How to Write a Resume – the basics…
So you need a new job. Hit the ceiling at your current job? Got a new boss and it’s not working out?
The bad news is you need to write a resume. The good news is it doesn’t have to be that hard….
Writing a resume fills most people with dread…
There’s lots of tricks and tips to writing a resume tips but first of all, let’s deal with the basics.
Here’s what you need to cover:
No brainer but it’s amazing how often these get forgotten. The best plan is to centre them at the top of the page. Be sure to include name your address, mobile and email.
A good tip is to made sure that your contact details can’t get separated if someone prints a hard copy and pulls off the cover page.
Birth date and marital status
The jury is out on this one. You don’t have to include either of these but here’s the short version; if you think displaying either or both will make you more attractive – then go right ahead.
Again, we’ve provided some great tips in this area including this post called “How to Use the Best Ever Tool for Writing a Resume”
But in essence – just “keep it simple”.
Font should be something like Times New Roman or Arial. Centre contact details and then put your Summary or highlights in the next section.
Use bold for headings – it is easier to read. Bullet points are great but just one type. Avoid colours and focus on content.
Get your key strengths front and centre.
Resumes are skimmed. So make yours skim friendly.
You can do this two ways.
The first option is;
A Key Strengths area uses bullet points to great effect. The aim is to give the recruiter a snapshot of why you should be placed on the “yes” pile.
Here’s an example:
- I have run multiple websites and averages 20k views per month with established audiences
- I am a freelance writer for multiple websites including huffington post, Kidspot, Mamamia, The Good Men ProjectHigh level computer skills including Excel, Word and Powerpoint.
Second option is:
Career Summary, Career Highlights
I am an IT professional with 20 years of experience supporting accounting and finance software and a SAP professional with over 15 years of experience in configuration and programming of various SAP systems including ERP/ECC and CRM.
By the way, the example above is totally made up, but you get what I mean.
Avoid vague statements. Ian Napier of Flexiforce says that if a sentence doesn’t contain factual information, ditch it.
Things like, “I use my skills in a professional environment for the mutual benefit of myself and employer”. Ditch it.
Outline your career history – most recent to oldest.
A good structure to follow for each role is:
Job title, employer name, dates of employment, role
This is an area where many people misstep. More responsibilities is not always better.
Don’t list: Attended a weekly team meeting.
Do list: Chairing” the weekly team meeting.
There’s a big difference.
List your achievements – up to three per job.
Be specific and measurable.
Do include items such as staff awards and special commendations. Also list ideas that you put forward, or helped to implement. They key here is to illustrate results; the cost saving or an increase in revenue.
Education and Training
Highest qualification first. Unless you are a recent graduate, leave your secondary school history out.
Only include those that are relevant to your career. Feel free to indicate how active you are in the organisation.