Why you should bother to write a resume
Your resume is an introduction to potential employers and a record of your achievements, we’ve put together some tips on writing yours. Once it’s written, it could not only help you land a job, but it could help to save time and brain power when you’re writing other applications too, (e.g. for university courses or scholarships).
It may seem like a pointless exercise if you’re still at high school and all the examples you’ve seen so far list huge career histories, with mountains of work experience and qualifications already listed.
Well, that may not apply to you just yet. But if you approach your resume writing with enthusiasm and with the aim of highlighting your strengths, you might be pleasantly surprised by the volume of material you’ve already got to showcase about you.
The 10 top tips to remember
So, without further ado, here’s how to write a resume:
- Always include:
- Your name, age and contact details
- Your education details, including the names of your schools and a list of subjects you’ve studied
- Any work experience you’ve had, including paid jobs, volunteer work and school-based work experience
- A list of your skills
- Any awards or achievements
- Hobbies and interests that you’re most passionate about
- The best resumes are short, concise, and to the point. They should never be longer than a page (even if you change your career after 40 years). Nobody has the time or enthusiasm to wade through more than a page. Only list skills and achievements that are relevant to the job or course etc., that you’re applying for.
- Pay special attention to the wording. You’ll need to make sure that you’re showing off your best attributes without being long-winded or waffling, whilst injecting some personality into your resume too.
- BE HONEST. Whilst you really need to promote yourself and talk up your skills and abilities, you need to keep it real. If your CV is too unbelievable or sounds false you might not get an interview, or if you do make it to an interview and are asked about claims you’ve made on your resume but can’t back them up, that’s going to be pretty embarrassing and you won’t impress anyone.
- Formatting should be easy to scan-read, visually appealing but not fussy or overly complex (stay away from templates with crazy colours and lots of patterns)
- Depending on the job or application, you could consider being creative if you think it could work in your favour, e.g. a video or presentation style resume
- Tailor your CV (and covering letter) to suit the role that you’re applying for. You can do that by simply altering the skills you list. There are clues about what to include in the job adverts or application packs, or you could take it a step further and call the organisations directly to find out exactly what they’re looking for.
- Be objective when you read it back – think like an employer. Or ask a friend, family member or teacher for their input.
- Last but very importantly proof-read your resume a few times, preferably with intervals between reading it, before you send it anywhere.
Looking for more resume writing tips?
Here’s a few more resources to have a look at (don’t worry, they’re short):