This is what a successful resume looks like.
Whether you’re a seasoned job hunter or fresh out of university on the search for your first role, there are always lessons to be learned when it comes to polishing up your CV. Even if you aren’t currently searching for a new job, it’s not a bad idea to have an up to date resume on hand, so take note of this cheat sheet of tips to freshen up your resume.
Keep it clean
The design brief for a resume should be this: clean, easy to read and visually pleasing. Before you even start on the content, get your layout in order. The basics? Size 10 or 12 font that’s easy to read (Times New Roman is a good option), clean spacing and clear headings.
Keep it factual
A CV should state the facts in a clear, easy to read format. It needs to cover your education, employment history and achievements, in a matter of fact way. Don’t get stuck on language – recruiters want to quickly understand your relevance for the job. Remember: a resume should only cover the last 10 or so years of your work history, so continually update this as you progress in your career.
Adapt to the role
Yes, you do need to adapt your resume for each and every role you apply for. Create a master resume that can be readily tweaked each time based on various job criteria. You should always consider how your experience relates to the specific job you are applying for – every sentence is valuable and should be stringently examined for relevance.
A CV is all about selling yourself – it is not the time to be modest. Many people simply list awards, achievements and training, without quantifying exactly how important or exciting these achievements are. Use numbers to quantify and explain the impact of your achievements. They are much more valuable than you think.
Keep it brief
Every recruiter will have a preference on resume length and so unless it’s stated on the job application, don’t stress – make it as long as necessary to detail your work history. A good guide is two pages but don’t get too stuck on this – just remember the golden rule: relevance.
This one is too simple to miss, but is a surprisingly common pitfall – a CV needs to be free of spelling and grammar mistakes.
Read up on trends
A quick Google search will reveal a tonne of information on changing trends when it comes to the dos and don’ts of resume writing. From buzzwords recruiters detest to overused words, it’s important to stay up to date in order to separate your application from the pack.
While we’ve covered that a resume should be simple, clean and concise, don’t be afraid to stand out from the pack. For example, a contrast font or colour can be enough to lift your resume from the pile.
Keep it together
It’s easy to cultivate a brand of sorts out of your CV to make the entire package cohesive. For example, if you do opt for a contrast font or colour, this could easily extend to the rest of your application, such as the cover letter. Clean up your social media so it reflects this brand too. It doesn’t take long and shows you’ve put some thought into the matter.
Have someone look over it
It’s important to have someone else look over your resume. Some candidates can’t see their own potential and make the mistake of downplaying their skills. Have a trusted colleague or mentor go over it with you to make sure you’re selling yourself in the way you deserve.
If all else fails, a resume writer can help. There are people out there who are trained to help you overhaul your resume. Next it’s time to update your voicemail in preparation for all of those callbacks.