It is extremely important to have a great resúmé, particularly when applying for a new position. Submitting the same resúmé for various positions is unlikely to achieve great results. Your resúmé should act as an effective communicator and be constantly updated and changed to address each position that you are applying for. Your resúmé should effectively and clearly communicate the required information that lists and describes your personal details, education qualifications, attributes, skills, knowledge, work experience and suitable references. Listed below are some guidelines to follow.
Your resúmé should be well presented and formatted. Attention to this detail improves the readability by setting your information out clearly and increases the likelihood of being selected. The font style should be easy to read e.g. 12 point Times New Roman or Arial. Bolded headings are easier to read than bold and underline (overkill). Use dot points for easy reading, but only one type throughout your resúmé.
2. Contact details
Contact details including name, address, phone number, mobile and email should be placed at the top of the page. It is recommended to insert these details in a header, so they appear on all pages in case the pages become separated after being printed. Your resúmé is a marketing document that promotes yourself, so you should use a professional-sounding email address.
3. Birth date and marital status
You are not legally obliged to include these details, and you are not allowed to be discriminated against if you do. However, this information could go against you when being selected.
4. Summarising your strengths/ attributes
Readers of the resúmé gain a quick snapshot of what you have to offer by listing your key strength in headings and some dot points. Such as: Customer service
• Ability to empathise with customers experiencing problems
• Effectively provide excellent customer service, both face-to-face and over-the-phone.
5. Career Profile, Career Overview & Career Summary
This section details what you would like the employer to do for you and employers want to know what you are going to do for them. e.g. “While currently a product manager, my career goal is to move into general management”.
A Career Overview provides the reader with a quick preview of your resúmé. It should be a short paragraph and include your professional, academic and industry training. Some personal attributes are optional.
Career Overview A sales management professional with seven years’ experience in the media industry, I have worked on newspapers and in web and television environments. I have a proven track record of developing new business and motivating teams to consistently exceed targets. I’ve recently completed a Masters of Business Administration and am now seeking a new professional challenge.
6. Professional history
Outline your career history in reverse chronological order following the structure of: Job title, employer, dates, what you did, for whom and when.
7. Description of employer
This is appropriate for those coming from overseas where the company is unknown, unlike major companies such as IBM, News Limited, Suncorp or the big banks that will need no explanation.
Avoid listing all responsibilities, and only include the key “responsibilities” e.g. “Attended a weekly team meeting” So? “Chairing” the weekly team meeting is a responsibility.
Include three listed points per position that you did that you were not paid to do. e.g. staff awards, special commendations, helped to implement cost savings/increased revenue/ delivered new clients that resulted in higher levels of customer service or time efficiencies. Meeting tar – gets is not an achievement, but what you are paid to do. Exceeding a monthly target is an achievement. Achievements identify what you are made of and what employers can expect from you. It is recommended to indent your achievements by one tab on your resúmé to make them stand out. Such as:
Customer services manager, A-1 Clothing Care Service, October 1999 – present day.
About A-1: First opened for business in November 1999, the company provides a national telephone and email consumer service to the end users of its 35 fashion retail or design clients.
»»Manage a team of 30 call centre agents who advise consumers on garment care, product updates and where to purchase particular garments.
»» Update and distribute new research to call centre agents; manage technology suppliers.
»» Plan and project manage technology and service improvements.
»» Recruited, trained and established a start-up team that was fully operational one week ahead of schedule.
»» Introduced technical efficiencies that improved customer response time by 150 percent.
»» Named Employee of the Year 2011
9. Plugging resúmé gaps
Employers and recruiters dislike mysteries. If you have not been working it is better to explain the gap in your resúmé. Your career
history should be in reverse chronological order. Include any new skills or training you have acquired. If a mum is returning to the
workforce, she could write:
Home manager/full time mother – January 2006 – September 2009
Skills acquired: Excellent organisational skills, communication skills and the ability to multi task. During this time I completed both a MYOB course and a first aid certificate. I managed the books for my husband’s plumbing business and I created and managed the roster for volunteers at my daughter’s child care centre.
10. Education and Training List your highest qualification first.
The Education and Training section can cover university, TAFE training, industry courses, in-house courses, and any other professional training.
11. Professional Memberships
Include only those relevant to your career as well as an indication of how active you are in the organisation.
12. Referees A listing of the references/ referees is at the end.
Names and phone numbers (not mobiles) are the most acceptable presentation. Add a sentence: “Written references available upon request” if you wish.
13. How long should my resúmé be?
A resúmé of two pages is fine, but some may have three to five pages. This is because sometimes recruiters want to see how a career was developed and some detail of achievement.