Writing an effective resume is an important part of the job application process, but where do you start? What does a good resume look like? Read on to find out more in this Success Hub blog, which will cover the basics of resume writing and what to include and exclude.
What’s in a resume?
The very first thing you’ll need to put on your resume is your name and surname. You’ll also need to include your phone number and email address so that the employer can contact you, so make sure your details are up-to-date and correct. Feel free to include the suburb you live in if you think it’ll help your application, but refrain from adding your full address as scam advertisements are easy to come across, so it’s better to remain safe. If you have a LinkedIn profile or website, consider adding these to your resume to give the employer a further insight into your skills and experience.
Despite what some may think, you should not include a photo, your gender, nationality, marital status or date of birth on your resume – your skills and experience will speak for themselves.
Career objective or personal summary
This is where the ‘Elevator Pitch’ that we discussed in the previous blog comes into play. In your career objective section, you should use the opportunity to tell the employer about why you’re applying for the job and why your skills make you the ideal candidate for them.
As employers will often have dozens of applicants for the one position, this is your chance to stand out from the crowd and catch their attention. Below is an example of an effective career objective is listed below:
A proven leader in the health and safety industries, safety driven and goal oriented, I am seeking a challenging opportunity to manage and lead large projects where my advanced skills, education and many years of experience can be utilised effectively.
The above example is considered effective as the candidate has listed what he’s seeking in the role (leadership), in addition to why he’s a strong candidate (advanced skills, education and extensive experience).
This section of your resume is used to highlight the specific skills that you possess that are relevant to the job you’re applying for. It’s better to use a bulleted list or columns rather than paragraphs here, as employers will often skim through your resume and might miss some important information if you have it written in paragraph format.
In the next blog, we’ll explore some of the skills you can list here.
Employment history/professional experience
This brings us to just about the most important part of your resume, your professional experience. Although this section doesn’t sit at the top of the resume, it’s sometimes easier to write it first as some of the information will be referenced in other sections.
Here, you’ll need to include:
- The name of the companies you worked for
- The location
- The job title
- Dates of employment
- Duties and responsibilities
In terms of formatting, the most common way to do this section is to write the name of the company on the left side of the page, and the dates in which you worked there on the right side. You’ll want to make this section clear and concise for the employer, so list your main duties and responsibilities in bullet point format (you should write at least three). Give these duties some thought – often, we do more in our roles than we give ourselves credit for!
This section can be moved around depending on the stage of your career. If you have minimal work experience or if you’ve just finished school or university, you may want to list your education just below the career objective section. If you have a reasonable amount of job experience however, this should sit below the employment history section.
If you have a certain qualification or license that the employer has listed as a pre-requisite for the role, you’ll want to make a note of this in your career objective section too.
When listing your qualifications, certificates or licenses, make sure you include the specific code and title, as well as the date you obtained it.
In almost every job application, the employer will request referees. These referees should be previous employers or instructors that can verify that you possess the skills required to perform the role. It’s a good idea to brief your referees about the job you’re applying for, so that they can prepare a succinct, relevant response.
Take note of how many referees the employer is asking for, and whether they’d like a written or verbal reference.
This should get you started on building a stand-out resume that will prepare you for upcoming job applications. Stay tuned for the next Success Hub blog, where we will discuss different types of resumes, and how to tailor these to the specific jobs and industries you’re applying for.
Take a look at the other blogs in our Resume Academy series: