Resume basics to get you started

Once you’re ready to start work, before you’ve started looking for opportunities, you’ll need to make sure your resume is ready, up to date, and stands out for the right reasons.


What is a resume?

Your resume is a document which details your work and study history, and highlights all of your achievements and skills so far.

Their purpose is to allow potential employers and recruiters to get a sense of who you are. It’s your opportunity to show that you recognise the skills and attributes that they’re looking for in order to do the job, and confirms that you have them.

A great resume could save your application from the “bin” pile and make sure it ends up in the “interview” pile instead.


Things to include on your CV

You’ll want to keep your resume brief, 1 page is ideal, 2 maximum.

It should show:

  • Your name, age, & contact details
  • Education, including the names of your schools and a list of subjects you’ve studied
  • Any other jobs you’ve had (including volunteer work and work experience)
  • A list of your skills – don’t be shy but don’t exaggerate either
  • Any awards or achievements
  • A few hobbies and interests 

Make sure to do the following:

  • Provide all the essential details in a professional looking, easy-to-read format
  • Keep it up to date and concise
  • Make it relevant to the job you’re applying for
  • Use wording that best highlights your skills without waffling
  • Inject some personality
  • Stay honest
  • Proof-read it or get someone else to help you out

Remember you need it to impress the person reading it and help them to see how you’d be great for the job they’re advertising.


Give it some polish

Spending some time finding the perfect resume format is important. There are tonnes of resume examples to sift through online, some free and some not. If you’re not sure where to start, you could try using the Super Simple Resume Builder and go from there.

Bear in mind Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) are often used, so it could pay not to use fancy columns or images if you’re applying online, and incorporate any key words used in the job specification or advert.


Don’t forget to craft a cover letter

Most times you’re applying for a job,  a brief cover letter is also a good idea. Make sure it’s short, relevant to the job you’re applying for, and really highlights the things about you the make you a great person for the job.

You can get more information about why a cover is a good idea and what to include here.

If you’re looking for other useful tips about job hunting, our Getting a Job Guide could provide the answers.

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