Resume Tips: How to Stand Out
Your resume is often your first chance to make an impression on a hiring manager when you apply for a role. They highlight your experience, achievements and skills, showing why you are the right person for the position.
See below for resume tips, along with information to avoid when applying for your dream role.
Resume tips – what to include in your resume
You will need a tailored version of your resume each time you apply for a new role. To start, create a resume with all your most up-to-date experience, training and skills. Then you can tailor your resume by including the following resume tips:
- Keywords from the Selection Criteria – The keywords in the selection criteria is an excellent place to start when tailoring your resume. For example, if the advertisement says the company is looking for “game-changing customer experience manager”, include the phrase ‘customer experience’ high up in your resume. As another example, if a company says Microsoft Suite experience is desirable, and you know how to use it, include it in your resume under computer skills.
- Opening Statement – Incorporating a couple of sentences about why you are right for a role at the start of your resume is a great way to highlight you and your personality. For example, if you’re applying for a retail position, you might say; “I am looking to advance my career in an innovative, customer-centric, retail environment.” You can include keywords from the selection criteria in this section too.
- Work History – Include your latest relevant roles and organisations to show you have transferrable skills that match the selection criteria. Display these from your latest role first, and then list other previous positions in chronological order (newest to oldest). It’s okay to have employment gaps on your CV. However, if you have relevant professional education and/or skills you used during this time, such as volunteering, study and internships, add it in.
- Skills – Include your skills in bullet points or short sentences on your resume as this will make it easier for the recruiter to scan and read.
- Education – Much like your work history, list out your most recent education details followed by past education and training in chronological order. For example, add your degree, TAFE course, construction certificates etc. If you are a graduate, you can include your high school and university awards and achievements. Only include relevant qualifications that are recognised in the fields you’re applying for.
- References – Include two to three professional referees who can confirm your experience in work environments ready to go.
It’s essential to be honest in your resume. Only include statement, values and skills that match your experience. You will need to provide real-life examples of how you applied your skills during interviews, so make sure you revisit your resume before an interview.
Finally, ask somebody to proofread your resume before sending it. Using correct grammar and spelling will work in your favour.
What to avoid in your resume
There is limited space available on your resume, so keep the content relevant to the application. Information that is to the point makes it easy for a hiring manager to focus on why you are right for the role.
What not to include in your resume:
- Your age/date of birth
- A photo of you
- Your mental illness, injury or disability
- Long paragraphs or too much information
- Irrelevant job experience or hobbies
- Too much first-person language like; “And then I did…”
- Salary expectations
Ask your friends, family, recruiter or local WISE team for tips if you are unsure of what to include in your resume.
Tips on resume layout
Ensure the design matches the industry you are applying in. For example, if you are looking at roles in the creative industry such as media or design, consider adding in colours and shapes to express your more artistic side. However, if you are applying for roles in a professional office setting, use neutral colours and a formal, traditional layout.
To save time, many companies use resume scanning software. These programs pick out keywords and relevant experience. If your resume is easy to read and can be copy/pasted easily, it may help you advance to the next stage.
For all industries, ensure your resume is:
- Easy to read
- Simple text
- Clear headings for each section
- Spell out any acronyms
- States your name and contact details on every page
Existing resume templates are available to get you started. All you need to do is update the text with your personal information and adjust colours to your preference.
Free templates for download, include:
Find a template you are proud of and reflects your personality, skills and values. Additionally, check what document format is preferred by the recruiter. Most roles will specify this in their advertisements.
Saving the job description
When you apply for a role, be sure to save the job description/key criteria. This will help refresh your memory if you get called about the role or invited for an interview. Save the role details in your email or a folder on your computer as the online links may expire by the time the interview process starts.
Can WISE help me?
The good news is we can! Our experienced employment consultants are ready to help you tailor your resume and cover letter, providing resume tips to help you through each job application.
Get started by registering as a WISE job seeker here.
Or by contacting your local WISE office here.