A well-written resume can make the difference between landing that all-important job interview or not being considered at all, so it pays to take some time to make sure that your resume stands out from the rest and does the best job it can of representing who you are and what you have to offer.
To help you, we've listed some of the key things you should consider when writing your resume - and importantly, the things you should avoid.
Laying out your resume
An employer's time can be in short supply, so you should aim to keep your resume to no more than 2 sides of A4. Any longer and you risk the employer skipping parts of your resume and missing vital information.
Lay your resume out in clear sections with headings and keep the paragraph length down. This makes your resume quick to read, and easy to understand.
What should you include?
Your resume should include:
- Details about yourself - your full name, where you live and contact details
- Personal statement - use this section to sell who you are and what you have to offer
- Your skills and work experience
- Your education
- Hobbies and achievements
You should list your most recent experience and education first.
Employers search for resumes using keywords. These are typically job titles or skills, so if your job title can be phrased in different ways, consider listing alternative job titles alongside your official title. Additionally if you have a lot of 'hard' skills, consider listing them in a separate section.
What you should avoid
Your resume should be current, and relevant to the jobs you are applying for. If you have a lot of experience behind you don't worry about including every job you've ever had - especially if those jobs are not within the industry of the jobs you are applying for.
Similarly you do not need to include any irrelevant education. For example, if you have achieved a university-grade qualification you would not need to include any lower-level qualifications you achieved in the same subject.
Avoid using fancy fonts or inventive layouts. This might make you stand out, but it will be for the wrong reasons and will also be harder for software that job boards and recruitment agencies use to read your resume automatically.
Check and review it often
Once you have finished your resume it is vital that you spell check it. Give your resume to a friend and ask them for their opinion.
Also remember to update and review often as you gain new skills and experience.
You should strongly consider attaching a covering letter alongside your resume when you make an application.
A cover letter should be short and concise, it is a chance for you to highlight specific reasons why you should be considered for the role and that you have understood the requirement of the job.
Address your cover letter to the name of the person listed on the job posting and be sure to mention the job title you are applying for and any reference number.
Identify a few key skills and requirements mentioned in the job description and explain why you believe you have the experience and skill set to meet the needs of the employer. Doing this demonstrates that you have taken the time to understand the job, why you are worthy of an interview and that you are not just blindly applying for roles.