- Published on Monday 22 June, 2015
- 5 min. to read
Your resume is more than just a document detailing your work history and contact details. It is a tool that you can use to market yourself to prospective employers. It is your chance to create a great first impression, and based on what information you do or don’t put on your resume – it is the reason you will either receive a call from a prospective employer or not!
Here are some tips to help you to write a winning resume.
Your resume is a legal document and the information on it needs to be accurate and up to date. Later at interview or reference stage this information will be verified so don’t exaggerate your experience or skill set and definitely do not put anything on your CV that is not true.
Make sure your contact information is correct and up to date – there is no point even sending your CV if the employer can’t reach you! List your name, address, phone number and email address.
Your education and skill
List your education from most recent to least. State the education provider and the name of the course completed. Make sure you add dates of completion for all education or ‘at present’ if you are still studying.
How it looks
Ensure that your resume is short and sweet, usually no more that 2 pages. Only put information that is required and keep it concise.
Make sure your CV looks good both printed and on screen: white background and black font. Keep to standard font sizes and styles. Using different size fonts, font type and colours can make it difficult to read.
Use business language and make sure you check for spelling and grammatical errors. Also make sure you get someone else to look over your CV – a second pair of eyes may pick up something that you have missed.
Adding a career objective or personal profile at the top of your CV will give the employer a brief idea of who you are and what you are looking for – but make sure the information is about you not just something copied from a CV template on the Internet.
List your employment from most recent. State the business name and your job title and for each role you have had, add a couple of brief bullet points explaining the duties/ responsibilities of the role.
If you haven’t been working yet make sure you list any work experience, volunteer work or extra curricular activity such as coaching kids sports teams, tutoring etc.
Be sure to list any special skills such as a second language or specific computer software, etc. If you have a white card, green card, Driver Licence this is where you can add it.
When listing referees make sure the contact details are accurate and up to date, that your referees are aware they are listed on your CV and that they can expect to receive calls from prospective employers. Your referees should be a supervisor or manager from a recent position.
If you have not had a job yet, ask your Year Advisor or someone from your community who has known you for some time, to act as a personal reference.
You can add activities and interests if you like. Many employers like to get an idea of who you are and your life outside work. Photos are generally not recommended or needed.
Prepare a brief cover letter that is written specifically for each application because it does not look as though you are particularly interested in the job you are applying for when you have addressed it to the wrong company or person or if you have stated your passion for the wrong job!
Get ready for a phone call
Once you have sent out your resume, the job application process has started. Make sure you keep your phone with you and if you can’t answer straight away make sure you call people back. Ensure your voicemail is business-like and always answer the phone in a way that demonstrates your maturity – even if your friends have a bit of a laugh at you.
Take notes on the roles you have applied for and if you do get a call back, refer back to them – even if you are applying for multiple roles, the interviewer likes to think that theirs is the only role you have applied for.
When you do receive a phone call be polite and be prepared to answer questions, this is part of the interview process and is called phone screening. Give detailed answers and be prepared to explain why you are interested in the position.
Be prepared for knock backs, everyone gets them, but stay positive and take any feedback given as constructive criticism – use it to improve for next time. It is not unusual for people not to call you back about your application. There are often hundreds of applicants for the one position and it is quite normal these days for an employer to only call those they wish to interview.
Your resume is often your first and only introduction to a prospective employer. Taking the time to create a quality resume will result in more call backs and greater opportunity to land the job of your dreams.