Create a Winning Resume in 4 Easy Steps
Creating a competitive resume can be a daunting task, especially when you’re staring at a blank page. To get you started, we’ve outlined a simple 4 step process. Follow this guide to build an effective, highly-targeted resume quickly and easily.
Step 1 - Write Down Your Basic Personal Information
A relatively easy task, Step 1 is merely a fact-finding exercise. Go ahead and write down your personal information, including:
- Contact information - name, address, phone number and contact email (Note: you do not need to include marital status, date of birth or gender)
- Employment history - for each position, write down the name of employer, job title, period of employment and key achievements. You may also list any volunteer work and work experience
- Education, training and qualifications - for each qualification, write down the name of the institution where you studied, the course title and the date completed
Step 2 - Write Down Your Selling Points
Writing your resume is no time to be shy; be forthright in highlighting your selling points to communicate your competitive edge. Consider strengths and experiences that differentiate you from other job applicants:
- Industry specific skills - List skills relevant to the position(s) you will be applying for. For example, a person’s skill set could include the ability to drive heavy machinery, proficiency in particular software packages or other industry specific know-how. You can also rate your proficiency as ‘basic’, ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’ to give prospective employers a better understanding of what they can expect from you.
- Demonstrated skills - When preparing a resume in response to a specific job advertisement, pay special attention to the job’s selection criteria and key requirements. It is a good idea to re-iterate these requirements in your resume. Briefly discuss how you have demonstrated skills pertaining to each particular requirement in previous job roles.
- Special achievements - Highlight special achievements including work-related milestones, volunteer work, sporting accomplishments and more. It does not matter whether or not you achieved formal recognition for your achievement; if you’re proud of it and it relates to the job, write it down.
- Specific results - When identifying your achievements, use specific results wherever you can. For example, rather than saying you “increased profits”, say you “increased profits by 86%” or “added $2 Million Dollars to the company’s turnover in 6 months”.
Step 3 - Gather Supporting Documents
Before you submit your job application, you will need supporting documents to accompany your resume. Gather these items:
- Referees - Contact details for at least one person (preferably two to three people) who has supervised your work in the past and would be prepared to recommend you to your prospective employer. A previous boss, manager, supervisor, teacher or coach makes a perfect referee. Be courteous and let your referees know that you are including their names in your resume.
- Other required documents -If mentioned in the job advertisement or job application package, include a police clearance, dangerous goods license and other special items as required.
Step 4 - Assemble and Format Your Resume
By now, you have all the information you need for a winning resume and it’s time to put it all together in a single, neatly presented document. When formatting your resume, stick to the following guidelines:
- Keep it short. One to two pages is all that is needed to secure a job interview. If you find your draft is lengthy and overflowing into three or more pages, you will need to cull some information. Try making sentences more punchy and less wordy - using bullet points can help.
- Adhere to job advertisement guidelines. Many job ads specify email applications only. Others will state they accept only postal applications. Be sure you read the guidelines carefully and gain favour by giving prospective employers exactly what they want.
- Presentation is important. Consider hiring a professional resume writer for an immaculate looking document. If you’re creating your resume yourself, choose a clean and simple word processor template for your layout.
- Use sample resumes and resume templates for inspiration.
Now you know how to write your resume, it’s time to take action. Create your resume and keep it updated regularly. We also recommended you tweak your resume for each job application. This allows you to highlight your key selling points, emphasising and matching them to requirements listed in specific job descriptions. The more targeted your resume, the better chance you’ll have at securing your first interview.
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