So, how do you write a resume that puts your name at the top of the candidate list and get that interview? Here are my recommended tips and tricks, to help you achieve just that.
First research the hiring organisation for the job that you’re applying. Information you discover through this process could be included in your resume and cover letter, and arm you with the knowledge to articulate to them why you would be a “good fit” for their business.
Make sure you know what their mission statement is, their values and what they believe in. Gather some information before any interview on the history of the company. This is your chance to tell them how you can add value to their business. Your resume and cover letter are your marketing document, so sell yourself well.
Next, plan the structure of your resume carefully. Consider using in built templates within software applications or build your own. Keep the design theme clean, easy to read and neatly formatted.
List your Education, Work Experience and Skills but limit this to the most recent and relevant roles from the last 10 to 15 years. Only include the ones that demonstrate a particular skill or position held that resonates with the position for which you are applying. Summarise the others in a career history section if need be, and don’t be scared to use dot points for summarising. Watch the length of the resume; some advertised positions set limits for size and content, so be aware not to exceed those too.
Include a profile or objective at the beginning of your resume – this is your chance to grab your readers’ attention. Say something that tells them who you are, what you are passionate about, what you value and believe in.
Limit this to two or three sentences. Write this after you complete the other sections of your resume, so that you have a good focus of what you look like as a prospective employee. This statement needs to align with the objectives of the role you’re applying for and the values of the organisation, which you have researched. Write this in the first person, i.e. using the pronoun ‘I’.
Grammar, spelling and punctuation are critical. Remember, this is a professional document that is all about marketing you. Any prospective employee will discard a resume or cover letter with spelling and grammar mistakes and incorrect punctuation as soon as they read it.
Overusing words, being repetitive and using flowery language (i.e. too many adverbs and adjectives) should also be avoided as these read like sentence or word count fillers and are often generic and vague.
Proofread your cover letter and resume yourself, and get another person to proofread and check them again before you submit anything, to make sure you’re submitting the best versions possible.
Always customise your resume and cover letters to “fit” with the job you’re applying for. Each job you apply for has a specific selection criteria, a position description and often a list of critical or desirable attributes that are attached to the role.
Where possible, focus on previous positions and describe how you satisfied these attributes in those roles by outlining the what, how and why of your achievements. Consider your own skills and ensure they are relevant to the job. Focus on the ones they are looking for. If you don’t have these skills consider ways in which you can quickly upskill.
Upskilling can be as easy as signing up for a short course at TAFE Queensland. Such courses can be a quick way to upskill, expand your knowledge and put you a step ahead of the rest when you go to apply for your next employment opportunity.