Résumé writing is an important skill. A résumé is your introduction to the world of employment, indicating who you are and why you’re suited to a role. It should reflect your ethos, professionalism and relevant experience. As it’s the first time a potential employer has an opportunity to meet you, this critical document has a host of important functions to fill so you stand out from the crowd.
Here are six tips for dynamic résumé writing that reflects who you are and what you offer.
A résumé has distinct functions that show:
- You are employable
- You can meet the requirements of the role
- You have relevant qualifications and education
- You have relevant skills and experience
- You have the right attitude and professionalism for the job
A potential employer looks at a résumé for only a brief moment of time, making their decision on whether you’re a candidate or not in minutes. Your résumé should facilitate this by being clearly laid out with sections that are easy to read and recognise.
A résumé doesn’t need to be fancy but does need to look professional and should be typed out. Most word processing software has suggested résumé formats that you can use, while headings and bullet points are a great way to convey information in a short amount of time.
The preferred format for résumé writing is a word document as some employers cannot access PDF files.
Youth Central has some great resources and samples for résumé writing. Even if you don’t have much work experience, they note your résumé should include the following information in this order:
- Contact details – Ensure these are current and include both an email address and phone number, preferably a mobile number if possible. You address is not essential but can be valuable in some instances.
- Opening statement – This is your “sales pitch” that indicates a little bit about who you are. It should be a single to two paragraphs where you link your skills and experience to the job advertised.
- List of key skills – This is a list of skills that may be applicable to the job advertised. If the job brief doesn’t provide a list of required skills, consider items that an employer would find relevant like good communicator, team player etc. Think about skills you have learnt in previous roles or via work placements.
- List of technical/software skills – Most positions will require some sort of technological ability, so list the skills you have such as proficiency in MS Office, advanced skills in InDesign etc.
- Personal attributes/career overview – Youth Central notes that if you don’t have much work experience you can use this section to highlight other attributes that may be relevant like honesty, reliability etc.
- Educational qualifications – You only need to include the highest level of education you have attained like Year 12. If you’re results are relevant you can include them along with other achievements like positions of responsibility at school or uni.
- Employment history/volunteering/work placements – Starting with your most recent employment, list the paid positions you have held. In your early working life, this list may not be extensive, but can be expanded by outlining work experience, internships or volunteer work.
- References/referees – References are the best way for employers to tell what type of person you are and how reliable you will be as an employee so take the time to seek out two written references or referees. Previous employers make the best referees but you can also use someone else who would indicate you are suited to a workplace.
The length of a résumé generally ranges from one to two pages, and should not exceed this. If you’re stretching to three you should cull some information. One page is considered fine for young people starting out in your career – it’s better to keep information succinct rather than padding out a document with unnecessary or irrelevant details.
While you don’t have to rewrite your entire résumé for every job you apply for, you will need to tailor it in parts. That may mean inserting relevant skills and deleting extraneous information. It definitely means rewriting your opening statement to make it relevant to the job advertised.
One of the key mistakes job seekers make is failing to check their résumé for typos, poor grammar and mistakes. Your résumé is designed to make an excellent first impression so it should be 100% error free. Even if spelling and grammar is your strong suit, have someone else cast an eye over your résumé to ensure it is free from mistakes, and it is essential you run a spell check.
The last word
A good résumé takes time to create and will require updating. Once you’ve nailed this all important document you have your foot in the door to exciting employment opportunities. The Father James Grant Foundation provides young job seekers with the skills, confidence and tools they need to attain meaningful employment. You can contact us here to learn more about what we offer.