Updating your Resume (tips)

Your resume is one of the most important documents you can use when pitching yourself to a potential employer.

Whether you’re actively seeking work or just looking at updating your current resume, here are some important things to keep in mind about the one document that could make or break your chances of landing a job interview.

For your resume to make the cut:

Keep it short and sweet

The word length should be kept to an appropriate length (a few pages, maximum). Generally, recruiters don’t have the time to read each and every resume or curriculum vitae that lands on their desk. In fact, when selecting candidates for the interview stage, recruiters spend an average six seconds scanning your resume before it goes into the yay or nay pile.[1]

Ask yourself, is the content relevant?

While this can be time consuming, it’s important to tailor each resume to each specific job advertisement you answer.

Creating a template which concisely covers key information – Your contact details, career objective/s, educational background/qualifications, practical experience, volunteer/internship work, skills and attributes – can help you personalise each resume with ease.

Eliminate superfluous information that has no relevance to your current career pursuits.

For privacy reasons, avoid disclosing the personal details of your references with a simple “information available upon request”. (This is also handy when seeking to trim down your word count.) For your own security, avoid disclosing your date of birth or home address.

Ensure your resume meets the submission requirements requested by the employer in the job advertisement. e.g. take note of preferred file formats (e.g. word document, PDF etc.). Your attention to this minor detail is likely to place you ahead of others who have ignored this request.

Sell yourself

Go beyond the pedestrian approach of merely listing past job descriptions and duties performed. Your resume is your opportunity to tell prospective employers about the value you have contributed to the organisation/s you have previously worked for. Be sure to quantify any claims with evidence e.g. actual sales exceeded targets by 10 per cent during your employment in that call centre department.

Make mention of any awards, remarkable experiences or out-of-the ordinary attributes you possess (e.g. that time you landed that coveted work secondment in the USA, the six months you spent volunteering for a cause in Africa or that you happen to be proficient in five languages).

Other quick tips to help you with resume or CV writing:

  • Run a spell check
  • Have a friend proofread the document
  • Ensure your contact email address is professional
  • Make sure the layout is consistent
  • Avoid disclosing too much personal information (e.g. your martial status, date of birth and religious affiliation).

Keep your resume up-to-date at all times. You never know when you might need it and it will make things easier when the time comes to transition into a new job.

What’s more, reading through your resume is a great way for you to reflect on all the brilliant things you’ve achieved throughout your working life.

[1] Smith J., ‘What Recruiters Look at in the 6 Seconds they Spend on Your Resume’, Business Insider Australia, URL:http://www.businessinsider.com.au/what-recruiters-look-at-on-your-resume-2014-11, publication date November 5, 2014.