Tips for writing a good resume

The key purpose of a resume/CV is to get an interview. It is a marketing tool to sell yourself to the panelists of an organisation.

A resume must be short (maximum 2 pages) and focused on what you have to offer.

The first page is critical – it should give a snapshot of your skills required for the position you are applying for. The following information should be on the first page:

  • Your name
  • Contact details – in the footer of the page rather than taking up valuable space.
  • Your profile, plus a few bullet points of your key skills, strengths and achievements
  • An overview of your career (dates, organisation, role)

Other information to provide in your resume includes:

  • Some detail on your recent roles, including key responsibilities and achievements
  • Relevant qualifications and ongoing professional development
  • Membership of relevant organisations

Some tips

  • Show your achievements, work experience, qualifications, etc in reverse chronological order – that is, most recent first
  • Make your key achievements, strengths and skills as specific as possible, eg:
  • Over 20 years’ financial services experience, including 15+ years in management and CEO roles
  • 6 years’ executive experience on not-for-profit boards
  • Proven ability to develop strategic networks and effectively foster working relationships with key stakeholder and customers
  • Good layout makes resumes easier to read, so keep formatting simple and consistent – use headings and bullets, and be generous with white space
  • Use bullets rather than sentences under each heading, and start bullets with an action verb, eg:

Developed …
Increased …
Negotiated …
Researched and implemented strategy for …

  • Keep jargon and complex words to a minimum
  • Make sure your name and the page number are on each page – a good place is in the footer
  • Don’t forget to check your spelling, grammar and punctuation – typos create a bad impression with the reader

And finally … remember to write a targeted cover letter/email for each position you apply for. The cover letter is your opportunity to show you are a good fit for their organisation, and to address any specific selection criteria.

If you have any questions or would you like some help with your resume please contact us.

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