After a long time working in the same job, you have finally decided it is time for a change. If you already know the job you want to apply for, your next step is the dreaded paperwork. If you haven’t updated your resume in years and you wish to catch up before going on a job hunt, this week's blog is for you.
Keep it simple
Stick to a simple format for your resume. Keep it clear and neat. An overly creative resume that is hard to read will deter recruiters from spending time on it. Use a traditional layout: your contact details at the top, followed by your skills and experience, and your education background last.
To save space, cut your home address from your contact details. This protects your privacy if you post your resume online and recruiters will only contact you by email or telephone anyway. Last but not least, make sure your email sounds professional. Create a new professional email address if you need to.
Look at samples of resumes online and pick the one you like the most to get started. It is sometimes better to design your own resume, as some employers may consider using a template as a sign of laziness. Your resume should be aimed at the job you are applying for. If you are applying for an architect position for example, designing your own resume will make you stand out and work in your favour.
Focus on your skills and experience
Focus on your skills and your experience. Highlight the skills that are relevant for the position you are applying for. For example, if you are proficient in using a particular software but this software is no longer used, don’t include it in your resume. Skills change over time and what was relevant ten years ago may not be useful today.
In addition to skills, recruiters want employees with experience. Include any work experience that is relevant for the job you are applying for. Focus on what you have accomplished in your previous occupation. Highlight what you brought to the company you were working for: what you built, how you pushed sales numbers up or how you increased productivity.
You are selling yourself so showcase your achievements. If you have a website or a blog, include a link to them in your resume. If you are a freelance photographer posting pictures on Instagram, include the name of your account in your resume.
Polish your presentation
Presentation details such as font and colours can add up to the overall impression of your resume. However the opposite is also true. Choosing inappropriate font and colours can make a great resume look pretty average. The font should be easy to read and look modern. Size matters too. While a smaller size will allow you to squeeze in more information onto your resume, it will also make it more difficult to read by your potential employers. Don’t go below size ten and your resume will be fine.
Regarding the length of your resume, one to two pages is good, depending on your experience. If you are entering the workforce, you may not have much to write on your resume and a single page will be enough. Remember that your resume is nothing but a list of your skills and your experience. Don't write your autobiography.
Pick your words carefully. Avoid using the passive form and choose action verbs. This will give potential employers the impression that you are a dynamic person. Check your spelling before you save your resume. There are enough free online tools available to check your spelling for you so there is no excuse for a resume written in bad english.
Manage your time
In the end, there is only so much you can do to sell yourself. The companies you worked for and your previous roles are what recruiters are the most interested in. These won’t change, no matter how good your resume look. My final piece of advice is not to spend too much time on updating your resume. Set yourself a deadline, write the best resume you can and move on to the next step.