Your resume is the very first impression you’ll make on a potential employer, so you’ll want to make it a good one! The key is to effectively communicate your skills, education, and experience—regardless of whether you’re just starting out in the workforce or have years under your belt.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of updating your resume, we’ve got you covered. We’re sharing a bunch of handy tips and tricks to help you to create a job-winning resume that stands out from the pack.
1. Cover the basics
Firstly, start by noting down your essential information, including:
Your phone number
Your email address
Your LinkedIn URL
Your availability (if applying for a part-time or casual role)
2. Prepare your summary
Prepare a short summary of your experience, accomplishments and the value you can bring to the company. Use this as your ‘elevator pitch’ to sell yourself by summarising what you have to offer in a few short sentences.
“A college student with a strong passion for delivering high-quality customer service. I am seeking to develop my experience and grow my career in a fast-paced retail environment.”
“A high-performing store manager with over five years’ experience in retail management. I have strong demonstrated skills in customer service, staff management, and consistently meeting and exceeding sales targets.”
“A personable food service team member with 12 months experience in a fast-paced hospitality environment. After building my customer service skills, I am eager to advance my career with a new position in a food service company.”
Next, create a list of at least six soft and hard skills. For example, soft skills are communication skills, time management, teamwork, work ethic, and problem-solving. Hard skills involve technical knowledge such as computer skills, project management skills, and marketing skills.
3. Detail your experience and education
Write a list of your previous work experience and responsibilities, listed from most recent to least recent. Under each job heading, use bullet points to describe your role. If you have not had any experience, instead list any volunteer work, special school projects or achievements.
Use action-oriented words to describe your responsibilities, rather than simply providing a list of your duties. For example, rather than simply stating ‘roster management’, you could say ‘effectively managed staff roster to ensure the consistent smooth-running of the store’.
Then, provide a summary of your education history and any certificates or qualifications. If you have completed any relevant short training courses, you may also like to include these here.
4. Include references
Finally, finish off by providing contact details for two references who can vouch for you. Make sure you contact your references in advance to ensure they are happy to provide you with a reference. Alternatively, you may note that references are available upon request.
5. Review and edit your writing
Once your draft is complete, the number one thing to do is proofread! Read your resume out loud and keep an eagle-eye out for any spelling mistakes or typos. If you can’t spot any errors, have someone else read it as well—you can never be too sure!
When reviewing your writing, check that your resume reads as a quick snapshot, not an essay! If it is longer than one or two pages, take time to review and cut out any unnecessary information. Your resume should get straight to the point, keeping all sections short and sweet.
6. Choose the right format
We all know the saying ‘never judge a book by its cover’, but when it comes to resumes, presentation certainly counts! Many employers will judge your resume by how it is presented, so make sure to keep it sharp and clean. Use a consistent font and pay attention to the formatting.
7. Send it to employers