There’s no underestimating the importance of a good resume. Your CV is the first step in your career progression. It’s your ticket to an interview and your foot in the door.
To make sure your resume is in the best shape possible, make sure you do the following five things instantly improve your CV.
Make it look professional
First impressions are important, both in person and on paper. Put simply, if your CV looks like it’s been whipped up in five minutes, it’s not going to give you the best chance at a second glance.
When a prospective employer looks over your resume, you want it to catch their eye immediately. You want to impress them with professional design, layout and presentation.
This may sound difficult to achieve, but it really isn’t! The Microsoft Office suite has hundreds of free templates from a site such as Career FAQs, including templates designed especially for CVs. Searching online will also yield countless results for impressive, professionally designed CV templates. Try to choose one that reflects your personality and the job market you’re targeting.
Make it easy to read
Once you’ve nailed the professional presentation, it’s time to focus on the actual content of your CV. This content needs to be four things:
- Easy to read
Take note of the way the above bullet points break up this paragraph. The white space makes the text easier on the eye and the bullet points present important information quickly and clearly. Be sure to make similar use of bullet points in your resume when outlining your skills and experience.
Also be sure to pay attention to the language you’re using. Strong, positive language with plenty of active words is best. Try to start each sentence or bullet point with a verb, such as ‘I managed a team of ten people’ or ‘Coordinated a six-month communications project’.
Make your unique skills stand out
Think of your resume as a product in a line of similar products, all from different companies. What would make someone choose your product over the next one in line? What makes it (i.e. you) stand out? What unique skills or experience do you have that make you the best person for this particular job?
Provide the answers to all these questions clearly and succinctly on your resume to help it stand out from the pile.
Make it specific to the job you’re applying for.
Gone are the days where you could send copies of the same resume to every employer, no matter what the position! In today’s competitive job market, it’s important to address the particular requirements of every position for which you apply.
This doesn’t mean starting from the ground up every time you send out your CV. Rather, it means rearranging or rewording the information so the most relevant parts stand out in response to the particular job criteria you’re responding to.
Make sure you get feedback/help.
Did you know that CV writing workshops or services are offered by most educational institutions, such as universities and TAFE campuses? Look up your local institute and find out what career workshops and services they offer. Resume development will almost certainly be one of them.
If you’ve attended one of these workshops, or if you’ve simply implemented all the above tips, your resume is probably looking pretty great! But before you send it off to potential employers, be sure to have at least one other person check it over.
This could be a friend or family member, a colleague or other professional, or someone from your recruitment agency (if you’re using one). A fresh pair of eyes can often pick up something you’ve missed.