Getting ready to apply for an internship? Looking for your first Grad job? Still using your High School CV? It's time to polish that resume to get it industry ready! Different organisations will look for slightly different things, but here is a general guide to keep your resume at the top of the pile.
1. Get examples
Before you start, take a look at some resume examples online, check out a friends and scan different templates you can use. Once you choose a template to base your resume off, be sure to customise and tailor it to show your own flair and technological skills.
2. Short and Sweet
Your resume format should be easy to read with all the basics covered. 1-2 pages is a perfectly acceptable length but you really don’t want to go any higher than 4 pages. The more information you have, the more succinctly you should be able to articulate why you are the best person for the role. Don’t shy away from using bullet points to keep everything punchy and easy to follow, just start each bullet with an action word. E.g. Devising a marketing strategy to engage over 10,000 customers.
3. What to include
The first thing to know is if a skill is listed in the job description or selection criteria, you should make a point to address it in your resume. This may be specific to your field or a soft skill, either way you should give an example of harnessing that skill. Then there are skills that are important to every employer that you want to try and include in your resume.
- Communication Skills: Whether your job requires you to specifically work with others or occasionally report to a small team it is important to be able to explain your work, advocate or defend certain approaches and generally work with others to delegate roles. This is important in seeing you as someone who could become a senior leader down the track who may have people reporting to them or may have to represent the company with external partners or stakeholders.
- Problem-solving and Resilience: Employers want to know if it doesn’t work one way you can work around it without reporting back to them to constantly. Showing examples of innovative thinking and creativity are highly valuable to your resume.
- Eagerness to learn and grow: No matter what job you’re applying for every employer wants a candidate who wants to continue improving their skills and strives to be even better at what they do. This shows an employer not only your potential for leadership, but immediately speaks to your loyalty to the company as growth and development take time.
- Adaptability: Stating that you’re adaptable lets employers know that you understand work evolves and changes and that when things come up outside of the job description, you will be willing to tackle them.
4. What not to include
There are some general things to steer away from even mentioning on a resume unless you’ve been explicitly asked to disclose them.
- Too many personal details: You want to be able to provide a recruiter with all the details to be able to contact you, but don’t give them any reason to discriminate. Don’t indicate your marital status, children, race, religion, political preferences and you may even wish to refrain from providing a home address.
- Computer Skills: Unless you have specific relevant program knowledge such as SPSS statistics that your employer should know you are proficient in, computer skills are assumed in this day and age, including them can make you seem amateur.
- Salary: In Australia salary can be a negotiation tool so do not disclose it from the get-go.
- Cliché’s: Avoid using cliché’s to describe yourself and your skills, your resume needs to stand out from hundreds of others, don't get sucked in by buzzwords.
- 5 year rule: Anything more than five years old is no longer relevant.
For every skill or job listed you will need to provide examples that show you have put that skill to use. Make sure to include figures to show any targets hit, engagement numbers, funds raised, etc. You can even use percentages to show satisfaction rates or how much you increased engagement. Draw on case studies that give a snapshot into scenarios that show off your skills.
6. Weight and Order count
Your resume should flow in a chronological order per section but you should give more space and explanation to more relevant roles. You can break up your resume by including the headings “Relevant Experience” and “Other Experience” to keep ones of similar length together.
7. Get an objective party to proof-read
Read over your resume with fresh eyes for grammar and a cull of anything that may not be the most relevant. Then have a trusted friend read over it and tell them to be brutally honest, spelling mistakes or grammatical errors could just be what separates you and the next closest candidate for the job.