Recruiters may take as little as six seconds to make a decision about a resume. With the job market increasingly competitive, ensuring your resume is well written and correctly formatted is, therefore, essential.
But how do you do this? There’s no catch-all method for writing a winning resume. But there are some things to keep in mind…
The exact content of your resume will depend on your background, experience, and the role you’re applying for. But should always include:
Contact Information – Your name, address, email and phone number
Job Objective – A brief statement about the kind of role you’re after and the skills you can bring to it
Education – Relevant information about college courses and training
Work Experience – Details of previous positions you’ve held
Skills – Any abilities you have that are related to the job
Activities and Achievements – Anything else that could enhance your application (e.g., college societies, volunteering, awards, etc.)
2. Tailor Your Resume to the Job
Most roles require particular skills, so you should always tailor your resume to the position. As well as using the job description, try checking the company’s website; they may have additional information relevant to your application.
It’s fine if you have a basic “template” with all the important information on it, but make sure you adjust it accordingly before sending it to employers.
3. Two Pages Maximum!
Recruiters sometimes have to read dozens of resumes in a day, so they won’t be impressed if yours is a novel-length treatise on your skills as a worker.
Try keeping your resume down to a maximum of two pages. If this involves cutting information not directly relevant to your application, do it. Additional detail can be provided in a cover letter.
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It may be worth noting that, although “resume” and “CV” are often used interchangeably, a “CV” is usually a longer document that includes complete details of your professional experience.
4. Pay Attention to Formatting
Since a good resume will be easy to read and visually impactful, it’s worth considering the formatting you use on yours.
Minimally, you should use a consistent style throughout, making sure that text isn’t too small to read and that you provide clear headings indicating important details. You may also want to use bullet points to list responsibilities and achievements.
Unless a company specifically asks for references (i.e., people who can vouch for your skills as a worker) during the initial application, it’s usually enough to write “References available upon request” on your resume.
And don’t forget: It’s polite to let your referees know if a prospective employer might be calling!