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How To Write a Good Resume

Updated on October 24, 2016

Where to Start

Today I had to rewrite my resume as I am looking for a part-time job. It took me quite a while to get it all down and to work out what part of my life is relevant and what is not important. This is not an easy task when you are forty something and have lived life a bit. What made it even harder was the fact that I have been out of the work-force for a couple of years and that my last working experience was in another country. I have had no experience working here in Australia yet. So my challenge was to set it all out being honest but selling myself as someone who would be invaluable. This is what I learned as I did my own resume - I hope it helps you too.

Important Tips for Outstanding Resumes

The key to getting a new career is having a good resume. It needs to be relevant and factual, representing you as a person. If it none of these, the chances of getting an interview are slim.

  1. Always be Truthful - Stretching the truth to improve your resume is not a good idea as this could backfire when the company decide to contact previous employers. Make sure you are honest but at the same time word your job description carefully.
  2. Make it Eye-catching - In the good old days we would make sure we had our resume printed out and placed in a colorful binder so as to be noticed. With the email era upon us we still need to find ways to make our resume stand out. This is very easy to do now with the choice of numerous fonts, borders and layouts available to use. Experiment and see what looks good.
  3. Plan your resume layout - Using a Template for your resume is a good idea as they are current and give you many choices of layout. Decide how you would like your resume laid out and find a template that will match your ideas. Layout is extremely important as you will only have about ten seconds to catch the attention of the person reading your resume. If the layout looks confusing and crammed too full of information, you will lose the readers attention instantly.
  4. Factual - Make sure your resume is factual and to the point. They do not need your whole life's history. Contact details and information needs to be correct and accurate so check these details thoroughly. This is particularly true if you are using an old resume - sometimes our details change and we forget this - you don't want to miss out on a job because your information is incorrect and they can't contact you.
  5. Chronological - Your resume needs to be reader friendly. To do this, your experience needs to be listed chronologically from your most recent experience, listing the name of the company, your position and responsibilities and the duration of your employ. Don't assume that they will know about this company - give them a bit of information but keep it concise.
  6. Point Form - Your position description and key responsibilities and achievements should be listed in point form. This is easier to read and process than long sentences.
  7. Personal Information - Although this comes at the end of your resume it is an important part of who you are and makes you real to employers. Education gives them an idea of your qualification whereas interests and hobbies make you human and any volunteer work you do also adds a side that you are caring and interested in your community. These interests need to be factual as they can come up in interviews as questions to put you at ease - you don't want to be caught in a lie.
  8. Referees - Some applications may stipulate that you give three referees or references from previous employers.If this is the case have these referees ready and make sure you notify them that they may be called in regard to your previous employment. If they do not request references then you may write "References supplied on request" in your resume. Personal referees are usually not required as it is your work experience they are interested in.
  9. Concluding - When you have finished typing your resume, the golden rule is to proof read it and use the spell check to get all your spelling accurate. It would be a good idea to get a family member or friend to proof read it as well as often we can overlook the same mistakes in documents we work on.

All that is left to do is to write a cover letter with your application, but that is a topic all its own! Make sure you leave enough time to get your application and resume in - handing in a late application will immediately exclude you no matter how good your resume is.If you are actively looking for a job then keep your resume updated and a copy so that you can edit it depending on what job you are applying for and what qualities you want to highlight for each job. Don't assume that one resume will fit every job. You will have the same work experience, but you can change the focus of your role accordingly. For example, I am a teacher by training - if I were applying for a teaching position then I would highlight my teaching skills and abilities, however if I were applying for an administrative role in education, I would highlight my administrative abilities and qualities in regard to my teaching experience.

Most of all, see value in yourself and believe that you are worth employing and that you have value to add to the organization you will be joining - if you believe in yourself then you will exude confidence at the interview stage and come across as a confident person that will be an asset to the company.


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