The other day, I had a call from a man who has been laid off after thirty years in the same job. He’s in his fifties and is faced with the prospect of sending out job applications—and he has no idea what employers expect these days. It seems that more and more just recently, people have been contacting me to write their résumés and cover letters—and to write the statements that ‘address the criteria’ for public sector job applications. Even young people who are just starting out in their careers need help with their résumés.
What is a résumé?
There’s no hard and fast rule about what a résumé should look like. The important thing is that the employers can see the information that they need quickly and easily.
A résumé is not for you. It’s for the employer.
It shouldn’t say, “Look at me!” It should say, “Look at what I can do for you!”
It should contain the following information:
- Personal details: name, address, phone number, email
- Personal profile (optional, but popular these days) This gives employers a picture of what you can bring to their job
- Skills (optional, but popular) bullet points to say what you are good at
- Work History
- Education / Qualifications
- Two pages maximum. Nobody wants to read more than two pages—and they won’t. Even two pages, employers will skim read.
- Use bullet points where you can. This makes it easier to read.
- No photos (unless you are an actor.)
- Use a professional email address.
- All information (work history and education) should be written in reverse chronological order (most recent first).
- If you have gaps in your employment, don’t ignore them. Nobody will mind if you write ‘home child-care duties’ or ‘travel’. They will, however, wonder about unexplained gaps.
- Avoid coloured backgrounds, fancy fonts or pictures.
- Don’t use a standard one-size-fits-all résumé. Make sure that you tailor the résumé to fit the job.
- Use the job advertisement to guide what you should include. Make sure that you cover all the things that they require.
- Make sure that there are absolutely NO SPELLING OR GRAMMAR MISTAKES. Get someone to check everything before you send it.
If you need help with your résumé, feel free to contact me.