How To

How to write a resume

A vital tool

Your resume gets you an interview – if it’s good enough.

Your resume may be one of hundreds, and recruiters scan them in seconds, so it must cut to the chase. Fast.

It must be riveting, relevant, comprehensive, flawless and true.

You have one chance to get it right.

Contact

Include your full name. Capitalise your FAMILY NAME so there’s no mistake.

Add your address, phone details and a professional-looking email. Be easily contactable.

Omit your date of birth, marital status, number of children and ethnicity. They’re irrelevant.

Experience

Clearly define your career goal. Link it to the job you’re going for.

Explain what you want and what value the employer will derive in return.

List your work experience from latest to earliest.

Include your:

  • Employers (who they were, what they did).
  • Job titles.
  • Key duties (but not entire job descriptions).
  • Achievements (Show, don’t tell. If you grew sales, give figures.).
  • Reasons for leaving.

Don’t leave gaps in your resume. If you took time off to rest, travel, have a child or do a project, say so.

Truth is best, and varied life experiences can actually improve your chances.

Education

List your education from latest to earliest.

Include academic qualifications (degree, master’s) and other achievements (diving permit, black belt, first aid certificate).

Referees

Add 2-3 referees available: respected people who can describe you in action (teacher, boss, community leader). It’s not necessary to provide all their contact details as they can be provided at a later date.

Interests

Include a few relevant interests to give a sense of you as a person (club, sport, hobby, community work).

Tone

Be confident, but not cocky. Sell yourself, but don’t boast. Stretching of the truth can be found out. So, keep it factual.

Use present infinitive verbs (action words) like create, deliver and manage.

Only use terms your readers will know.

Skew your resume to the role. Address (and perhaps use) the wording of the ad.

Be brief. Use bullets wherever you can.

Format

Create your resume in MS Word or PDF format for easy sending and opening.

Make it 2-4 pages. Not a napkin. Not a book.

Use subheaders (like we have).

Avoid italics, reverse type and OVER FORMATTING.

Avoid small, coloured or weird fonts; they merely distract readers from your content.

Plain, black-and-white Arial 12 is all you need.

Keep things simple and elegant. Leave some white space.

Don't cram too much information onto one page.

Avoid photos, graphics, shading and fancy backgrounds and paper.

A single typo can torpedo your chances.

Check layout and content thoroughly. Don’t rely on spell check.

Read your resume aloud, then give it to someone (ideally from the job’s sector) with English skills good enough to double check your work.

If in doubt, pay a professional.

It’ll be worth it.

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The benefits of contracting

Today’s organisations want flexible workers. If you’re one, you’re in.

‘Temps’ have a come a long way. These days, you’re truly one of the team. A great way to master many cultures.

Contracting gives you concentrated expertise across your choice of roles, sectors and projects. Pick your time, place and employer. Honour your life priorities, from fun and family to career and money.

Yes, you can make big money in little time... then take it easy or go even harder.

Test yourself. Learn from others. Max your skills. Live life without the boring bits. Contracting lets you experience countries, sample career moves and get what you want when you want it. 
And if you don’t like it, you can always go back.

As a contractor with Blyss, you can be an individual, a sole trader with an ABN or a company. Once you join us, we do the rest – like find contracts, look after insurances and pay you each fortnight. All you need do is give our client/s your expertise.

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How to write a cover letter

A great letter makes recruiters read your resume. Write one to lead the pack.
Make it clear (well spaced, 12 font, black-on-white), concise (one page, standard business format) and easy to read (no fancy backgrounds or paper).
Find out who you’re writing to: name, title, address, salutation (Mrs/Ms) and gender (Jan, Kim, Mel). Write to interest them, not yourself. Cite the job’s name/number.
Your first sentence must be a winner. Say why you want to do that job with that employer (if known) and why you’re the best possible choice.
If you don’t know the selection criteria, request a job description or study the ad to figure them out. Then match your expertise and attributes to the keywords (e.g. initiative, teamwork, ambition).
Complement your resume – don’t rehash it – by highlighting points relevant to the job.
Use active verbs like lead, manage, create and deliver. Be confident and enthusiastic yet humble. Match your tone to the sector.
Add all your contact details and be available.
Start with bullet points. Write a draft. Sleep on it. Edit it. Read it aloud. Repeat until you’ve done your best. Then ask someone who knows to critique it.
One typo can sink you. So triple check spelling and grammar.
Send without delay.

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Can do or has been?

Talent, attitude, versatility & ability to learn can be as valuable as years of experience. Next time you hire, try thinking outside the time capsule.

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Director’s cut

If your goods are great, don’t lower your prices. As your competitors cut their brands to shreds, discerning clients will gravitate to your superior offering.

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Good, better, best

If you hired OK talent in haste, you can replace it with top talent at leisure. That’s the beauty of contractors & that’s how ‘confusion’ equals ‘opportunity’.

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Time to learn

If you’d rather sit this one out than come out swinging, use downtime to explore new things like Squidoo, Digg & Technorati. Knowledge is power: maximise yours!

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The wheel thing

The changing economy is creating a buyers’ market for talent. Be kind & courteous to all your candidates, for The Great Wheel will turn their way again.

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