Writing a good resume or CV doesn’t have to mean following a standard dull template; it should showcase all of your accomplishments and talents. But, we all know that creating a good resume can become challenging so we’ve outlined below our top tips to make the perfect resume.
What is a Resume?
Before we get into creating the perfect resume, let’s make sure we’re all on the same page about what one actually is! A resume or CV is a document that consists of all of your rewarding accomplishments, educational background, references etc. To sum it up, a resume is a vital document that proves you have ‘the stuff’ for this job.
Often, a resume is the only kind of communication you will have with an employer in order to gain an interview. Therefore, it should be a document you are proud of! The best advice I can give is for you to think of your resume as an advertisement. Many people will apply for a role with a generic resume just hoping someone sees something they like, not realizing that over 100 candidates have often done the same. You must ensure that your resume stands out for all the right reasons and really sells you as the perfect fit for that position, team and organisation.
1. Presentation and Detail
- For starters, a resume does not have to be fancy, pretty or colourful; that said, your resume does need to be easily readable and typed in a clear, good-sized font. If you work in a more creative field then you could consider a more designed resume to showcase those creative skills, but for finance/legal/IT professionals I would suggest keeping it simple.
- Once upon a time, a myth went around that a resume shouldn’t be longer than a page – I don’t agree with that. That said, I don’t think you should have a novel of a resume, so try to stick to 2-3 pages and only highlight the information that is relevant to this role (we’ll explain this more in the tailoring section below).
- At the top, include your name and contact details. Personal details such as date of Birth, Marital Status are not necessary to add, but for offshore jurisdictions like where we recruit and immigration is so strict, it may be helpful to clearly identify your immigration status in the country of which you are applying for a job.
- Be sure to pay most attention to the details under the following headings: Education, Professional Experience and Skills. Make sure you include the dates with your work/educational experience with locations. You must include relevant details of your roles, duties, and responsibilities in previous positions, and I would suggest ordering them with the most relevant at the top. This doesn’t have to be a long paragraph, just a well-detailed bullet-pointed list, ideally showcasing the results of what you did.
2. Proofread Your Resume, then Proofread it Again!
It is important to proofread your resume and ideally allow someone else to proofread it or at the very least use a grammar-checking software to check it over for you. We constantly see resumes with incorrect grammar and spelling, and while not technically a glaring issue it can subconsciously make a hiring manager lose confidence in your attention to detail and when in competition against 100s of other applicants, these details matter.
3. Tailor Your Resume
This is one of the most important elements of a job search and sadly the most frequently ignored. It is highly important to tailor your resume precisely for each job position you are applying for, highlighting the company’s most important job requirements in your resume. Read the duties of the position in the job description and then ensure you have examples of your ability to do those duties showcased clearly and centre-stage in your resume.
Here are a few things to keep in mind when tailoring your resume:
- Do you have a covering letter explaining the reasons for your application?
- If you have an objective or goal on your resume, is it relevant to the position for which you are applying?
- If the job description requires specific skills or systems experience, where are they on your resume? Highlight them (literally, take out a highlighter and go old school on it!) and see what is missing.
- Are the most relevant parts of your duties for each position at the top?
- If the position asks for specific qualifications, do you have experience? Have you highlighted them?
Interests and Achievements
It is very easy to go overboard when adding your interests and achievements and while it is good to include some of your outside-work activities, keep it professional. If you are involved in volunteer/community work, associations or committees, be sure to add these. These show that you will take the initiative and are responsible. Employers love it! Additionally, be sure to list any activities of the arts or sporting; these show you are creative, dedicated and committed.
During your interview, you may find that the employer enjoys common interests, this can get you to the top and be a natural point of conversation.
Before Hitting Send
Before sealing the envelope or hitting “Send” on your email, be sure to read through your resume one final time for errors. Is it addressed to the right person? Are there any spelling errors? Is contact info updated? Have you highlighted everything that will make you stand out? If yes, hit that send button!
Need more specific job-seeking advice or assistance? Reach out to the CML team at firstname.lastname@example.org today for a confidential conversation.