Here are my top 10 tips and hints for writing a resume or CV. Preparing a CV is a something that you can develop and perfect. Remember this is your marketing brochure so spend time and get it right. If you do get stuck then please get in touch, I offer CV writing services if you really want to get that Resume/CV polished up quickly Contact Me.
1. No more than 3 pages
This has been an age old dilemma with CV/Resume writing, how many pages to include? There is no hard and fast rule, to be honest it depends on the preference of the interviewer. If you can get everything onto 2 pages then great, but don’t add more than 3 pages. Most recruitment agencies and interviewers will get bored past the page three and unless your Resume is amazing then it is destined for the bin.
2. Don’t just repeat your responsibilities
This is such a common error on your Resume/CV and really does not demonstrate your real accomplishments. Included bullet points such as ‘managed a geographically dispersed service desk team consisting of 5 people’ or ‘Setup a structured Service Desk based on ITIL best practises brining together geographically dispersed teams’. These describe your roles and achievements more effectively and lifts your accomplishments off the page.
3. Use meaningful data when explaining accomplishments
What I mean here is that use statistics to backup your accomplishments. Things like ‘Led implementation of new Service Desk ticketing system which saw a 20% increase in customer satisfaction’. Of course please be prepared to backup your statement, but these achievements add more weight in your Resume than simply saying you are responsible for a Service Desk Ticketing System.
4. Have more than one CV/Resume
This may sounds strange, but it is very likely you will be applying for different types of job in different sectors. Tailor your Resume so that you can target specific roles. For a role with a Bank you might want to explain your experience and exposure to FSA rules or in a Retail company your exposure to EFTPOS etc. You are unlikely to impress an employer with your knowledge of EFTPOS if you are applying for a job with a Legal company.
Make a list of accomplishment you have achieved over the past three years. Then expand the list to include at least 5 accomplishments from each of your previous jobs over the past 10 years. You can then cut and paste these into your Resume depending on the job you are going for. This helps you tailor your CV/Resume and at the same time keeps it fresh. Remember to use accomplishments with evidence.
5. Don’t exaggerate
Unless you are very good at lying then please do not make up or exaggerate your experience on your Resume, you will be found out. Any good interviewer will drill down into your experience and will soon pickup on any ambiguity.
6. Avoid Repetition
Always check that you haven’t used the same words for describing different skills, work experience, or interests, and check for unnecessary adjectives. For example mix words like managed, responsible for, led or effectively managed. Check down your bullet list and make sure you do not start the same bullet with the same words each time.
7. Check your spelling or grammar
This is going to sound harsh, but if I see spelling mistakes or poor grammar in a Resume then it immediately goes in the bin. I am by no means great with English so I always get help when I am writing an important report or article. I ask someone independent to proof read the piece of work for me. I might even ask a second person to do the same. You will be amazed at how much you miss yourself. Please read and re-read your Resume and get friends and family to proof read it for you.
8. Make changes regularly
Always keep your CV fresh and up-to-date. Make tweaks and changes regularly especially if you have finished a project or achieved a qualification. This ensures your Resume is up-to-date and is as effective as it can be to market your capabilities.…
9. Include a Cover Letter
Almost every time you upload your Resume when applying for an online job advert you are going to be asked for a cover letter. You must approach this letter in the same way any other formal letter. Please start with Dear or Sir or Madam and end with Yours Sincerely. Please start your first sentence with “I enclose my latest curriculum vitae in application to the advertised vacancy <job reference and title>”. The next one or two paragraphs should outline your skills and ambitions. Then finish with a bullet point list of career highlights (that are not included in your Resume) with the usual evidence. Again apply the same rules of spelling and grammar. A cover letter is another opportunity to market yourself, but you are a risk of making all the good work in your Resume come to nothing with a poor quality Resume. Take a look here at 2 FREE example cover letters.
10. Correctly format your CV
There is a wealth of useful information on the net about formatting CV’s and again much of the layout of a CV is down to personal choice. There is no hard and fast rule about the order of events and what should or should not be included. I like to see interests on a CV because you get an opportunity to use this to engage with the applicant more socially, but you will some recruitment agents leaving this section out. Here are some do’s and don’ts-
- Do use a clear, commonly used font, like Arial 10
- Don’t use a comic or kids font, it gives the wrong impression
- Do keep your font consistent through the Resume
- Do order your previous jobs newest to oldest
- Do give more emphasis on your current or most recent role i.e. more bullet points
- Do include your qualifications (the good ones)
- Do include your name, address and contact number (make sure the information is correct and up-to-date)
Why not check out my eBook ‘How do I get a Job in IT‘. There is a chapter dedicated to preparing a professional Resume including examples.