A good resume can help your application stand out. It should present the information a recruiter or employer is looking for in a way that’s clear and easy to read. Although there can be differences in some specialised industries, in most cases getting these six elements right will help your resume to make a positive impact.
Put the most important information first
Make sure that your most recent work experience and your qualifications are on the first page of your resume. You want this to be the first thing a recruiter or employer sees, other than your name. It needs to be clearly set out and easy to read.
Add some context
Providing the context of your experience is one of the best things you can do to improve your resume. It’s also one that is often overlooked. Don’t assume that the person reading your resume knows anything about your organisation or role. Including details like the size and location of your organisation, the size of your team and any direct reports, responsibilities or achievements is a good start. Giving context is particularly important if your experience is with interstate or overseas organisations that may be less familiar to people where you are applying. It’s also important when moving between industries and you need to demonstrate transferable skills.
If you want to go beyond simply listing achievements and responsibilities, then look for ways to demonstrate your work in action. Highlighting the results you have achieved for an organisation is a great way to do this. Of course, be aware of any confidentiality requirements that might limit what details you can disclose, but remember that employers are generally looking for tangible examples of how you have delivered in the past. If you can show your work in this way, you’ll be setting yourself apart from other applicants.
Link your professional social profiles
Take control of your online profiles and how you present your online personal brand. Keep your profiles up to date and link them on your resume. Including the whole URL is not usually necessary if you can hyperlink specific words. For example, you could try linking the words ‘see my work’ to your online portfolio. Think about what online content you want recruiters and employers to see and how it can enhance your resume. Then make sure it’s easy to find.
Use dot points
Instead of writing short paragraphs about your experience or education, try using dot points. You will likely find that you’ll fit more information in. Also, it will be easier for others to read, which recruiters and employers will thank you for when they’re reading a lot of applications.
Try a template
If you’re looking for a simple way to achieve a polished resume design, then a template could be the solution. Most publishing or word processing software should have a range of resume templates you could use. Choose one with a clear font that’s easy to read both on screen and in print. Make sure there is plenty of white space. Using headings is good as well. Ideally, try keeping your resume to a maximum of three pages. If you need more space, it’s better to add an extra page than squash too much information into three. Using a template can help you to avoid this and keep your document looking good.
So the next time you’re applying for a role, keep these six elements in mind. Put your important information first. Give context to your experience. Highlight results you’ve delivered and link to your online professional profiles. Use dot points to make your resume easier to read and consider using a template for a polished look. By doing these things well, you’ll be giving yourself the best chance of making a positive impact with your resume and being one step closer to your dream job.