When was the last time you updated your resume? Are you deferring making that career change because of that mammoth task of getting your CV in check? We have pulled together the best tips to make that task a whole lot easier.
These are the things you need to include in your resume:
This should be around 4 sentences that demonstrates how you sparkle and what differentiates you from the other 30 resumes that the recruiter needs to sift through. The things you include should highlight your areas of expertise, experience, strengths, and the value you bring. Asking yourself these questions can help:
What are my strengths?
What am I known for?
What words would my colleague or best boss use to describe me?
What am I passionate about?
Include a section specifically for your key skills, and then pepper them throughout your resume. This helps the Application Tracking Systems (ATS), those bots scanning your resume and increases the chances of shortlisting you. Make sure you tailor these depending on which role you are applying for. This means you need to scan the job ad to ensure you are using the same language that they are. If your resume says “stakeholder engagement” and the job ad says “stakeholder management”, do a quick replace to increase your chances of being found.
Style of resume
Your resume should be written in the third person; this means no personal pronouns like I and my. This can be an unnatural style to write in but can sometimes help when you feel uncomfortable about blowing your own trumpet; pretend you are writing it for someone else. Make sure your achievements and responsibilities for all roles (excluding your current position) are written in the past tense. Use strong action verbs to start your bullet points; these are doing words such as: delivered, facilitated, coordinated, and led.
Include your achievements
This is often what can set you apart from someone else. Often in the experience section, people only highlight their responsibilities. But you should also include a sub-heading with your key achievements. This is where you can demonstrate the impact that you had in each role. Quantify the impact of what you achieved where possible ($, efficiencies, cost, time etc).
Remove any unconscious bias - you don’t need to include any irrelevant information. For example, in the recruitment process, an employer doesn’t need to know where you live. In fact, they may have a view about a certain suburb and unconsciously judge you based on this. Likewise, you don’t need to include hobbies - we’d hate for you to get discounted because of your footy team. The only time where this can be included is if you are younger and have less work experience i.e. at school, leaving school, or university.
Length of resume
Your resume should be between 2-4 pages, with 3 pages being the sweet spot. If it is longer than 4 pages, you have included too much, and haven’t been succinct in your message. If it is less than 2 pages then you may not have provided enough information. Always get someone else to read through your resume; if someone who doesn’t know the ins and outs of your day to day work can understand it clearly, then you are on the money.
You want to be ready to apply for a job as soon as it becomes available, so making sure your resume and cover letter are good to go now is crucial. Here is a great checklist to guide your resume:
Update your experiences, achievements and skills so that they reflect the amazing person you are.
Ensure you highlight critical soft skills that are transferable to other industries and roles
Your resume should be tailored to the role that you are applying for. Study the job description you are applying for and ensure your application reflects the key skills they are looking for. Consider if you are a recruiter skimming hundreds of resumes what information are you wanting to see quickly.
Make sure your resume follows a consistent format and is easy to read. The biggest mistake we see with resumes is a sloppy format. Line up your margins, make sure the font is consistent, use clear headings and try to keep to 3 pages.
Your cover letter should be professional and highlight the skills you bring.
Don’t forget to update your LinkedIn too, as many recruiters use this site to check out applicants.
The hardest part is getting started, our tips will ensure your resume gets noticed.
Written by Claire Gray
Consultant, Coach & Facilitator at Thriving Culture
Claire is passionate about building high performing teams and people so that they can thrive. She is an accomplished HR Consultant, Coach & Facilitator and has over 15 years experience in Human Resources, Leadership & Organisational Development and Change Management. Claire works with businesses on their People Strategy to develop their leadership capability, embed a purpose led-culture and build a high performing team. She holds a Masters of Business (Human Resource Management), a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and is a certified Facet5 (personality assessment) practitioner. With over 500 coaching hours and an accreditation with the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, Claire is well qualifies to work with clients as an Executive/ Leadership coach, career and small business coach.