ter­est – and in­ter­views – from em­ploy­ers in your job search. Good luck!

The cor­rectly worded CV sets you on the path for get­ting the job you want

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