7 must-do’s to get your resume up to scratch

7 must-do’s to get your resume up to scratch When you’re looking for work, first impressions are everything –and your resume is a big part of that. If yours is dated, irrelevant or packed with so much information hiring managers will run screaming, it may be time to give it a bit of a spit’n’polish….

7 must-do’s to get your resume up to scratch

When you’re looking for work, first impressions are everything –and your resume is a big part of that. If yours is dated, irrelevant or packed with so much information hiring managers will run screaming, it may be time to give it a bit of a spit’n’polish.

Here’s how to create a slick, professional resume that’ll hopefully get you an interview.

Must Do #1: Start with a bang

Your resume is the most important part of your marketing –it’s essentially a sales document that presents you to an employer in the best possible light. So you want to make it clear in a tight, succinct career summary that you have the right skills and experience for the job.

If you’re in construction, for example, you’d emphasise your profession/trade and any specialties, the licenses, certifications and permits you hold, how many years’ experience you have, your skills generally and whether you can operate specific equipment or machinery. A brief mention of your career accomplishments is also key for this section. Get your summary right and you’ll tell the employer exactly why you’re such a good fit for the job they’re filling.

Must Do #2: Tell a story

Employers these days don’t want to read the job description of your previous role. They want to know what you achieved, and how your skills and experience benefited your previous boss.

Were you part of a team that won awards for a certain project? Did you train and lead a team of 25 employees? Have you implemented processes that saved your previous employers time and money? Are you up-to-date on best practice for your industry and do you come with bags of fresh ideas and efficient problem-solving strategies? Weaving these types of achievements into your work history section as much as you can.

Must Do #3: Be discerning

Do you really need to include the jobs you held as a teenager or the 30 years of work experience? Probably not, unless they are directly related to the role you’re now applying for.

Keep your resume as relevant as possible and as current as you can (in other words, take out bulky sections that don’t add anything of value to the employer or the job you’re going for, and try not to go back more than 10-15 years in your work history unless it’s really necessary).

Must Do #4: Tailor your resume to the job

While it would be nice to have one resume you can pull out and send off for every single job you apply for, it’s not a good idea to do this. Mainly because AI is playing a bigger role in recruitment than it used to.
If the job you’re going for is likely to get hundreds of applicants, your resume will probably be filtered through application tracking software (ATS) before it even makes it into the hiring manager’s hands –so it needs to closely align with the job specifications. For example, if they want a hospitality manager with experience in a specific restaurant POS (and that’s experience you have), you want to ensure you have those keywords in your resume. That means carefully reading the job spec and tailoring your resume accordingly.

Must Do#5: Don’t be too fancy

There’s an argument that making your resume stand out with fancy fonts, colours, images and icons could get you onto the short list, simply because it looks good.

But if you suspect at all that it’ll go through ATS software, ditch the fancy look’n’feel completely. We know that ATS likes simple formatting, a chronological work history (with your latest position at the top), easy-to-read fonts and being presented in a Word format rather than anything else. Additionally, you want to make sure the key info is at the top and the resume filename is your name – so it’s easy for the recruiter or hiring manager to find.

Must Do #6: Don’t tell porky-pies

This is job-hunting 101, but it’s really important – don’t beef up your experience, skills or achievements in the hope it’ll get you a foot in the door. Similarly, don’t over-inflate your past salary, extend the length of a previous job or doctor references.

Recruiters do this for a living and if they’re interested in you, they will check you out (including online) and the chances are good that they’ll find out the truth. So just be upfront and honest at all times.

Must Do #7: Give it a damn good proofread

It’s easy to let a typo or grammatical error through – but you don’t want anything on your resume that could put a hiring manager off. So once you’ve updated it and you’re happy with it, let it rest for a few hours or overnight then come back and give it a read. You’ll see it with fresh eyes and will be more likely to pick up any mistakes.

If you’re creating your resume in Word, you could also use the Read Aloud function (via the review menu) where the computer will read your resume to you. It’s another handy way to pick up careless errors you didn’t notice before.

Good luck!

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