What is a resume for?
A resume is your quickest and most effective way to get to the top of the list of people the recruiter or HR Manager wants to see. Your resume should create some positive anticipation about you, your experience and achievements. This is done via accuracy, grammar, and the layout of your resume.
It is important to be honest, or that positive anticipation is lost at interview and you create a very poor impression.
Your resume should always include the following
- Your basic personal information
- Phone numbers (both mobile and home) and your work number if you can take calls privately
- Home address
- Email address
- Education details
- Tertiary and Secondary qualifications first, the year you graduated and which institution you graduated from
- Relevant courses you have complete while at work, e.g. time management, presentation skills, training on specific software etc. and the month and year in which you completed the course.
- Employment History
- Include the name of each company, when you started and finished each role (month and year), along with responsibilities bullet pointed and then achievements for each role bullet pointed
- The objective of your resume is to provide details on your experience and achievements. It should quietly “sing your praise.” This is what will get a prospective employer interested in asking you in for your first interview. Most companies are driven by results and your resume should show your ability to produce results (i.e. achievements). Please make sure your achievements are quantifiable and bullet pointed.
- Do use bullet points to ensure it is simple and easy to read and scan through
- Do include your email address in contact details, (about 5%-10% of resumes don’t include an email address. Strange but true)
- Do use headings i.e. Personal Details, Education, Employment History. It allows the reader to quickly scan your resume for the important things they are looking for
- Do check your resume over and over again. Have it proof read by someone else; a fresh pair of eyes may see something you may have missed. Read it for accuracy and typographical errors before you submit it.
- Do write clear and concise facts with regards to responsibilities and achievements
- Do not lie. Ever.
- Do not use elaborate fonts and colours because this makes it painful to read
- Do not include a photo (unless you are applying to a modelling agency)
- Do not be modest – state your quantifiable achievements accurately
- Do not use “I” excessively; instead of “I increased sales by 20%” simply write “increased sales by 20% over the previously year” Stick with third person when writing a resume
- The language of your resume should be specific, clear, succinct and factual. You should not use flowery language or adjectives such as “highly successful” the fact you are 20% over budget illustrates your success. Facts not emotional language wins the day!
- Begin with your most recent job, and work backwards.
- Include company name, location, position title, your responsibilities specific dates of employment (e.g. May 1992 – Oct 2003), achievements and the reason for leaving (optional) and whether the position was full time, part time, temporary or permanent.
- Achievements are essential. Where ever possible quantify your achievements with facts and figures – percentage increases in sales, margin or market share increases, decreased costs, reducing lead times are all excellent ways to show you can add value to an organisation and be a successful hire.
- Gaps during employment history should be accounted for. If you don’t explain it on paper then a recruiter or employers will start to ask what are they hiding? Examples of gaps may be time out for study, travel or maternity leave. It is also OK to leave a job without another to move straight into.
- Include the basic information on positions that were early in your career and are less relevant to the jobs you are currently apply for. Include the company, title and length of service in each role. You’d be surprised how employers will see something positive in your previous history that you might find unimportant. Responsibilities and achievements can be left off the resume for these roles.
- Please provide at least two or more people that you have reported to previously. Your friend or colleague cannot provide details on how to manage you or how to get the best out of you etc. This is important information for your new employer.
- Include your referee’s company, position title, mobile number and direct work contact number. If you do not feel comfortable providing referee details, make clear that you will provide them upon request.
- It is handy to let your referee know that a recruiter or HR manager will be calling to reference check you.