Very few of us get excited by crafting or updating our resume, but it’s usually a necessary evil to move forward. While the internet is over-flowing with templates and examples, keep in mind that regardless of the format you choose, there’s core info which should be covered.
1. Fear not the white spaces: Keep the text well spaced so it can be skim read. Avoid fancy fonts and only use headings and bold text to highlight key information.
2. Less is more: Preferably one page, two pages max.
3. Missing career-relevant work history? Think what you do outside of study and leverage other skills and experiences, including:
- writing blogs, developing websites etc (include links);
- competitions (design and photography awards, Kaggle, entrepreneurship events etc);
- participation in university clubs and/or meetup groups;
- volunteer efforts;
- casual and part time work – highlight the evergreen, transferable skills i.e. customer service, work ethic, insight into how businesses work and;
- passionate about an industry? Use an assignment or other project to highlight your industry knowledge i.e. current developments or issues.
4. References: Ensure that you seek permission from any referees you’re listing. Touch base if it’s been a while since last contact.
5. Read it out loud: Spelling and grammar errors torpedo credibility. Printing out a copy and reviewing is an extremely effective way to identify mistakes.
6. Minimise white noise: Birthday, middle name, marital status and religion are irrelevant.
Finally: Refresh your CV every six months, even if you’re not job hunting because it’s pretty painful to remember everything you’ve done after a year has flown by. If nothing else, keep rough notes of any new skills or experiences.
Skeleton resume structure:
Header: Name, address and contact details
Objective: Two – three lines summarising how your skills, ambition and experience provides context.
Dot points listing:
- Degree/s and majors, expected completion.
- Any other diplomas or short courses.
Employment history (start with the most recent experiences)
- Job title
- Year/s worked i.e. September 2014 – December 2015
- Focus on outcomes when possible as opposed to tasks (present as dot points, written in past tense).
Extracurricular or volunteer activities: If you have any relevant paid or unpaid experience, highlight the role/s, skills and key results.
Skills: Include languages spoken, software packages, programming languages etc.
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