Resumes for success
By Guy R Williams AACC Member
A résumé is a tool to get access to people who will hire you. Therefore with this in mind, it is important to include information which will make an employer want to meet you. Think of a résumé as a carrot to entice an employer to give you an interview.
A résumé is a marketing tool with you as the product. An employer should be able to quickly ascertain your main skills and the way you could be useful for them.
A résumé is not a snapshot of your life, and thus you are not obliged to include everything that you have done. Ensure that all the information that you present is positive.
In the past the emphasis on resumes was chronology, when you did things and how long you stayed there. However, today's résumés focus on the skills that you can offer, and the achievements and qualities that make you unique.
The ingredients for success:
Name, address, phone, email. Objective
- Include an objective if you have a clear idea of what you want. For example - "I would like to secure an entry level position with an innovative IT company utilising the knowledge acquired from tertiary studies and practical experience."
- Only include this if you have a very specific job goal. If this is worded in a vague manner it can actually be a negative. For example "I would like a position that allows me to apply my knowledge on a variety of subjects in a manner that would be personally satisfying."
- List the skills most relevant to the job you are applying for in order of significance. Make it obvious what you have to offer.
- Look at the advertisement and selection criteria and list relevant skills that they ask for and you can do.
- Include all relevant education. If it is not complete but relevant to the job you are applying for include it with a small note. (ie in progress, deferred)
- Include name of institution where you studied, name of course and date of graduation.
- This section may go first (before demonstrated skills) if education is the most important factor in your application.
- Make them specific and quantifiable otherwise they are meaningless.
- Omit self-praising adjectives that lack credibility, instead include personal qualities that you can verify. This can be done by using a specific story, a quantifiable amount (ie I increased sales by 10%) or by making it someone else's opinion.
- Research at the University of NSW found that individuals who include such statements experienced a 10 - 30% greater chance of getting an interview.
Employment experience or career overview
- Include the name of your employer and the job title
- Highlight achievements not just duties
- Make a list of key achievements for each job, for example "I introduced a new administration system that improved efficiency and saved money" Being modest is not going to catch an employer's eye.
- If it suits your needs list your jobs out of chronological order. For example you may wish to divide your experience under two headings - related experience and additional experience.
Special achievements or sporting achievements
- Include any key achievements in sport, the community or the arts that show you in a positive light
Community involvement or volunteer work
- This section allows you to show further relevant skills that you have developed through your volunteer or community work.
- Include short courses here or training that is not as relevant to position.
- The final decision on who to hire will be influenced by who the employer likes. A common interest may influence the decision when presented with two similar candidates.
- Including interests is a way to provide evidence of skills that you possess, ie if you are an organising member of a club, demonstrates organisational skill or it may be that the interest you have is directly related to the job you are applying for.
- This should be someone who has supervised your work (teacher, coach, supervisor) or who has a good knowledge of your ability to do the job. Ideally you should have had recent contact with them and it is a good idea to call them to formally request their assistance.
There are many ways to make a résumé but remember be flexible with your resume and then adapt it to suit each individual job application. If you are not getting interviews with your resume change it. It is a living document.