Create a CV that gets results
How to write a resume? The devil is in the detail, as the saying goes – and once you’ve addressed your resume’s basic structure, it’s your attention to detail that will set you apart from other similarly qualified candidates.
Here’s our handy guide to the finer points of resume writing, along with some common pitfalls to watch out for.
Top resume tips and advice for success:
- When writing a resume, consider avoiding long lists of ‘responsibilities included’ statements. Instead, focus on your actual achievements, and begin each with a dynamic action word or phrase like ‘designed’, ‘coached’, ‘assessed’, ‘undertook’, ‘supervised’, ‘organised’, ‘managed’, ‘transformed’, etc.
- Keep your resume, and each section within it, as succinct as possible. Include the necessary information but do it clearly and concisely using only relevant details. Excessive detail and long blocks of text will not do you any favours, so use a template to help you format your resume and use bullet points to make information easily digestible.
- Avoid using any unusual fonts that might be difficult to read or that might not display correctly on someone else's screen: Arial, Times New Roman or Calibri are the safest options.
- Address any obvious gaps in your work history by writing a brief explanation where appropriate (perhaps you were travelling overseas, had a child or went back to university).
- Many recruitment agencies (and indeed, some larger companies) use special software to scan applications for certain words and phrases, which are called ‘keywords’. To maximise your resume’s chances of being found, it’s a good idea to make sure your resume contains key words from the job description, or from your role and industry, to ensure it passes the first round of checks. Common keyword examples include ‘project management’, ‘business development’, ‘customer service’, ‘account manager’, ‘software development’ and ‘leadership’, amongst many others. Look closely at relevant job listings to see which words are repeated, and weave them into your resume and cover letters.
- Get the fundamentals right: just one or two spelling errors in your resume could mean that your application is rejected by a potential employer.
- Privacy can be a real issue in today’s high-tech world. Be aware of employer/client confidentiality and never reveal information in your resume that can jeopardise a client’s privacy or put them at risk. Similarly, any confidential personal details - except for a contact number, address and email address - should be left out of resumes.
Next, read our step-by-step guide on how to write a resume.