Key takeaways

  • Your resume is a tool to market yourself

  • Ensure the information is complete

  • Check layout as well as content

  • Ensure your career objective makes your intentions clear

A well written, winning resume is a personal marketing tool, and its purpose is to get you an interview.

Your resume is the first impression a potential employer will have of you. A winning resume should show your achievements and value to the company in a short, sharp and proactive way. Huge number of resumes are often received, so managers usually only have a couple of minutes to scan each one. Make sure that the key information isn’t buried, or that your resume is hard to read.

Resume checklist

1. Your profile summary

What you write must make the hiring manager want to read more. It is an ad to the rest of your resume. Your profile must quickly show who you are and what you can do for the company.

2. Work experience

Employers are interested in what you achieved in your previous roles and your true responsibilities rather than just your job title. If your job title is weak, or inaccurate when compared with the duties you were responsible for, put a more accurate or descriptive title in brackets e.g. Head Waitress (Night Shift Manager)

3. Education

In the employment market, education is always an advantage. However, if your education is incomplete or non standard, you will find many tips online to help you make your education work for you. Education includes continuing education, on-site training at your previous job and training seminars that you have attended etc.

4. Contact information

Place your postal address, telephone number and email at the top of your resume. Your current work telephone number and work email address are not appropriate.

5. Content is key

While formatting is important for a successful resume, no amount of dressing will make a weak resume strong. List your skills and accomplishments first and tidy the document later.

6. Honesty policy

Grossly overstating your accomplishments can trip you up during an interview or eliminate your chances of securing an interview at all if they arouse suspicion. Even if your embellishments make it past a recruiter, you set yourself up for failure by misrepresenting your abilities.

7. References

It is important to include details of two references, such as former employees. If you are a graduate with no work history, include details of a former lecturer.

8. Spell check

Finally, don't forget to spell check your CV. Remember, it is the first impression your potential employer will have of you, so take the time to get it right. If possible, ask someone to proof read your resume to check for any spelling, layout or typing errors.

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