If you’ve just finished your degree or you’re looking for work, there’s a good chance you’ll need to update your resume. There’s an even higher chance some of you reading this haven’t done it in years.
Your resume is your introduction to potential future employers – and first impressions count. Here are some tips to help you give your resume the update it deserves.
1. Check for god damn spelling mistakes
I’m that one friend everyone sends their resume to for feedback. I can’t tell you the amount of times someone has spelled something as simple as their own email address incorrectly, put down the wrong phone number or made mistakes that would have been picked up on if they’d taken the extra five minutes to do a final edit themselves.
My best advice is to leave it for an hour or two (or overnight, if you can) then do your final check before sending off to a potential employer.
First, triple-check that your contact information is absolutely correct. Then, spell check using the spell checker on Word or whatever program you’re using. Last of all, do a final check yourself to be sure nothing was missed by the spell checker.
2. Make a generic copy, then tailor it to suit the position you’re applying for
You should ideally have two versions of your resume: a generic copy with all of the key details in it, and then a copy that you’ve made specifically for the position you’re applying, making sure to addresses all of the criteria in the job description that is relevant to you and your skill set. The resume you submit shouldn’t copy the requirements of the job verbatim, but the recruiter should be able to pick yours out of the pile and say ‘yep, they can do what we need them to’. Copying the exact wording of the job description is sloppy, and won’t be the best impression for a future employer.
3. Your high school probably doesn’t matter
Once you’ve made your tailored resume for the job you’re applying for, make sure the ‘stuff’ on your resume is actually relevant. If you have a degree or higher education qualification, your high school probably doesn’t matter. If you’re applying for a job in your field of expertise and you have tonnes of experience, your first job in fast food isn’t relevant anymore. Although, if you don’t have a lot of experience, I’d leave it on there. Your early jobs are a great way to showcase your problem solving and people skills!
Essentially, keep it simple and prioritise quality over quantity. You want to hone in on the experience you have that will give you the edge in the new role, rather than focus on the small stuff and make it a painstakingly long read for the recruiter. Don’t go overboard with the amount of pages. If you’re resume is over four pages long, you especially need to take this advice. Less is more!
4. Don’t go overboard with pie charts or graphics
There’s a trend at the moment where people are adding pie charts to their resumes. I urge you not to jump on the trend – someone is going to take one look at it and wonder why you’re only 18% proficient in Microsoft Office. Graphics do add a nice and personalised touch to a resume, but don’t go overboard. You don’t want to stand out in a bad way. Don’t pick colours that are too bright, stick to a readable font like Arial and ensure there is plenty of white space.
5. Back yourself
Under your work experience, don’t just say ‘worked on a project’. Say something like, ‘I worked on a communications project that reached an audience of 800 people and was 90% successful’ or ‘social media engagement grew by 40%’. You want to tell the employer what you did and what it meant for the business or customer to show that you have the skills and the stats to back yourself up.
Now, I’m not a recruiter. But if you can polish your resume and go into each application with confidence and a good attitude, you’re bound to go far.
Written by Amanda Louise
Amanda Louise is a writer and photographer based on the South Coast of New South Wales, Australia. You can view more of her work at http://amandalouise.squarespace.com/
Image credit: Giphy