Overdue for an Overhaul – Resume Essentials| RR Recruitment Weekly

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There has never been a better time to get your house in order. From decluttering to reorganizing. People across the country have used their time in ISO to get ready, to get going, when restrictions no longer limit what we can do and where we can go.

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This includes your resume.

As we head toward record levels of unemployment not experienced since 1994 (see link) competition for work, let alone your ideal role, is going to be stiff.  Revamping your resume so that it stacks up and stands out against the competition is critical. Don’t forget your LinkedIn profile either. Don’t have one? Maybe that time has arrived.

First things first: What does the ideal resume look like?  

Recruiters see many resumes.  Most are a bit ordinary. Some are just awful.  So rare is a good resume, when you come across one, it leaps off the page. Very few really sell the individual. From the poorly structured to the hastily cut and paste. From War & Peace to John & Betty.  9-point font, awful formatting, endless tables, enormous unexplained gaps, spelling errors, meaningless acronyms, the list goes on. Screening resumes can be really tough.

So here is a step by step guide to what a good resume should include:


  • Contact details – Name, email and phone mobile* (LinkedIn link optional)
  • Summary/personal statement/overview – call it whatever you want but this is a short punchy succinct paragraph that sums up you, your career, aspirations and/or direction. This is often the most challenging component and can be tailored to suit the role that you are applying for.
  • Education/Qualifications – preferably tertiary
  • Skills/attributes – hard and soft skills including technology
  • Employment History
    • Company name – include a brief description of the company – this is really important information for the reader
    • Dates of employment – month and year
    • Position title
    • Reported to
    • Role responsibilities and achievements

REPEAT but no need to go too far back i.e. last 12 years. Roles previous to this can be summarised as “Roles held previously to XXXX YEAR” either just listing the company name, your job title or a general summary will suffice.

  • Additional information – this section is reserved for any relevant adhoc accomplishments i.e.:
    • additional &/or relevant courses of study,
    • anything that you may have published,
    • speaking gigs at conferences,
    • Board/committee engagements,
    • Professional memberships
    • Voluntary work
  • Referees – please do not list names and contact details as it is critical that you have control over your referee details, just add that “referees’ details are available upon request”

*Make sure that you have a voicemail option on your mobile for messages

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There are a million resume templates available to download. While its down to personal taste, please consider the following when selecting your ideal style:

Fancy Formatting – BEWARE of fancy images and fancy software. See link

Your resume may not even get parsed to be considered. As industry guru, Greg Savage advises, you need to optimise your resume for parsing.  “…parsing technology may not pick it up” if its stuffed full of headers and footers and links and graphics. It’s the KISS principle. Keep it simple, clean and clear.

Font – Keep it uniform from the first to the last page.  Standardize your font size and style. 10-12 point is a good rule of thumb for text. Choose up to two font styles and stick with that. Don’t go overboard with underlining, capitalisation and bolding either. Keep it simple. Stand back and have a look at it once you are done. If it looks too busy/messy, then it probably is.

Cut & Paste – BEWARE!  It can often throw your formatting out and looks exactly what it is; cut and paste.

Less is More – you must always consider the reader. It’s a balancing act. You need to maximise the information that you share in a minimal amount of space. Be prepared to write a few drafts before you settle on the final document. Perhaps get someone else to read over and evaluate it.

Acronyms – if you really have to use acronyms in your resume, you do so at the risk of the reader not understanding what they mean. Do not assume that all acronyms are universally known, they are not.

Size does matter – its not one page; that would be a ‘Bio’. Nor is it longer than 5 pages.You need to stay in the Goldilocks zone.

That’s a wrap!  Simple and clear. Not War & Peace, but not under-representing yourself either. Just make sure you do complete a spell check before you PDF it and that includes common errors like “form” instead of “from” and “Mangers” instead of “Managers”

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