A resume is your personal marketing document designed to ‘sell’ your skills and abilities to a potential employer. Research suggests that readers scan resumes within about 20 seconds, so it’s important to show them at a glance why you are the best fit. To write a winning resume, ensure it is:
1. Match to the job description
Make the reader’s job easy by showing a precise match between your skills and the job requirements. Demonstrate how you meet the employer’s critical skills, experience, and attributes required.
Emphasise your most relevant strengths and eliminate details unrelated to the position. Use similar keywords in your resume to those used in the job description to create a link in the reader’s mind.
2. Focus on your achievements
Highlighting key responsibilities is essential, but don’t list every detail of your daily workload. Your resume should focus on the unique accomplishments that make you stand out.
Show how you contributed to the organisation; did you save money or time, exceed targets, solve problems, improve processes, or attract new customers? Where possible, quantify how you added value with numbers, percentages or dollar amounts.
3. Make it a compelling read
The tone of your resume should be enthusiastic, upbeat and professional. Put your strongest and most relevant points first, using action words such as ‘completed’, ‘developed’ and ‘managed’, and superlatives such as ‘first’, ‘best’ and ‘highest’.
Presenting your accomplishments honestly but confidently using high-impact words will help them stand out and make your resume more compelling.
4. Structure correctly
Centre your contact details at the top of your resume. Include your name, address, phone number, mobile number and email address. Next, list the relevant education and training you have undertaken, starting with your most recent studies.
Following that, add your career history in reverse chronological order. List your job title, employer’s name, a short description of the company (if appropriate), and the dates you worked there. Then outline your key responsibilities, skills and accomplishments for each role. End your resume by naming your referees or stating that they are available on request.
5. Formatt appropriately
Keep the layout of your resume simple with lots of white space, bulleted information and use a plain, readable font. Three or four pages are usually sufficient, so keep the language clear and concise. It’s a good idea to have it proofread by a family member or friend.