What should you know about writing a resumé?

When you write a resumé, you are essentially putting your skills and abilities up for sale. Never falsify or embellish your capabilities, this will all come out in the wash eventually and can potentially stand to impede your ability to get that perfect position. Honesty is the best policy!

Ensure you include a header and /or footer with page number and your Name, Address, Phone number and Email address in case your pages become separated.

How long should a resumé be?

If you are a school leaver, one page is fine. Make sure you never use oversized font to fill in gaps. Employers do not expect you to have a substantial amount of experience to document. Candidates with only a few years experience should use up to two pages. Otherwise, 2-3 pages are average.
Over three pages are considered to be too long for a resume. The recruiter only scans resumes for key words so if it's too lengthy, it won't get read. Be consistent with your formatting to ensure spaces are minimised where appropriate.

The idea is to captivate your reader by including information that is relevant to the position you are applying for.

Mature candidates if you have an extensive amount of experience, you should go back no further than 10 years when outlining your work history. Stick to the immediate past, your high school education is no longer relevant.

Target your audience

Ensure you don't use the same resumé for every job you apply for. Make sure each version is specific to the individual position. Ensure you don't refer to yourself in the third person. If you want your resume to be more businesslike or corporate, don't use 'I', 'We' or 'My'.

Formatting

Make sure the layout is clear and easily read when the eye is quickly passed over it. Ensure you have bold titles which outline your skills, experiences, and abilities. Do not use too much text.

Resumés Layout

Ensure you include your personal information such as name, address, phone number and email contact. Ensure you also include a header and/or footer with page number and all your contact information in case your pages become separated.

Titles to include
  • Career Profile, Overview or Summary
    (outlines the direction you want to take)
  • Key Strengths
    (What makes you unique?)
  • Education & Training
    (Start with your most recent qualification, ensure you include course codes and the place the qualification was attained)
  • Career History
    (Use reverse chronological order)
  • Key Responsibilities
    (The day-to-day tasks you perform)
  • Key Achievements
    (Additional tasks you performed over and above your call of duty)
  • Personal Interests
    (Not mandatory)
  • Referees (at least two professionals, preferably your supervisor or manager - you may write 'available upon request')

Just remember, there is no perfect resumé template as resumés are completely subjective. One person may like your style while another does not. There is no right or wrong way to present your resume. Do keep it simple though. Follow the rules outlined and before including information, ask yourself, 'Does this information have the potential to present anything about me negatively?' For example, is including your birth date beneficial?

Ensure someone else has read your resume before you submit an application

Make sure you have constructed your resumé before you begin searching for that perfect position. You will otherwise be rushed and risk making costly errors which may lead to missing out on the perfect opportunity.

Useful Resources

Resume Writing Template – .DOC
Resume Writing Template Accompanying Notes – .PDF
Resume Self Assessment Activity – .PDF
Resume Self Assessment Accompanying Tool – .PDF