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Writing an effective resume can feel overwhelming, especially if you’ve never written one before and you know your resume needs to stand out from the other applicants. To help reduce that overwhelming feeling here’s our insights on how to write a resume.

A clear, easy to read resume is needed for every job you apply for. It communicates your work history, achievements, education and skills while showcasing that you have the experience and skills needed for the role.

Your resume, or CV (Curriculum Vitae), has 7 to 10, seconds to stand out to a recruiter. So it’s important to keep the formatting of your resume simple. You don’t want your resume to look like a novel (it’ll be too hard to read). Stick to a Word document with simple headings and dot points.

Keep in mind that you’ll need to edit your resume each time you apply for a new role, to ensure your resume addresses the role’s key selection criteria.

What your resume should include

  1. Contact information – your name, phone number, email and suburb where you live. You could also include your LinkedIn URL if you wanted to (and it’s up to date).
  2. Brief personal statement – a paragraph to sell yourself, like your elevator pitch if you were marketing yourself. This should be a mix of positive points about yourself and what you bring to the table. This is not an objective.
  3. A summary of your key skills (these should be work related skills!)
  4. Employment history – list each previous role you have held with the job title, dates you held the role and a summary of the responsibilities and any achievements you had in the role. List the most recent role first and then work backwards.
    • Don’t just list the duties of the role, describe what it involved. Also list any accomplishments or positive impacts you had in the role and for the business.
    • Example: ‘Creating the weekly roster’ vs ‘Successfully managing the weekly roster covering 16 team members and shifts from 8am to 10pm Monday to Saturday’.
    • Example: ‘Managing customer enquiries’ vs ‘Managing and responding to an average of 30 customer enquiries a week. As part of this I successfully reduced the average response time from 4 days to 1.5 days.’
    • For the achievements – Use action verbs, numbers and stats that were relevant. Not sure what an action verb is? It’s words like… managed, coordinated, directed, oversaw, developed, spearheaded, chaired, etc.
  5. Education and qualifications
  6. References

What your resume doesn’t need

  • Your photo
  • An unprofessional email address
  • The salary of your previous roles
  • Negative information and points
  • Elaborate phrases and terms – instead use clear and concise language that includes keywords related to the position and industry.
  • Irrelevant personal information – just your name and contact details are fine. Leave marital status, children, religion, etc off your resume.
  • Emoticons, elaborate fonts and an unusual layout – instead keep it simple and easy to read.
  • Formatting errors or changes – keep the formatting (font, size, bullet point alignment, spaced, etc) consistent throughout your resume.
  • Spelling and grammar mistakes
  • False or made-up information about your work history or achievements.

What else to look out for

  • Don’t overuse buzzwords.
  • Proof read and spell check your resume multiple times.
  • When you’re tailoring your resume for each role you’re applying for, change some of the phrases used so they match those used in the job ad and make sure you address the role’s key selection criteria.
  • Some employers use screening technology (that will scan over your resume), so your resume also needs to get past any electronic screening process that uses keywords to find suitable candidates.

Once you’ve written up and finalised your resume, don’t forget to write a cover letter template that you can customise for each role you’re applying for.

Good luck with writing your resume and on your job search!

If you’re one of our students and you’ve finished one of our online courses, our support team will help you with resume writing.