Most job applications will require you to submit some form of a resume (or CV). To make things easy here’s a template for a standard professional resume. Resume writing can be very subjective, but these templates and the best practice notes below will work for 90% of people, 90% of the time.
Use this template:
Best practice notes:
- Your Resume is an ADVERT. The main thing to remember is that your resume is a ‘sales document.’ An advertisement to SELL you! Its job is to help you stand out from all the other applicants and win you an interview with the employer, be it an internal recruiter or the hiring manager.
- Quantify your achievements. Use numbers wherever possible to demonstrate the value you bring, ideally in $/£ signs. Failing that percentages (%). Show how you have brought in new sales or retained revenue for the business, saved money through efficiencies or been given responsibility of large budgets for strategic initiatives. Ideally make these applicable to your individual achievements, but if this is difficult then referring to your team or the companies growth is the next best thing. At least one bullet point in each of your professional experience sections should be a quantified achievement or outcome.
- Make it relevant. It should be clear from your resume why you are a good fit for the role. Ideally you should have already decided your professional objective, i.e. the sort of role/employer you want. It is acceptable to have more than one objective, but if so make sure you use a different résumé written and tailored to each objective.
- Make it easy to scan and understand. Advertised positions can easily receive 100s of applications. As a result its likely that the person reviewing your application will take just seconds to make a decision, mainly from scanning your resume. To this end…
- Use simple, clear language. Avoid industry jargon and acronyms.
- Write in short sentences. No more than 2 lines per bullet point, (10-20 words max).
- Use simple formatting. As the template demonstrates, use 10-12 point type face in a standard, professional and easy to read font, e.g. Arial, Times New Roman, Calibri.
- Don’t mix up typefaces or fonts and use color sparingly.
- LESS is more. Have a bias to brevity and pithiness. If your are in doubt if you need a piece of content, cut it out!
For personalized coaching to perfect your resume, download the Career Badger app.
If you have followed the above then you should be looking good. But just in case here’s a quick checklist of other “dos and don’ts”…
- No more than 1-2 pages A4 size portrait format. 1 page is most typical in North America.
- Do NOT state ‘references available on request’. Recruiters will assume you have references and they’ll ask for them when they want them. Definitely don’t put other people’s contact information on your resume – it should only be your own contact information on your resume.
- Use a personal email, NOT a company owned one – and make sure it’s professional sounding, e.g. your name, so no gimmicks, nicknames etc. Make sure it’s clear – avoid ‘l’ if you can help it (is it an L, or is it an i – who knows?)
- Make sure your voicemail is professional and personalized. It could be the first time a recruiter hears you – make the right impression.
- No photos.
- Do NOT include age/date of birth, nationality, marital status, or gender.
- Only include ONE email address.
- Only include ONE phone number that you have ready access to at all times.
- Only link RELEVANT social media accounts – recruiters are known to check candidates’ ‘online presence’. It is advisable (even when not job seeking) to review your privacy settings in case of any embarrassing photos etc.
- You should only include interests and hobbies if they show additional skills that you have. If they don’t add value, don’t waste space.
- Don’t use or mix 1st or 3rd person on your résumé. 3rd person is best.
- Include your company name, dates of employment/time in a role, and your job title. Start from the most recent and work backwards.
- For the last 5-7 years of professional experience (or if you’ve been in 1 job role for a long time, your last 2-3 job roles) include your responsibilities and key achievements. Make them short and snappy. Ideally bullet pointed. Focus on specific results; include statistics, facts and percentages where you can. No more than 6 per role
- Include any relevant certificates and longer-term professional training you’ve undertaken. Highlight the qualification, the awarding body or school, and the dates attended if recent. Don’t feel the need to list individual subjects or modules unless they have relevance to the target job. Same goes for any thesis.
Remember: get someone to check your resume!
Pro tip: Copy your resume into Google Translate and play it out loud. You’ll easily pick up any spelling mistakes when the computer can’t pronounce a word. It’ll also help you ensure that it makes sense.