Whether you are a fresh graduate or an expert in your chosen job field; your foundation of success in landing a job lies with the piece of paper called ‘The Resume’. You need to know that before you are being called for an interview, your resume, the document holding all your information is going to give your first impression? And what sort of impression does it give? Because only when you can tell that you have submitted a well written, positively informative, and an organized resume; then you can expect to get some interview calls. The motto is to grab the employer’s attention. Given the fact that a single job advertisement can result in hundreds of job applications, even thousands, and the hiring managers hardly ever give even a minute to scan down a resume; it is of paramount importance to ensure that your resume stands out in the crowd at the first glance.
Now the point is how to write a winning resume?
Well there are of course some general guidelines as having a neat resume with no spelling errors, easy-to-the-eye fonts, having the education/job/training information put in a reverse-chronological format from latest to the first. But beyond all these, every winning resume has the following information precisely presented for the most effective result:
- Contact information
- Job history & experience
- Academics & training
However, for a more elaborate guideline to guarantee a call from an employer, following are some sure shot ways of preparing a masterpiece of a resume which is informative and quick to pick out from the lot.
INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING DETAILS...
Detailed contact information
A resume without proper contact details is simply a waste of time. And it happens all the time with people applying using a not-in-use phone number, a faulty e-mail address or even a wrong home address. So just make sure you’ve got the basics right. Moreover, the contact details should always appear at the top of the resume and displayed prominently. Next it is customary to have your full name in the resume. However if you happen to be widely known by your nickname, please try to mention that as artistically possible e.g. Matthew Williams, also known to friends as ‘Oliver’. This contact section is also great to showcase your professional network or personal brand by mentioning links of LinkedIn or a personal blog/website.
Career Objective / Personal Objective
Hiring managers are expert in resume sorting and their years of experience make them to instantly identify a well written personal/career objective. Never settle in writing a lame objective that is generic and doesn’t offer any insight as to what you can offer to the employer. Look up the job title that you are applying for and in a concise form let them know the benefits you can bring to their organization by being in that position. In short, customize your objective each and every time.
For example, if you receive two resumes applying for the position of Marketing Head and find the following two objectives:
1. Getting a leadership position in a growing company for the maximum personal and
2. With 08 (eight) years of corporate experience in the Marketing filed, having wide knowledge on the Australian market dynamics, consumer behavior pattern, and product strategies; I seek to work in a challenging environment where I can utilize my knowledge and skills to ensure better product exposure and company brand value for the company.
Whom would you’ve called for the interview?
List up your strengths
Here is an easy way to capture your future employer’s attention. One of the most commonly asked interview question is ‘tell us your strengths’ or even if not directly asked...that’s the main thing the employer looks for while interviewing a candidate. So why wait till the interview, give them the answer right now through your resume!
Work related strengths can be of two types: technical and behavioral. The technical skills are more tangible sort of skills like excellent knowledge of MS Word/Excel/PowerPoint, web research, statistical software like SPSS etc. On the other hand the behavioral skills will include the intangible skills that include creative thinking, problem solving skills, conflict management, communication skills etc. The easiest way to make it right is by going through the actual job advertisement. Usually all job advertisements have the required skills mentioned in it so it is always better to relate your personal skills with the ones mentioned in the advertisement. But in case if you are not finding the right word to coin your technical or behavioral skills, just Google keywords like ‘list of job skills’ and you’ll get awesome results of fancy little skill titles! Besides a great way to present your strengths can be by having them scaled from 1 – 10; not everyone thinks like that, right?
This is the essence of writing a resume as this is the spot which gets the foremost attention of the Hiring Manager. The key is to mention all your past and current job(s) be they paid or not, contractual or voluntary. It is needful to say that remember to back your experience during the interview and always speak by relating back to what’s written on the resume.
This section must have the information mentioned below:
- Job Title
- Employer’s Name with complete address
- Employment Period
- Reporting Authority
- Job Responsibilities and Achievements: Don’t just mention the dry and drab responsibilities straight quoted out from your job descriptions. Instead try to merge them with your achievements. A simple example can be: “Introducing new products in which case I launched 3 new items to the customers last year, leading to a 15% increase of the company profit”. This not only sounds better but also seems much more credible.
- Awards & Recognition: Examples may include “Employee of the Month, Dec ’14”, “Certificate of Excellence as Star Seller”, “Ranked within the Top 5 CEOs in Australia” etc.
Academics & Training
While your educational background creates your base, knowledge should never get stagnant and hence it is important to attend training programs and to have these all listed in your resume. The full information gives the employer a better chance to evaluate your application on a broader aspect raising the possibility of your chance to secure a spot for an interview.
While listing the education and training information, be sure to put in the most relevant course/diploma/certificate in the resume that links to the position applied. So even if you have a Diploma in IT but applying for an Accountant Position, please do not mention it. Rather mention your other Diploma on Advanced Accounting which should get listed. Also it is important to list them from the latest achieved academic degree or training certificate. A possible format is as followed:
- Name of degree/diploma / training certificate
- Name of the Educational Institute / Training Institute or Provider
- Institute address and location
- Graduation date / Training period
- Key Achievements e.g. Top 10% scorer in Financial Accounting.
Pastime and Interests - let them get to know the real you
Gone are the days when a resume just included the plain professional talk. With the changing corporate culture and ways of interviewing; employers are now more interested to know their current and potential employees from a more personal viewpoint. And a best way to allow your future employer a glimpse into your personal world can be done by sharing your hobbies and interests. Because who knows if you love to play cricket in your leisure time and your future reporting manager has an interest on the game; that single point can be simply the start of a winning conversation for you!
Usually appearing at the bottom part of a resume, an ideal format is to mention at least two referees with their contact details as references, however, sometimes many organizations ask for three references. So it is important to note from the job advertisement if a specific number of references may have been requested.
It is always better to mention your current or past line managers as referees and mention those who you believe will readily provide a positive feedback on your performance. Inform your referees that you are using their details as your reference so that they can make an informed statement, be it verbal or written. Often applicants optionally choose not to disclose the referee details when submitting the resume by mentioning “Reference details available upon request” only to submit it later if the recruitment decision progresses to selection possibility. But it is always good to be transparent with your future employer and the format mentioned below is a nice way to present the references:
- Referee’s full name
- Current job title
- Employment station
- Company location
- Phone number
- Email address
SOME MORE USEFUL TIPS...
Knowing that your resume is the way to get a ticket to an interview it obvious now to see how important it is to have an effective resume at hand. Make sure that your resume has all the relevant information presented in the most eye-catching but professional way that the Hiring Manager feels interested to know more about you.
So even before writing the resume, just sit back and think about the position you are seeking and the necessary job responsibilities and skills mentioned by the advertiser. Then reflect on your own job experience, relevant tasks and personal strength to figure out if you are the perfect fit for the job. You need to know the answer because if you are not convinced yourself, you can’t convince the employer either. That is why it is important to look deep inside yourself and accumulating the information that better presents you as the potential hire. Nonetheless, it is still important to ensure your resume is free of spelling and formatting errors, misrepresentation of any information, typed out in a view-friendly font and printed on good quality fresh paper. Just like any other product the package also matters. Make sure to submit the resume in a nice envelope (bearing no logo of any sort and obviously not in your current office’s envelope!) having the applied job title, recipient and sender’s address.
At the end of the day a resume may not guarantee you the job but how many at least gets the opportunity to get an interview call? So, following the tips we have tried to explain here, if you can prepare a winning resume that scores an interview call from a potential employer, the ball will then rest in your court to give an equally winning interview to secure the final spot.
Feel free to ask any questions in the comments below and I will happily answer these for you.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR - Adrian Grundy is Australia's Leading Recruitment Specialist to the Early Years Sector and Owner/Founder of The Murdock Group.
The Murdock Group is comprised of two expertly driven Early Years Centric businesses, Murdock Education Recruitment and Murdock Early Education Schools Group ( 2 Long Day Care Services located in Western Australia ). Adrian has been recruiting in the Early Years Sector going on 10 years where he has built, managed and lead some of Australia's largest specialised recruitment firms.