Your resume (sometimes called your "CV") is your most important tool when applying for a job. It doesn't matter how qualified you are, or how much experience you have - if your resume is poorly presented or badly written, you're going to have trouble getting the job you want - or even an interview.
Taking the time to work on your resume is really important.
How should I order my resume?
Generally it's always good to present the information on your resume in this order:
- Contact details
- Opening statement
- List of key skills
- List of technical/software skills
- Personal attributes/career overview
- Educational qualifications
- Employment history/volunteering/work placements
An opening statement is a summary of who you are, where you've studied and/or worked, and what you bring to the job. It should be about six lines long and written in first person without the personal reference (i.e., don't say "I did this" - say “Did this" instead).
Your opening statement should start with one sentence about who you are and what you bring to the job, then describe the skills and attributes you have that suit you to the job.
Key skills and strengths
Your resume should include a list of between 10 and 15 skills that link your experience to the job you're applying for.
If the job you're applying for was advertised, either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of "desirable" skills and experience. Your list of key skills and strengths needs to respond to all of the items on the "essential" list and as many items as possible on the "desirable" list.
When putting together this list, think of things you've done or learned to do as part of:
- Jobs you've had
- Your studies
- Any work placements you've done
- Any volunteering you've done
Typos or factual errors
Submitting a resume or cover letter with spelling mistakes will guarantee you don't get an interview. You should spellcheck your resume before you send it, but you should also get someone else to read it as well and check for mistakes you might have missed.
Double-check everything that you include in your resume. If you mention the company's name, make sure you get it right. If you mention the name of places you've worked before, make sure you get that right. Mistakes on resumes are worse than typos.
Stick to easy-to-read fonts and formats. This makes it easier for recruiters to review your resume. It also means any recruitment software that reviews your resume can easily read the information. Good fonts to use include:
- Century gothic