A good resume can mean the difference between being short-listed for an interview or getting cut at this first stage. To increase your chances of getting an interview, you should tailor your resume for each position that you apply for so that only previous employment history that is relevant is included.
- Begin by recording your previous job history on a separate page. This creates an easy reference you can refer back to when updating your current resume or creating a new one.
- Open a new document and create sections for the following information: Personal details, education, licenses (if applicable), specific skills (where relevant), employment history and reference details. If relevant, before the reference section, you can also include volunteer history and affiliations.
- Insert your personal details. Your name, address, contact phone number and email address are vital. Your date of birth and marital status are optional details and it comes down to personal preference as to whether you include these details or not.
- Insert your education details. List the type of certification you received, the name of the institution you received it from and the year you obtained it. Repeat if you have more than one qualification.
- Where relevant, insert license details. You should include the year it was received, the date of expiry (if applicable) and any restrictions the license may have (for example, it only allows you to work in a particular state).
- Insert specific skills if relevant. This can include industry specific computer programs or applications you have knowledge in, typing speed and proficiency levels in basic applications, such as Word, Excel and Power Point.
- Insert your previous employment history and any relevant duties from previous roles. This doesn't mean including every single task you carried out during previous jobs - just list the tasks which are relevant to the job that you are applying for.
- Where relevant, insert volunteer history. This can include positions/roles held at local sporting clubs or schools, or volunteer work conducted through a charity.
- Where relevant, insert affiliations. This can include industry specific journals/newspapers you subscribe to or boards/clubs you are a member of.
- Insert reference details. Prospective employers normally stipulate how many references they would like (usually two or three), but check the ad carefully for any difference. Details to provide include the name of the reference, the name of the organization they work for and a contact phone number. Some people choose to insert ‘references available upon request.' This is usually acceptable, but make sure you have your reference details recorded on a separate document.
To ensure your resume is professional, keep formatting simple, and ensure there are no spelling errors. Keep it as succinct as possible. Recruiters and organizations don't have the time to read your autobiography. What they want is a snapshot of your experience and skills.