It’s the first thing a potential employer sees of you.. it should capture your professionalism, your skills, education, training, experience and general all round awesomeness… so why do so many people STILL get this wrong?
What a resume should not have:
Lots and lots of colour – it detracts from the document itself and is distracting and annoying. (case in point – a serial applicant who made the background of their resume bright green – whoever opened this resume would exclaim ‘urgh’ and close it down, moving on to the next) it should be your suitability for the job that jumps out and makes people remember you
Pretty pictures – especially those of the cartoon variety – anything you include on this document should relate to your industry or profession
Word Art – if you are 12 years old and illustrating a school project – fine – but ‘Word Art’ has no place in a professional resume
Photographs – unless you are a model or actor then this simply is not relevant! And please, if you absolutely must put a photograph on your resume, make sure it’s professional and flattering. (case in point: shots taken in your bathroom holding the digital camera out from you = no. Shots from your school ball where you slice out your partner = no. Shots of you with a cute furry animal or kissing a dolphin to show your sensitive side = no.)
Spelling Mistakes – this is compounded when you emphatically state you have ‘good attention to detail’ and even spell this phrase incorrectly… always, always spell check
Too much information – especially in this current employment market! Application ratios have increased by 30 – 40% per job and people simply do not have any more time, so why present them with a 10 page monster that merely makes their eyes glaze over?
A basic list of what a resume should have:
Concise relevant information – dates of employment (eg: March 2004 – July 2006) who you worked for (company name) what you did (job title) and a basic list of your duties and any specific accomplishments
A realistic size – 2 – 3 pages is pretty standard
Training + Education – list this as you listed your work history
Contact details – there’s no point in taking all this time to show someone how wonderful you are – if you then provide them with no way of contacting you (+ make sure it’s up to date!!)
A widely accepted file format – lets face it – most applications are done electronically these days – so you want to make reading your resume as easy as possible. Stick to Microsoft Word, Adobe .pdf, or save your word document as a web page.
KEEP IT SIMPLE – stick to the facts. You do not need to specifically provide your references up front for most jobs, and a potential employer must first have your permission to contact the referees. Anything related to the job you applied for can be addressed in the cover letter…
And above all else – read the advertisement – read the specifics of the job – and make sure you tick some or all of the boxes for the job you intend to apply for… why spend that time applying if you don’t fit the bill?
There are a myriad of online resources offering templates and advice – so if you have read the above and you STILL aren’t sure – for goodness sake do some research. This really is the first thing a potential employer sees – so make that first impression count.