These are my top tips for writing great resumes. I have worked for a utility company for over 10 years, and spent a lot of time filtering through hundreds of resumes. I have seen some excellent resume’s and some awful ones!
I am only speaking from my experience on resumes intended for entry-level jobs. I have no experience of resumes for higher tier jobs, but my principles would not change. As a manager of 12 employees, I usually replace at least one or two members of staff a year due to progression in the business. My thinking is that I am human like everyone else and people do not want to read the same thing over and over.
Follow these simple tips for writing a great resume. This will hopefully lead to you getting your foot through the door and being invited in for an interview. It is becoming increasingly difficult to get jobs and even interviews, in this current climate.
- The most important tip I can give you is to be a bit different! For your potential employer there is nothing more boring than filtering through hundreds of resume’s, most of which will be written in the same common layout, probably a standard template found on the internet! If your résumé stands out as something different, it will definitely not get overlooked. Now I don’t mean cover it with pictures, but even something as little as the layout makes all the difference.
- Make it relevant: what I mean by this is not to waffle on and talk about things that do not matter; only include the relevant information. Think of your potential employer - if they don't have the time to look through all the resumes they receive, they will have a quick scan through looking for key information and disregard any that they can't see the important info on straight away. Do include all your previous employment and qualifications, but only elaborate on the areas which will help with this particular type of job.
- Keep it short: a résumé shouldn't any longer than two A4 pages. If you can't cut it down to that, ask someone to ready through and take out anything not relevant.
- Break it down: you want to make your résumé as easy to read as possible. Break long paragraphs down into short, snappy sentences. You don't want to bore the reader with long sentences and paragraphs.
- Education: being a potential employer, I wouldn't want to see all your school grades, however good they were! I'm only interested in the main subjects: Mathematics, English and anything relevant to the job you are applying for. You can always summarise all your other school qualifications into one sentence; eg. "I have 10 GCSE's, all A-C grades". This also applies to further education; I don’t want to see your qualifications wasting a whole page of your résumé. This shows me that you're intelligent of course, but not what you're like as a person - that is what makes you different.
- A standard mistake is to write one resume and send it to all the companies you are applying to. That's fine if you're only applying for one particular type of job. If not, make sure you alter your résumé so that it's relevant to the job you are applying for; I wouldn't be interested in your art grades if you were applying to become a fire-fighter!
- Don’t include your age! Eventhough there is a law against age discrimination, some employers will still take it into account, so don't risk it.
- Remember, this is your one chance to sell yourself and make a good first impression. If you don’t put a vital piece of information on your résumé, then the employer will never know and you could miss out on an interview. Make sure you include your strongest key points and try to sound confident on paper. Most people don’t like to sell themselves as they feel embarrassed, but this and the interview are the times you need to!
- And lastly and very importantly...be honest! If you lie on your résumé, you'll only get caught out in the interview or when they ask for proof. Don't pretend you have experience or qualifications that you don't, just show off the ones you do have!
Thanks for reading my top tips, I hope they've helped. If you have any of your own, please feel free to add them in here.