Read some of our top tips about how to get a resume that works.

I sat down with John Burfitt of Jamaica Blue Escape to talk about crafting a resume that actually works. Here are some Resume Tips that I shared with him for the article Resumes that Work.

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Top Resume Tips

  • The resume is important to represent you in the best light to your next employer.
  • A resume only needs to be as long as it needs to be to get the message across that you’re the best person for the job, however, the typical Australian resume is 2 or 3 pages in length – long enough to sell yourself.
  • The front page is the most important part of your resume. You’ve got to grab the person’s attention from the first page, so you need to get about 70% of the key information about you, and how you are addressing the issue for the job you’re applying for, onto the front page.
  • Include a summary of what value you would bring to your next employer and how you’re going to solve their problems. Explain why you’re the perfect fit for the job.
  • On the front page, include a Key Skills section so that when a recruiter is scanning the resume, they can pick out those important things to check that you match the criteria for the role. This means they can see clearly that you can do the job.
  • Use key words that have to do with the technical and professional expertise, industry relationships etc. This makes the document attractive for the person reading your resume, as well as any computer applicant tracking system (ATS).
  • Also include an Achievement section on the front page of your resume. It should be positioned as career highlights that are relevant to the new role.
  • Your career highlights can be from any time in your career – provide evidence of what you have done and what you can pass on to the next employer.
  • What I see in about 99% of resumes is people include what they can call achievement, and don’t include anything beyond the responsibilities of the roles they had. (That’s not what an achievement is – that’s what you were paid to do!)
  • When recruiters ask about achievements, what they want to see are the results of what the job seekers did – extensive accomplishments, results, outcomes.
  • Make it easy for applicant tracking systems to read your resume. Overly-designed graphic resumes are discarded by ATS systems before any person reads it. Use universal fonts that can be read on any computer system (eg: Arial and Helvetica), and keep your resume easy to read.
  • Have and updated online LinkedIn profile that correlates with all the details on your resume.
  • Make sure your resume, cover letter and LinkedIn ‘fit’ with how you have positioned yourself on social media.

This article by John Burfitt first appeared in Jamaica Blue Escape.


(updated 2021)

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