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So you have decided to apply for your first job? Go you! Stepping out into the world of work can seem overwhelming. After all, it’s a HUGE leap into adulthood which brings responsibility, independence, knowledge, money and much more stuff! Your resume is one of the most important tools you have when job searching. Quite often it’s the first impression you make on a potential employer, so it’s important it get it right. This can be tough when there is so much misinformation out there. Well, you’re in luck! Here are my top 7 tips for resume writing.
2 pages– Two pages is the best length for a résumé when you are starting out. It makes a lot of sense when you think about it. If there are 200 applications for one job, the recruiter will probably spend 30 seconds or less skimming your résumé. A lengthy, rambling résumé is not your friend.
Ensure the information in your resume is prioritised. Your Career Objective/Overview, Education and Key Skills should all be on the first page, then work backwards from here. You need to convey key information straightaway to make the reader want to know more about you.
Employers want to know if you are a good fit for the job, their business and what you can bring to the role. Demonstrating your skills is so important to do when you don’t have any work history to underline your abilities.
Be sure to highlight key transferrable skills such as ‘excellent communication skills’, ‘good attention to detail’, ‘ability to solve problems creatively’ and so on. These skills should align with the key attributes of the position you are applying for.
Personal details such as date of birth, gender, marital status, nationality and appearance have no place in an Australian resume. Why? None of these details have any impact on an applicant’s ability to meet the inherent requirements of the job. Including these details in your resume will leave you open to discrimination, particularly when it comes to age and gender.
There are a very few exceptions. Industries like modelling, TV, acting (and related occupations) and the armed forces will expect some of these details.
Keep in mind that your potential employer does have a right to confirm that you are legally old enough to work and you may be asked to present document to this effect. Make sure you check out the Fair Work Act (Australia only) for more information here!
A clear, concise format is just as important as your content. A wordy resume with inconsistent formatting is difficult to read and off-putting to a recruiter.
Also, be wary of using fancy online templates. Quite often these are designed for overseas candidates and won’t be suitable for the Australian job market or Applicant Tracking Software. This is a whole other post in itself!
Including interests and hobbies in your resume is debatable. My opinion is generally no, unless you can demonstrate that the skills developed from these interests or hobbies are relevant to the vacancy you are applying for. For example, if you captain a netball team, this demonstrates that you have the ability to work well in a team and good communication, leadership and perhaps even event coordination skills.
No matter how good your written communication skills are, you have probably made a mistake somewhere that you haven’t picked up on. ALWAYS ask someone to review your résumé. This can make all the difference in a highly competitive job market and it doesn’t have to cost much. Generally, schools and universities provide these services for free to their students.
Once you have written your resume, had it proofread at least twice by at least two other people, then you should start considering how you are going to try to get a job. Well,lucky for you we have a post about how to apply for your first job. So there’s no need to stress just check that out and start!
Danielle has 13 years of experience in large and small scale recruitment, capability development, HR consulting and career development coaching. Clients of her business, Career Finesses, appreciate her energetic, supportive and highly professional approach career development and coaching.