Where to start: How to write a resume

Where to start: How to write a resume

For the beginner.

Jacquie Liversidge

By Jacquie Liversidge

Developing a good resume that stands out from other candidates in competition for the role is absolutely key to surviving in today’s digital workforce.

A resume is your first impression. It tells an employer what you have worked previously, your education, your qualifications and your skills. Your resume isn’t where you should focus your efforts on selling yourself– the purpose of your resume is to provide an overview.

But you can still use some tact.

Think about your industry.

  • What skills have been important in your line of work?
  • What skills were find to hard to find in colleagues?
  • Include them under the job role accompanying a responsibility, or place them in a dedicated skill section.

A resume should stand out, communicate your unique narrative and always be purpose oriented.

An employer looks at your resume on average for 6 seconds before deciding on whether they will consider you or put you to the wayside.

Keeping that in mind, we’ve developed a list of do’s and don’t’s to make your resume shine

Resumes Dos:

  • A large title heading with Your Name
  • Include address, phone number and email address
  • (Optional): Include an Objective section at the top of your resume outlining why you are applying for a position
  • Your work history including dates, employer, role, responsibilities and achievements
  • A section outlining your skills
  • If you have a trade, a degree or a certificate, your technical or industry specific skills should have their own section
  • The computer programs and software you can use
  • A section dedicated to your qualifications
  • Include an Achievements section
  • For longer careers, include a dot-point career overview at the beginning of the resume
  • A references section with at least 2 professional references, or, if you are entering the work force, a character reference that is not a family relation
  • If applicable, a written reference
  • List information clearly in dot points
  • Tailor your resume to the position each time. Tweak keywords, bring forward important information and make emphasis of what the employer wants to see

Resumes Don'ts:

  • Don’t include your marital status, children, weight, height, age or ethnicity; this gives employers the opportunity to discriminate against you
  • Don’t submit the same resume every time. Change it each time for the employer
  • Don’t use too much colour. Remember that most resumes get printed in black and white, and being too colour heavy may compromise your resume when printed
  • Don’t have a resume that is more than 4 pages long, unless you are executive level
  • Don’t use more than 3 different fonts
  • Don’t have text that is too large OR small
  • Don’t list all information in paragraphs. Keep it clear and concise
  • Don’t use harsh language
  • Don’t list your experience from oldest to new
  • Don’t provide false references
  • Most importantly: don’t lie! Employers will find out.

We hope this helps you with developing your own resumes. Learn how to present your resume by reading our article on how to format your resume.

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