Resume Writing Advice
Why resumes are important
Employers receive lots of resumes so it’s important that yours stands out and tells the employer why you are the right person for the job.
Your resume should summarise your previous work experiences and the skills and knowledge you developed through these – attributes that you will bring to your new employer.
It’s usually a good idea to have a template resume which you can adapt to each position you apply for.
What to include:
Not all resumes look exactly the same, but there is some information that is essential to include:
Your personal details: name, address, telephone number and email. It’s not necessary to include personal information such as marital status or age.
Career profile or strengths summary: a brief summary of your strengths, professional achievements and career ambitions, if relevant to the employer (in a few short sentences or 4-6 bullet points).
Education and training: start with the most recent experiences and work back. Include the name of the institution and your qualifications. If you have tertiary qualifications, only include secondary schooling results if relevant.
Work history: start with the most recent experiences and work back. For each previous experience remember to include name of employer, your job title, dates you worked there, your main responsibilities and any major achievements (especially if you can show how they benefitted the employer). You don’t need to provide details of work that is more than 10 years old, unless it is particularly relevant to the role.
Any other information that shows how you suit the role, such as additional training, voluntary experience or skills (i.e. other languages), membership of professional bodies, work experience
It’s important that your resume stands out. It needs to encourage the employer to choose you for an interview. and interests/hobbies (briefly).
Names and contact details of two referees who have recently agreed to provide you with references.
It is not unusual for people to have gaps in their resume for a wide range of reasons including redundancy, family duties, illness, travelling etc. Most advice suggests that it is best to be upfront about these gaps.
Tailoring your resume
Your resume should be tailored to fit the role you are applying for. Having a template version is okay, but you will need to make some changes each time you apply for a new job to make sure that your resume really promotes the skills and experiences each employer is looking for. Remember to:
Read and re-read the job description to make sure you understand what the employer’s needs are.
Emphasize the skills and attributes which are most important to this role, particularly in your profile or strengths summary and in the responsibilities and achievements you list in your work history.
Try to recycle key words and phrases from the job description.