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4 Tips to a Winning Resume!

Picture of Shanika Walcott

Shanika Walcott

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A resume can be seen as a summary of your accomplishments, education and work experience as well as some personal skills, goals, hobbies and attributes. For many writing resumes can be seen as boring, overwhelming or engaging in an act of self-praise, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You probably have sent out dozens of resumes to varying companies and now wondering why you have not gotten the response you expected.

Here are a few tips to have a winning resume!

Personal, Professional, Genuine information

The first section or header of the resume should be your personal information such as your name, address, telephone number and email address. On the note of email addresses, you should ensure that your email address is professional or appropriate for business purposes. Therefore your email address for this purpose should not look like: “drunkgirl123@xxx.com” or “sexyfirefighter@xxx.com” or “bajancutie246@xxx.com”. Instead maybe try your first name and last name, for example, “marysmith@xxx.com”.

In this section, you should also avoid including your nationality, age, marital status and picture, as these can lead to discrimination. Candidates should only be chosen based on their ability to perform the job. Subsequent to your personal information, include a summary or a professional statement. One should modify each professional statement to the specific job in which you are applying for.

Skills, skills, skills! It is important to highlight your skills on your resume. It may seem like self-praise, but your skills can distinguish you from the next candidate and maybe get you to the first round of interviews. Wondering what are considered skills? Here are a few that you might have but didn’t realize: time management skills, organisational skills, problem solving and communication skills. So, remember to include them! However, please only include skills that you have or relate directly to you because the truth will come out. When listing skills, try to list the skill requirements from the job advertisement first, then followed by any additional skills after. In the uncertain world that we live in today and the everchanging business environment, it is meaningful to highlight your technical competency or skills also. As we move towards digital or remote working, these skills are becoming more of an asset than before. Therefore, you should highlight and showcase the ones you possess. For example, you might be highly competent in the Microsoft Office software, with applications such as Word, Excel or PowerPoint. An additional example is competency in QuickBooks or Xero Software if that would be seen as an asset to the job in which you are applying for. Don’t be afraid to put them on your resume, but also remember, to be honest about your abilities; again the truth will come out!

A well Structured design

Your resume should be well structured and easy to follow. Avoid making the resume confusing by jumping back and forth between sections. For example, listing work experience, then speaking to hobbies, and back to work experience. Instead, have a “brain dump session” and note all information you wish to add to your resume, then edit and reduce and structure. This allows you to clearly see all the information listed, which assists in grouping and elimination of unnecessary information.

An example of a good structure is

  • Summary
  • Education
  • Experience
  • Volunteer Work
  • Interest/ Activities
  • References

It is important to remember to include your references on your resume. Leaving out references or ‘references upon request’ can deter the recruiter and cause you not to move from the ‘application phase’ of the process and into the first round of interviews.

Detailed experience

Always list all of your experience, this includes your work experience, education and volunteer work as these are the major sections in your resume. As previously suggested, brain dump all of your experience including the years related to them. Subsequent to this exercise group all work experience, education and volunteer together and list chronologically in descending order (most recent first to last). Although some might recommend only including the experience relevant to the job in which you are applying for, this is not recommended by us . This is because omitting experience will lead to questions by the recruiter such as “ is this person reliable?” or “ can this person be committed to this company?”; and potentially leaving in the application phase as previously stated. Therefore, we recommend you to list all of your experience and avoid gaps. When speaking to your experience, it would be an asset to highlight duties and responsibilities from previous jobs. This can assist as jobs can have similar titles in different companies, however, they can have varying duties and responsibilities. Listing these responsibilities can aid in your current job search.

Proofread

The final tip is to proofread your resume! Often times we write everything down, or type swiftly on a computer and forget to proofread. This will ensure there are no spelling or grammatical errors which might deter the recruiter. Having someone else proofread your resume can also help as they may notice errors that you overlooked.

Finally, be honest with yourself in your job search and know the importance of finding your passion before your paycheck as we previously spoke to. Review your experience and determine whether you can fulfil the requirements from the job advert prior to sending your resume, this will assist with why you want to apply for the job. You should try to tailor your resume to the job position in which you are applying for. Review the job advertisements which are well detailed and ensure that your resume and the job advertisement are in alignment. This might not always be possible, but it can assist in the process for both you and the recruiter. Although these tips might seem simple, they are often overlooked and can help you achieve a winning resume!

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