Recently I have been looking into the job market, and working out where my current skill set can take me. Over the past few weeks, I have learned a tremendous amount about looking for the right jobs and companies that fit me, creating resumes and cover letters and presenting yourself at job interviews.
Since I’ve now had time to synthesise and apply all that I’ve learned, I’ve decided to share it with you in my new writing series, titled Getting That Job. In this series, I hope to share with you all that I’ve learned recently and hope it helps you in your search for that fulfilling job you’ve been looking for.
So without further ado, I present to you part one of this new series, Getting That Job: A Resume For Success.
When I started my job search, I quickly realised I needed to put together my resume. After trawling through my hard drive, I found that my most recent resume was the one that I’d created in high school, that still mentioned my primary school house captaincy role. Deciding it was time for a refresh I searched through all the online material I could find, to work out exactly what my resume needed to contain.
Here are the key components that you really should cover in your resume, in order to succinctly show the reader your background and experience:
- Your Name and Contact Details
Employers want to quickly see who you are and how to get in touch with you.
- Education History
A crucial component of any resume, make sure you highlight where you’ve studied and trained. If you graduated with applause-worthy grades, you might like to emphasise that as well.
- Work Experience
This section is where you cover the relevant experience you've had, that has prepared you for this position. This area should be modified for different job applications, depending what the role requirements are.
- Volunteer Work
Often volunteer work provides you with an entirely different skill set to your career path of choice. These skills may complement the position you’re applying for, so if relevant, definitely consider including it. If you have a leadership position, that may also be a good point to highlight.
- Relevant Skills
This part is another area that should be individualised to fit each application. From your list of skills, pick around ten to highlight on your resume. Make sure those ten skills relate directly to the position description, without solely copying and pasting words from it.
These items should be tailored to the jobs you're applying for, some skills may be highly relevant for one job but not at all for another. The less general and more detail orientated you are the better. Show the employer that you can put in the effort to give them a unique application, rather than the one you sent out 100 times.
After you've sorted out the essential content of your resume that's going to tell your story the best, while highlighting your main accomplishments, it’s time to start putting it all together. Sometimes it pays to stand out from the crowd and get a little creative, just don’t go overboard. I like to use the resume templates from Canva, there are hundreds to choose from, and most of them are free.
Keep your resume simple and concise, and make your resume easy to read. Whoever is reading your resume most likely has quite a few others to look at, so don’t make them hunt for vital information.
Proofread, Proofread, Proofread! Send it to a few family members and friends, and get them to hunt for any spelling or grammatical errors. You want your first impression to be a good one, not one with poorly formed sentences and incorrectly spelled words. Attention to detail is a crucial step in this process, don’t let yourself fall in an easily fixed area.
So now it’s your turn to go and make your resume. Let me know how you go, and I’d be happy to have a look at your resume and provide some comments if you’d like. I’ll be back next week with part two of this series, this time focusing on cover letters.