You’ve been job hunting for a while. You’ve sent out hundreds of resumes but you’ve only received a handful of callbacks from the companies you applied to. You have finally found your dream position – with all the perks. It’s the one you’ve been waiting for, and you know you have one shot to get them to notice you. Each job post receives an estimated 250 applications. 2-3% of these will get invited for the interview. Your make or break lies in one thing – your resume. Even with the right skills and experience, writing a stand-out résumé is not as easy and straightforward as you’ve discovered. We’re here to empower you with the tips and knowledge you need for your next career move. Don’t fret. Do keep reading. We’ve put together a list of the top 10 resume do’s and don’ts you need to land you that coveted job or make the switch to something different.
What is a Resume?
A resume is a formal document used by applicants to apply for a job. Here, you give recruiters an account of your educational background, professional qualifications, work experience, skills, and other relevant information your potential employer needs to know.
The overall goal of your resume is to summarise to demonstrate to a hiring manager your potential and why you are the right candidate for the role.
What Do Hiring Managers Look For In A Resume?
The truth is there isn’t a blanket answer to this question. This is because it depends on what the hiring manager is looking for – and each position will have different requirements. Which is why your resume needs to be tailored to each new position you’re applying for. More on that below.
Don’t lose heart if you think you don’t stand a chance because you don’t know what it is the recruiter or hiring manager wants. There are essential skills, qualifications, and work experience they need to tick off their list to determine if you’re a probable candidate. What you do need to know however, is that for the most part, recruiters will read a resume that tells a story of the applicant’s career progression. The right format will indicate where you come from and ultimately how your past positions have led you to the job you’re now applying for.
What To Include In A Resume?
Whether you’re just entering the job market or have worked for years as a professional, the temptation to include everything you’ve done is present. But this is not necessary, and pages and pages of your professional story will give off the wrong impression. The key is to keep it short and include a few key things:
- Contact details
- Certificates, awards, honours and professional memberships
- Educational background
- Work history
- Soft, hard, and technical skills
- Summary statement
- Key professional accomplishments
To help you get noticed, we’ve put together a list of top dos and don’ts of what your resume should have and doesn’t need:
Top 10 Resume Do’s
- Do include links to your LinkedIn page, website, or your Alison Public Profile. These give your application a boost.
- Do make use of a tool like Alison’s Resume Builder to give you a clean, professional, and expert-looking resume that will make it stand out amongst the rest.
- K.I.S.S: Keep It Short and Simple. Two pages is the ideal length. Unless you’ve recently graduated from high school, the executive role you’re applying for doesn’t need to include your waitressing gig from 20 years ago.
- Do use a simple format for your resume. A Word or PDF file is accepted and easy to access by everyone. Not all companies will have the latest software to open and read other format types.
- Create a customised resume for each job application. This ensures your focus is on the specific job skills sought and expresses your interest and excitement about being part of the company.
- Do quantify your achievements and don’t just provide generic statements like “team player”. Add adds weight to your abilities by making statements like “contributed to my team winning a $10 million project bid”.
- Do highlight your most relevant work experience. Your resume should demonstrate how the skills, experience, and accomplishments you’ve had will help you perform in the role you’re applying for.
- Do list your soft skills. And give examples of where and how you’ve used these skills in your previous roles.
- Do perform a spell and grammar check using tools like Grammarly or Hemingway. And repeat this exercise one more time before hitting ‘send’.
- Do include a minimum of two references and ensure you’ve asked them to be your referees. You want them to be prepared for a possible call and have made notes on what to say.
So, you’ve looked over your resume and you’ve done everything right. Read our list of don’ts below to ensure your resume doesn’t just look good, but great!
Top 10 Resume Don’ts
- Don’t include personal details like your marital status, or number of children (if any).
- Don’t hide gaps in your resume. If you do, they may get the impression there’s something you’re not telling them. Be aware that you may have to explain these in the face-to-face interview.
- Don’t use coloured text, different font sizes, shading, italics, underlining, boxes, or graphics. If you’re a designer, your portfolio will show off your artistry and skill.
- Don’t copy and paste the job description from the ad to your resume. Use creative ways to say the same thing.
- Don’t go overboard. This includes the length of the resume, and the information added. Nor should you oversell yourself.
- Don’t use cliché statements and phrases. If you must, make sure they are relevant to the industry and role you’re applying for.
- Don’t include irrelevant hobbies or interests as passionate as you are about them. Unless you’re applying for a job with the company that develops PlayStation and are an avid player, don’t include this.
- Don’t include negative phrases or emphasise the skills you don’t have or things you can’t do. This will send your resume to the “No” pile. Don’t mislead them with information about what you can do. Eventually you’ll have to demonstrate these skills and failing here will inevitably result in a black mark against your name.
- Don’t have a solid wall of copy. It’s not reader-friendly. Instead, break up the text with spacing and bullet points.
- Don’t list your current salary or your expectations. There’s a time and place for everything and your résumé is not the place.
There you have it. The top 10 most important dos and don’ts for your resume that will help you get your foot in the door and one step closer to bagging your dream role.