RESUME WRITING SKILLS 101
Providing you with Resume insights, hints and tips to help you out of your Job-Search rut
In March 2018, I wrote a popular blog article entitled “Resume Writing Services – The Low Down” in which I shared 5 Hints and Tips for sourcing a professional Resume Writer.
Over the last few days, I was contacted by an acquaintance in one of my social media groups seeking some career guidance as they felt they had hit a brick wall with regards to their job search.
Been the professional helper that I am, I encouraged this individual to send me through a copy of their Resume to see where they were going wrong.
In addition to the above social media acquaintance, I also provided some Resume Critiquing Services to a new client whom stated they were not receiving any responses to their existing employment document and sought my feedback as to the possible cause.
The key aspect where these two individuals went wrong is in my professional opinion was both the layout and content of the document; which truth be told is not that uncommon.
Improving The Layout and Content of Your Resume
From my perspective, “the layout and content of a Resume – CV is like the perfect little black dress or suit; that is, the Resume should be designed to highlight your best assets in terms of your professional experiences, strengths, achievements and functionalities”.
Now just like the perfect little black dress or suit, your Resume-CV can be accessorized to suit the occasion; that is not every single piece of employment and academia needs to be included on the document; rather you should carefully strategize which pieces of information you include on your Resume or CV with the sole purpose of providing enough information to capture the readers interest but not so much that you overwhelm them and cause them to loose interest and dump your application because it lost its appeal.
Providing the right balance of information in a smart professional document is an art form in itself.
5 Tips To Writing A Compelling CV-Resume
As outlined in my blog post entitled “Writing a Clear and Concise CV- Resume (Part 2), posted in September 2010; there are 5 Key aspects to writing a compelling CV-Resume; been: –
- Keep it to an optimal 3- 5 pages (never more than 5)
- Do not include discriminatory information e.g. dates of birth, marital status and interests
- Keep it clean clear, concise and consistent (ones 4 C’s approach)
- Highlight your assets in terms of qualifications, skills, achievements, projects, affiliations etc.
- Always clarify your statements to quantify your achievements
In today’s world when there is so many so-called professional Resume Writers, Job Coaches, Career Counsellors, Consultants and Development Specialist spruIking their wares it is hard to sort the chaff from the wheat in terms of quality Resume guidance.
Focus On Telling Your Narrative In A Professional Manner
My philosophy has always been to keep it simple (layout) and professional so that it flows easily and to follow my 4C’s approach; you see as an individual with a background and qualifications in Human Resources coupled with nearly 2 decades in writing Resumes for individuals (from first casual positions through to global management) I know and understand that management, Human Resources and Recruitment Consultants base decisions on facts – cold hard black and white facts, utilizing a skills matrix system. That is, there is a high degree of detachment when making recruitment and selection decisions based solely on how you meet and/or exceed their criterion.
Therefore it is imperative to understand that if you fail to present yourself in a professional manner with the likes of clip art, photos, multi coloured fonts and borders etc – employers, HR and recruiters are going to start focusing on what you are trying to hide or where you do not meet their standards in terms of criterion rather than what you can do and have achieved; in short this will put you on the back foot and do you a disservice.
So forget the tacky clip art, pictures, fonts, borders and information that will discriminate and focus on telling the professional narrative (story) of you; that is: –
- What are your 3 to 4 key areas of expertise
- What are your key transferable skills in relation to the position
- What makes you stand out from the rest of the candidates; and
- Why should they hire you
Focus on this and you will be in with a chance; provide them with a tacky and ill-written Resume – expect to be discarded or at the very best be put at the bottom of the pile and only looked at when other quality candidates have be reviewed and eliminated – don’t be someone’s’ last resort – make yourself shine and encourage the reader to call you because you can demonstrate how you meet their criteria.
In closing, I hope that the above Resume Writing Hints and Tips and have provided you with some meaningful Resume guidance and direction; if you have any questions or seek some feedback in relation to your existing Resume please contact me via e-mail or telephone – listed on the contact page.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR (2018 Version)
Katherine is the Founder of Blu Ripples a specialist Career Counselling and Consulting practice located in Port Stephens NSW. Katherine is a nationally registered Career Development Specialist and Counsellor; is a Professional Member of the Career Development Association of Australia, Member of the Australian Counselling Association. Former CDAA NSW Committee Member; Graduate of RMIT and AIPC.
Katherine has worked in private practice since 2003 and prior to that worked in the corporate sector for a period of 12 years predominantly in Human Resources and Administration.
Updated 11 Feb 2024; Originally Posted 31 Jan 2020
Katherine's Photograph: 2023