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Essential resume tips

Essential resume tips

How does your resume measure up against these timeless principles? Does your resume make you stand out from the competition? Does it clearly show why you deserve to be interviewed for the job? Does it achieve these goals in less than 20 seconds?

Presentation is everything!

Until the reader meets you, you 'are' your resume. They don't know about your charming smile, your ability to multi-task effectively, or your warm way with customers. All they know is what they see on paper, and if they don't like it, you'll never have a chance to impress them with your positive features in person.

There are NO excuses for errors in your resume. Take the time to read, re-read, then have someone else read, your resume.

Careless formatting, sloppy presentation and spelling errors will suggest that you are also careless, sloppy and prone to error. That's not the kind of first impression you want to make, is it?

20 seconds is all you have!

Your resume has no more than 20 seconds to engage the reader's attention. The pre-screening process is brutal, hence the importance of outstanding presentation. If your resume doesn't scream out that you are worth meeting, then your resume will meet the recycle bin, quickly.

Invest the time necessary to structure and format your resume so the reader understands at first glance how and why you meet the requirements of the role. Doing this will also send a powerful message that you have invested time and care in preparing your application; a signal that you have not applied on a whim. If the reader cannot understand quickly the link between your experience and what is required for the role, they will assume you are not qualified and you will not get the crucial opportunity to present yourself in person.

Choose the right resume layout!

Resume layout refers to how you present your employment history; your skills, experience and achievements.

How you present the facts of your career has a major impact upon how they are interpreted. You can conceal your weaknesses and accentuate your strengths by choosing the right resume layout to match your needs.

You have three basic styles to choose from:

  1. The chronological resume
  2. The functional resume
  3. The combination resume

Learn and understand the differences between the main resume styles available to you.

Leave irrelevant information out!

Irrelevant information will dilute the power of your resume. Keep your resume focussed and concise and you will maximise its impact.

Your resume has one goal: to convince the reader that you are worth interviewing. That's it. Focus on presenting enough information, but not too much. Make the reader want to know more.

Target your resume!

If possible, never send a 'general purpose' resume. At best it will make you look ordinary. At worst it will make you look disinterested in the role.

Understand exactly what qualities and experience are being sought by the employer. Word your resume to demonstrate that you possess these qualities. State your achievements relevant to the target role, so the hiring manager is compelled to interview you.

In some cases, such as when meeting a recruiter for a scoping or exploratory interview, you may not have enough information to tailor/target your resume completely. In this case, you still need to be aware that the recruiter will be trying to 'put you in a box'; that is, to put a label on you so that when that type of role arises, you will be called. Why not take the initiative and decide yourself which box you'd like to be put in? Targeting your resume is a great way to do this.

How are you unique?

You must communicate why you are unique. Remember, your goal is to be invited for an interview.

This doesn't mean you should use hot-pink paper for your resume. It means to phrase your achievements in a way to demonstrates how you think and act.

Provide examples to show that you are 'highly motivated'. Don't just write 'I'm highly motivated'. Make it abundantly evident that you make a great candidate and deserve the opportunity to present your full case in person.

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