If your career is a journey, your resume is your passport!
How long does a recruiter spend reviewing a resume: 3 minutes? 10 minutes? 20 minutes?
How about less than 8 seconds - yikes!
That’s what The Ladders, reported. A study that tracked eye movement (for real) as recruiters read resumes found they typically spend 7.4 seconds deciding on a candidate based on what they saw.
Your resume serves a firm purpose, so you need to make sure everything about is in sync with that purpose — landing you the job.
Writing a resume for the first time can be confusing, but once you get started, you’ll quickly learn what works and what doesn’t. Everyone has different ideas for what makes a ‘great’ resume, but there are some clear ideas for what makes a ‘bad’ resume.
Below we’ve summed up seven key tips for writing a resume that scores you interviews from the get-go:
1. First Things First: Get the Basics Right
The goal of a resume is to represent your relevant skills and accomplishments in the best way possible. Every resume requires these essential elements:
- Contact information: Your full name, the city where you live, your email address and phone number. And make sure that email address is professional!
- Relevant work and volunteer experience: List your experiences beginning with the most recent. Include relevant information from your past jobs and focus on listing achievements rather than tasks.
- Education History: Provide details of your highest study achievements - don’t mention qualifications you didn’t complete or that you failed at. Just focus on the positives.
Top Tip: Remember to include job titles, employer/organisation/school names, and to-from dates (month and year is fine). Be consistent across the information you include!
2. Tailor Your Resume Explicitly
If you’re applying for various positions - whether for part-time, casual work, apprenticeships, or further study - you must tailor your resume to demonstrate the skills that match what you’re applying for.
Cut out any fluff or extra bits that, while they might sound good, have no relevance to the role at hand. Make sure the emphasis is on the information that matters.
3. Focus on Specific Accomplishments Over Vague Actions
Rather than listing generic details, use specific examples that demonstrate your accomplishments.
You can do this across all areas of your resume, whether under job or volunteer work descriptions, school achievements, or hobbies.
Mention awards (achieved or nominated), how you contributed to group projects and the grades completed, and talk about the size of the teams you’ve been a part of. Being specific helps whoever reviews your resume to build a more concrete picture of who you are and what you can do.
4. Explore Other Resumes For Inspiration
If you’re writing a resume for the first time, don’t guess: do some research!
There are heaps of resources available online to help inspire you. Search online for the job title, industry, or company you’re thinking about applying to and see how others present their backgrounds and skillsets. This is a great way to uncover how to describe your skills, knowledge, aspirations and experience.
You might have experience that isn’t directly related but is still really relevant to the position you’re applying for. Someone else’s resume might feature a similar history and offer an example of how to frame this experience in a great way.
Top Tip: Check out the case studies on the NGTU site for heaps of inspiration, ideas and tips!
5. Remember K.I.S.S: Keep It Simple Stupid!
Employers need to understand your work experience and background quickly, so keep everything on your resume as clear, concise, relevant and easy-to-read as possible.
Format your experience as a list of short, scannable statements, rather than writing out long paragraphs. The most important thing is to present relevant information in an easy format, so the person reading your resume can immediately see how your skills and experience match their requirements.
If you can’t decide what is essential, ask yourself if what you’re including is relevant to what the employer asks for in the job description. Which leads us onto …
6. Use the Job Description to Help You
Many bigger companies and recruitment processes use applicant tracking systems (ATS). ATSs are designed to look for specific keywords; usually, these keywords are mentioned throughout the job description, so it’s essential to pay close attention and tailor your resume to include as many as possible while linking them to your experience.
Hiring managers want to see that you can speak their language and know the lingo of their industry. When they see their own keywords mirrored back to them in your resume, it reinforces the idea that you’re a strong candidate for the role.
Top Tip: Go through the job, role or position description and highlight any strong standout words (usually in the ‘Essential Requirements’ section) and use this to help you tailor your resume for the job.
7. Proofread Several Times to Catch Typos & Misspellings!
Unfortunately, a single spelling error is sometimes enough to get your resume discarded.
Review your resume multiple times, doing a thorough line-by-line, word-by-word edit. Printing it on paper and following each line with a pen as you read it can also be helpful.
And an outside perspective is always a good idea. Ask a friend, mentor, or family member to review your resume for you before submitting it to employers.
And that’s it!
These are all tips you can action right now — make sure you implement a process of ‘review and refresh’ when building your resume so that it grows as you do. This means:
- Reviewing what you’re doing regularly.
- Adapting to your chosen market.
- Implementing effective changes.
- Seeking out actionable feedback.
- NOT staying stuck in a rut doing the same thing repeatedly if it doesn’t generate the results you want.
Put all that in place, and you’ll be on the way to your next interview (and job role) in no time.
Written a kick-ass resume and ready to get started? You can apply for the latest course, job or a gap year right here on NGTU!
Create your personal and free online profile to apply for the numerous opportunities online.
By: Elaine Mead