It should go without saying that this document needs to make an impression as it will most often be the first thing your potential employer sees. A poorly written or constructed resume is certain to have the opposite effect, so what are the simple things you can do to ensure your details get a second look?
Well, look on the internet and you will see an ocean of information – some conflicting, so here are 5 items most agree on…
- Keep your resume clear, structured and ordered.
- Use a good readable font 11 or 12 point size (Times New Roman, Ariel or Calibri are some of the more popular).
- Do not use pictures, tables or other things that might impair readability.
- Use heading and bullet points to draw attention to key information.
2. Main Headings
- Use clear simple heading – this is not an essay so make it easy to find information.
- Personal & Contact Information.
- Education & Training.
- Languages & Computer Skills (if relevant).
- Career History in reverse chronological order from most recent.
3. Other Headings
- There is differing opinion regarding the use of other headings and also what information to include.
- For example, using ‘career objective’ at the start of your CV might be fine if this is a first job, but of little relevance after that…
- My preference is to see a brief introductory paragraph – this is an opportunity to sell yourself and highlight key skills, achievements and abilities. Think of this as a bio and think FIGJAM (look that up if you don’t know :))
- In career history, briefly outline your role, responsibilities and achievements.
- Think Goldilocks – just right – not too short and not too long.
- Ideally keep the document to 3 or 4 pages – max 5! – longer and it’s not going to be read.
- Too short, say 1 or 2 pages, and it may be insufficient to provide enough information.
- Remember, most CV’s only get scanned by the reader and a professional recruiter may spend as little as 6 seconds before moving on.
5. Language and Grammar
- Saying you are professional and have great attention to detail doesn’t really cut it if your CV is full of spelling and grammatical errors.
- Take time to check and double check – get a couple of other people to read it, and if English is not your first language have it read by someone whose it is – even if you have to pay a few dollars to have a professional resume writer to review.
- Think also about relevant keywords as many employers use databases and these keywords help you be found in a mountain of data.
You will find more on resumes in some of our earlier posts, such as:-
Resumes – Why are there so many duds! and resume clichés to avoid in