Resume Tips 1: Structure

This is the first in a series on creating a great resume.

You need an outstanding resume to get a job, but even if you want to work for yourself, it is good to look at what you have done in order to be confident of what you can achieve. Reflecting on what you have achieved, and phrasing it positively builds your self confidence and helps you with honest self appraisal so you know what to focus on next. So even if you don’t need a resume for your next job, consider how you could use the tips here to create a positive description of your achievements.

The aim of a resume is to sell yourself as someone who will add value to an employer. It is about highlighting your most important positive attributes and aligning them with the requirements of a particular position.

 

There are some accepted business formulas but no totally correct way to create a resume. Use the following tips to help you create or improve your resume for the specific job you are focussing on.

·         Have clear sections within your resume. Use headings and bullet points with clear and concise phrases stating your skills and experience.

 

·         Include your contact details on the header of the resume and make sure you have an appropriate email address. Use your name or a variation on your name, not a nickname or something unrecognisable as this looks unprofessional.

 

·         Take time over the content and the formatting of your resume. It should be easy to read and look professional. Remember to spell check the final result. Read it several times to check it is coherent.

 

·         A popular resume format is reverse chronology where you start with your most recent experience and work backwards. An alternative is to highlight your most relevant experience first and then list your other jobs behind in another section. Remember that there is no need to list every job you have had, particularly if it has no relevance or would detract from the image you are trying to portray.

 

·         Gaps in job history will be spotted, so be honest about it. When I took a year off for study and travel, I explained to a potential employer the benefits of having someone who was rested and ready to get back to work. This made the career gap look positive. 

·         The length of the resume seems to vary by country and by job type. Two pages may be enough for some, but others prefer a longer resume. It is more important that what you say is succinct and relevant, than long-winded and unnecessary.

 The next post will focus on Resume Content.

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