The Ultimate Guide on How to Write a Resume:
Professional Resume Writing Tips
Professional Resumes have become more sophisticated in content over the last 7 years as both employers and recruiters use technology to sift through job applications.
The rise in competition for jobs means that your resume has to work harder than ever before – so it’s vitally important that you get it right.
With between 7 and 30- seconds to make a positive first impression, your new resume is going to have to need to instantly engage and impress the recruiters and employers.
The single goal of your resume is to get the recruiter to ring you or the employer to contact you directly, so there are some essential things you need to know if you are going to update your resume.
Resume Writing Tips
Professional Resume Layout – 2016 Style
The resume layout should be clear and concise. Australian recruiters and employers like to see 3 to 4 pages on average (so ignore all those American based websites that tell you 1 – 2 pages is the ideal length of a resume).
See our Resume Examples to give you an overview of how to format your new resume.
“The devil is in the detail, as the saying goes – and once you’ve addressed your resume’s basic structure, it’s your attention to detail that will set you apart from other similarly qualified candidates.”
– Hudson Recruitment 2015, in their article titled ‘How to Write a Resume’
- Achievement Focused Resumes. Professional resumes no longer have long lists of what you were simply responsible for. Recruiters and employers want to know what you did to go the extra mile in your role. How you overcame the challenges you were faced with, while you met your Key Performance Indicators. They want to see that you used your initiative to drive continual improvement, and design strategies to improve net profits, all while demonstrating strong leadership skills and ensuring that the company culture was kept positive and productive.
- Include the Best Content for your new Professional Resume. Your next employer wants to read your new professional resume and learn about the top 4 to 5 projects or job functions you focused on within each of your roles, going back as far as 10 years. They will be reading your resume like a report card.
They want to see that you have demonstrated
- strong values,
- smart thinking and
- hard work.
So focus on your what you have achieved. Think about how the stakeholders in your role have benefited from your efforts. Each role should have 4 or 5 bullet points that start with an impressive verb such as ‘planned’, ‘designed’, ‘coached’, ‘transformed’, ‘ ‘led’, assessed’, ‘undertook’, ‘supervised’, ‘organised’, ‘managed’, etc.
- Provide an Executive Overview. Many employers and recruiters love to see a 5 – 7 line summary of your skills and expertise. They want to see if they are looking at a resume that has the right skills, knowledge and experience. Refer back to our resume examples and see how we include a summary paragraph on the top of each resume, and then a 3 coloum list of the top competencies and skill sets that show the reader you have the right skills and experience for the job you are applying for. This paragraph and list should be tweaked if a job application is seeking something different to what is already on your list.
- Be succinct in your descriptions, each bullet point should only be 2 lines long. People simply won’t read lots of big ugly chunks of text – they want to skim your resume.
- Include Keywords. Most large recruitment agencies and bigger companies use a database that automatically accepts resumes, and scans through them, summarising the key competencies. They do this by picking up on the ‘keywords’. Your new resume must include all the relevant keywords so that it gets picked up in this search, and seen by human eyes. Common keyword examples include ‘CEO’, ‘leadership’, ‘project management’, ‘business development’, ‘customer service’, ‘account manager’, and if you are in IT, all the software that you know should be listed. We highly recommend you ensure you new resume include the keywords, even if it means that you have to tweak the resume and tailor the cover letter for every single application.
- Use a Professional Font that can be easily read on a computer screen. Our favourite is Calibri because everyone else uses the boring fonts of ariel and times new roman. You want to stand out from the crowd, not blend in, and a suble use of a more professional font goes along way to develop a positive first impression in your new professional resume.
- Addressing Employment Gaps. Make sure your last 10 years flows with the dates, and that any gaps in employment are addressed within the resume. If you have had time off to raise your family, your new resume will need a special type of format to highlight your skills and experience, without highlighting the big gap in employment.
- Use of Correct Grammar. Sentences don’t have to be perfect in structure within your new professional resume. Executive and Professional Resumes use ‘statements’ where the filler words have been deleted. The end result is that the resume sounds like it has been written with a sense of urgency. There is no fluff or filler words, the resume gets straight to the point. This makes you appear more interesting and attractive to the recruiters and decision makers.
- Spelling Mistakes. There are many recruiters, managers and senior executives who will disregard an application if there is as little as one spelling mistake in your resume or cover letter. They hate them! Some will be more flexible, and oversee perhaps one error, but more than that they will start to question your attention to detail and ability to communicate effectively through the written word. Double check…no..Triple Check that your new professional resume, cover letter and LinkedIn profile contain no spelling mistakes! It would be a shame for you to miss out on a job opportunity for something as small as that.
- Respect Your Employer’s Privacy. There are some things that just should never be included in a resume. You may have had to work on fixing a major problem within your last position, but if it is confidential, you will have be very careful how you tell that story within your new resume and in the interview. Recruiters and employers should respect that you need to keep confidence, and if they don’t …well, that is telling you something about their own ethics, isn’t it?