Get your Resume Right!

Eight month ago I would make allowance for any number of errors in a resume because of the shortage of quality candidates and lack of competition. The labour market as changed dramatically and because we now get a large number of applications for each role we advertise we now focus on every resume error to cull candidates to arrive at our client short list. For example we had a Customer Service role recently and received over 200 applications.

To get that elusive role and beat the competition you now need to ensure that your resume is perfect and proactively “sells” your skills and abilities.

I have literally reviewed thousands of resumes within the last ten years and the following comments are my observations …

1. Resume formats – Most recruitment systems process resumes in MS Word format and if they have asked in the advertisement to put it in a particular format then please do so.

2. Spelling mistakes – Take care that you do not have any spelling mistakes in your resume as that may indicate that you are possibly careless and you may be eliminated because of it. The worse spelling mistake I have seen is when the candidate spelt their own name wrong. Always use spell check.

3. Work history – Always put your most recent jobs first. I am more happy with a ten year work history but sometimes you will be asked for everything you have done since you left school. (too far back for me to remember).

4. Gaps in work history – These days if you leave gaps Recruiters do not have time to guess what you were doing. Put in the dates as you would with a job and then add what you were doing It could be reasons such as “Travelling around Australia”, ” At home looking after my family” , “Studying at University”.

5. Achievements – The most important thing you can put on a resume is your achievements. These differentiate you from other candidates and proves to recruiters and employers you have been there and done it! It also helps the Recruiter sell you to their clients.

6. Contact details – Make sure your contact details are correct so that a Recruiter can contact you quickly. Mobile phones are fantastic but if you do not have message bank or it is switched off then you could be missing out on job opportunities, When applying for jobs make sure you regularly check your messages and return phone calls as quickly as possible.

7. Photos on resumes – This is really a personal choice. I like them myself but make sure you use a recent photo. I had a candidate who used a photo that made him look twenty years younger than he actually was. At the interview I saw the real him and felt he had misrepresented himself. If he used a more recent photo I still will have interviewed him anyway.

8. Referees – You do not need to put these on your resume but do think about who can comment objectively on your previous work history. Make sure you ask your referees if it is ok to list them on your resume and let them know what sort of roles you are applying for.

Hopefully these comments have been of some help!