How to write a resume that stands out

get your resume right

As a job seeker, a resume is your first chance to impress an employer. It is important to get the basics right, and to market yourself in the best way possible.

  1. Make sure that we have your name and contact details – and that those details are correct, current and that your email address is an appropriate one.

  2. Spelling and formatting: Believe it or not we do look at spelling, grammar and formatting. Poor spelling and formatting are particularly important if you are going for a role such as administration or sales as you will be expected to write documents that will go out to the customer. 

  3. Demonstrate some focus: The most effective resumes leave no doubt as to the job seeker's career objective. A one-size-fits-all resume gives the impression that the job seeker is uncertain of where they are going. Your job history tells the recruiter what you have done, but they need to know what you will DO in their organisation.

  4. List your accomplishments: Accomplishments allow employers to interpret your previous successes into what you can bring to the organisation. It also shows pride in your work. 

  5. Keywords: These days, recruiters use systems that scan documents for keywords, i.e. we look for the criteria that we asked for in our advertisement in your resume. Also as time-pressed as recruiters screen resumes and without these keywords you would not get a second look.

  6. Use the correct resume format: There are three resume formats -
    a. The chronological is best known and easiest to write, a timeline style resume. This format works well if your objective is to remain in the same industry or occupation.

    b. The functional resume places transferable skills and accomplishments at the beginning of your resume. However, a poorly crafted functional resume can be confusing and cause the reader to believe the candidate has something to hide.

    c. The hybrid resume combines the best features of other resumes. It showcases skills and accomplishments while maintaining ease of reading. This is the best format for job seekers of all level. The hybrid resume is well worth the additional time and effort to craft.

  7. Check for spelling mistakes: Many resumes do not appear to be proofread and have spelling mistakes, and don't create a great first impression.

  8. Gaps in work history: If there is a gap in your work history because you went backpacking for a year or left the workforce to have children, state that this is what you were doing at the time. Continuity of work history is an aspect that recruiters use to look for ‘red flags’.

  9. Don’t Lie: Remember that if you say you can do something and then your references or any other avenue confirms that you can not, you can look foolish and harm your reputation and your chances of getting that job.

  10. Make sure that we can open your resume: Use .doc/.docx and .pdf formats only so they can be opened on most platforms used by recruiters. Picture files such .jpeg or .gif look unprofessional.

Remember to take your time in submitting your resume to an organisation because forgetting to attach your resume at all is an ‘application killer’. Good luck!


Published 16 June 2016