A Brief Resume Guide

Everybody, regardless at which stage of their career, needs a current resume close at hand, ready to respond to a great opportunity. Your resume provides employers with a snapshot of your career and it’s often your one chance to get in the door. Here we offer applicants a few tips to ensure you present a winning resume and help you secure an interview.

Resume Content
The first step to a great resume is to consider what information you should include. We have listed some essential information below, but you may also want to create a checklist to help you evaluate your skills and aspirations.

Personal Details - list your name and contact details at the top of the first page of your resume including your address and telephone number(s). Only include your email address if it is private and it can be checked regularly.

Career Objective - This is an optional part of your resume. It is a statement about what you want to achieve in your career. If you choose to include a career objective on your resume, you should tailor it for each job that you apply for.

Previous positions – Determine whether the company you worked for was more important than the job title and list accordingly. The most important information should go first, followed by the job title on a new line. Make sure you maintain a consistent style to allow for quick scanning and comprehension.

Job summary – When describing your duties and responsibilities emphasise your achievements. You can use bullet points and strong action words to show how you contributed to your employer's business. Carefully consider how you can quantify your goals and achievements.

Education - The level of detail you include about your education depends on the balance between qualifications and work experience. Recent graduates with little experience may want to list relevant classes and include results. As a general guide, the less recent your qualification, the less information you provide. However always include the name of the institution and qualification, the date you graduated and your major field of study.

References and Referees - Employers often request the names and contact details of referees. Carefully chosen referees should know you well and are able to verify the details in your resume. Gain their permission to include them before listing them.

Optional Extras - A good resume is as brief as possible. You should only include the following items if they will truly strengthen your application.

  • Professional training;
  • Professional affiliations and memberships;
  • Licences and accreditations;
  • Knowledge of foreign languages;
  • Publications;
  • Special accomplishments such as awards; and
  • Personal interests.


Resume Formats
There are three main ways to organise your resume: chronological, functional or hybrid. The format you choose will depend on the circumstances.

Chronological - The chronological resume is the most commonly used. It lists work experience and achievements in each job, beginning with the most recent first and working backwards.

Functional - The functional resume groups your work experience according to your skills and abilities rather than specific positions.

Hybrid - The hybrid format highlights your strengths by placing your skills, experience and abilities at the beginning, followed by a chronologically ordered list of experience toward the end.

Presentation - The presentation of your resume is just as important as the content. Here is a list of do’s and dont’s to help your resume stand out.

Use good quality white or off-white paper.
Use a common and easy-to-read font.
Make the best use of available space.
Use page numbers (except on the front page).
Check and recheck the spelling and grammar.

Use a tiny font size or lines of italic text.
Use clip art.
Include a photograph of yourself.
Waste paper on a cover sheet.
Use coloured paper (it won't fax or photocopy clearly).
Trust your computer’s spell checker.

For more details, such as examples of actual resumes, you can refer to:
- Online resources such as seek.com or mycareer.com
- Your recruitment consultant/HR professional
- Your library
- Your contacts/network

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