Monthly Archives: July 2013

How to Write a Resume – Top 10 Tips

Article by Belinda Fuller

A Resume is a document that details your work history and key skills. Whilst it should always be factual and not contain exaggerations, it is essential to demonstrate value to your future employer. My top ten tips on how to write a Resume are:

1. Summarise Your Career – a Career Profile provides a quick overview of you – a preview of your resume written to entice the reader further. It should be the first thing the reader sees, no longer than two paragraphs – and include a mixture of your professional success, academic/industry training, together with any relevant personal attributes.

2. List Key Skills at the front so a recruiter could read just page one of your resume and understand whether you’re a potential candidate. This part of the resume is the easiest (and most relevant) area to customise and is the section that could make the difference in getting noticed. Try not to simply state you have a skill – demonstrate how you have it – i.e. if you mention supervising teams – state how many people and/or what they accomplished. If you manage budgets, indicate values. Put each skill into context and help the reader understand the size, scope or complexity of your expertise.

3. Detail Your Job History – list the jobs held in reverse chronological order beginning with most recent. Include job title, company name, start and finish dates, responsibilities and achievements. Don’t list every task – instead include key responsibilities that demonstrate the role’s scope and focus the detail around achievements. In terms of how far to go back, 10 years is usually enough.

4. Focus on Achievements – include at least two or three achievements for each role – more if you can. Tangible achievements are first priority, but also think about projects you’ve contributed to, collaboration with colleagues, extra responsibilities taken on, new processes you initiated, customer accolades received or major targets exceeded. Think about where you went above and beyond – chances are, recruiters will consider these achievements.

5. Fill Gaps – recruiters don’t like mysteries so if you have been out of the workforce it is preferable to explain the gap rather than leave it blank.

6. Education, Training and Accreditation – include your relevant formal education, professional development, short training, certificate courses, and licences. Unless you are a recent graduate, there is no need to list High School or mention subjects studied – however if you received honours, distinctions or any special awards you could mention it. If you are currently studying – indicate when you expect to finish.

7. Professional Memberships & Affiliations – these demonstrate commitment and dedication to your career, and can provide good networking opportunities. Include the organisation and level of affiliation as well as an indication of how long you’ve been associated.

8. Referees – there is no need to include names and contact details (although you can if you wish), or copies of written references. It is acceptable to simply state “available upon request”.

9. Include Enough Detail to sell yourself without rambling. A standard resume is three to five pages – anything longer and you’ve included too much history or gone back too far – remember 10 years is adequate. If you want to showcase highly relevant experience older than 10 years, include a section called “Relevant Experience”.

10. Include Prominent Contact Details – this seems obvious, but many resumes don’t include contact details in an obvious spot. Include full name, address, phone, mobile and email address at the front (top) of the document, then add your name and email and/or phone in a footer on each page. Make it easy for a recruiter to contact you.

A well written Resume will not get you the job – that’s up to you to achieve at the interview. However, it will help you secure the all important interview. If you follow these tips, you’ll write a Resume that helps recruiters make the all important decision about whether or not that happens.

If you are interested in getting assistance from a professional resume writer to prepare a winning Resume for your next job application, please see our CV and Resume Writing Services.

How to Get Shortlisted For More Jobs

Article by Belinda Fuller

It takes just 20-30 seconds for an experienced recruiter to read a resume – OK, not read exactly – but scan in enough detail to make a decision on whether or not to read further. In a crowded job market, recruiters notice ‘stand-out’ applications. This means it must be easy to read and contain information that identifies you as an ideal candidate! Here’s some tips to secure a place on that all important shortlist:

  • Make it Relevant – highlight relevant work experience and success. If you’ve worked in a completely different role for the past five years, but have highly relevant experience prior to that – call it ‘relevant’ experience and put it up front. If your resume doesn’t immediately and clearly establish your relevant experience and highlight what you’ve achieved for your employer, it may be ignored.
  • Address the Must Haves – many recruiters discard applications that don’t meet their list of ‘must haves’. Read the job ad and/or position description carefully and figure out what these might be. Ensure all the requirements you meet are addressed – so the recruiter sees how your experience/skills match the ‘must haves’ for this role.
  • Don’t Leave Questions Unanswered – if a recruiter has too many questions, your application may get overlooked. Fill gaps in your history – if you took time off to study or travel – say so. If you worked for a small company that isn’t well known – explain what they do. Don’t just include the years as start and finish dates – e.g. if you write 2011-2012 you could have worked there for two months or two years – be more specific. If you’re currently studying – state when you expect to graduate.
  • Cover Letter – include a personal cover letter addressing the core requirements of the position. Highlight why you’re an ideal candidate early in the letter and make the recruiter want to read your resume in more detail.
  • Be Realistic – If you’re applying for a senior manager’s role, leading a large team of managers and you’ve never even led a team – your application may be ignored. There can be exceptions to this, but if you need a certain level of experience or qualification that you just don’t have – recognise you might be aiming too high.
  • Make it Easy to Read – use bullet points, sections, headings, achievements and white space to make your application appealing. Don’t be tempted to make it too fancy – clear and concise language, no jargon, and a simple but contemporary format is the way to go.
  • Proofread Your Application – and get someone else to do so as well – correct any spelling and grammatical errors, fix poor formatting, shorten parts that ramble. Ensure your application is cohesive, clear, concise and accurate – and conveys why you’re an ideal fit for the role.

Remember, it takes many recruiters just 20-30 seconds to decide whether to read your application in more detail, so give them every reason to do so. Make your application stand out by highlighting your relevant skills and experience and providing a taste of the benefits you’ve achieved for previous employers.

If you would like assistance from a professional resume writer with putting together an application that helps get you shortlisted for more jobs, please see our CV and Resume, Cover Letter and Selection Criteria writing services.

Winning Job Search Strategies

Article by Belinda Fuller

To succeed in today’s competitive job market, you need to tap into both the advertised and unadvertised job markets. You need a comprehensive strategy that helps you find and connect with recruiters and employers, combined with a tailored, targeted approach that makes you stand out from other candidates. It’s particularly important to build your online presence, protect your personal brand, network with others, and market yourself effectively. If you’re not achieving interviews, you might need to rethink your approach and develop a comprehensive job search strategy….

Identify Job Search Websites: in addition to SEEK, MyCareer and CareerOne, there are other niche job search websites. Do a Google search to identify relevant recruitment agencies, professional associations, university career websites, niche job search websites, industry journals, and the LinkedIn Job Directory. Sign up for automated alerts if the option is available and create a dedicated favourites folder for reference.

Identify Recruiters: perform a search for your particular role on popular job search sites and identify common recruiters. Add the sites to your favourites folder and make a note of the consultants.

Evaluate Your Resume: how many applications have you sent off and how many interviews have you secured? If it’s not many, what might be the problem? Perhaps you need to revamp your Resume and/or application process. Think about asking someone in your industry to review it and provide feedback, or consider getting a professional involved.

Use LinkedIn: recruiters review LinkedIn Profiles and you can easily be found, so make sure it’s up to date with relevant information and keywords, as well as a current, professional photo. Add in as much detail as you can including additional sections such as qualifications, certifications, courses, memberships, interests etc. It provides a more comprehensive view of you, as well as additional opportunities to connect with others. Use LinkedIn to research recruitment consultants and HR managers from companies you’d like to target. Join relevant groups, follow companies you’d like to work for, and connect with others in your industry.

Customise Each Application: write a customised cover letter for every job you apply for making sure to address as many ‘job requirements’ as you can.

Build Your Online Presence: there are many ways to do this including LinkedIn (discussed above); writing a blog; developing your own website; creating a Facebook page, Twitter account, or Youtube videos. This is especially important if you are looking for contract/freelance work.

Check Your Settings: some employers look up candidate’s social media pages as part of their screening process, so make sure your privacy settings for social media sites are set to an appropriate level and ensure personal photos, timelines, tweets etc. are not generally visible.

Access the Hidden Job Market: a large percentage of available jobs are never advertised so this is an important part of your job search strategy. Connect with some of the recruiters you identified via LinkedIn. Develop a standard pitch as to why you want to connect and what you can offer. Think about specific companies you’d like to work for then research their website careers page and follow them on social media. Network with others in your industry, join suitable LinkedIn Groups and make active contributions to help build your profile.

Network: think about who you know and who you might be able to connect with. Let your network know you are seeking new opportunities. Remember there are many different ways to connect with your network so use them all – phone calls, emails, Facebook, LinkedIn, face to face and online networking groups etc. Find relevant professional associations and networking groups – attend seminars and connect with people in your industry.

Stay In Touch: once you’ve identified relevant job sites, recruiters, companies, etc. it is important to regularly follow up.

A customised job search strategy is your blueprint for success. Remember, there are many aspects to securing your next opportunity and if you’re finding it tough at the moment – you’re not alone. That doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve success – you just need to take some time to develop a winning job search strategy.

If you would like help from a Career Coach to develop a Job Search Strategy tailored to your target role/industry, please see our Job Search Coaching services.