Resume Tips for 2020
There’s a lot of advice out there when it comes to resumes. There is no need to get overwhelmed, nor is there a reason to go and spend hundreds of dollars getting it professionally done.
Follow these tips for preparing a modern resume:
KEEP IT SIMPLE
This is my number one tip when it comes to resumes. There has been an increase in the use of recruitment technologies and the common one is an applicant tracking systems (ATS for short). If your resume has text boxes, icons, fancy pictures, or backgrounds it may not be compatible with the ATS system, and into the black hole you go, never to be seen again.
It is best to edit your resume using Word and then saving it as a PDF before sending it off. If you have a scanned version of your resume it may also appear in a PDF format, but don’t make this mistake, because if you can’t highlight the text on it, it’s no good – it’s literally a picture and is not ATS compatible (plus it’s a pet hate for Recruiters because they can’t edit it).
For the main text I would recommend using the Calibri font and having it at size 11. Headings should be bold.
Your resume should include the following headings:
The position you are applying for – bolded in the centre at the top of your resume.
Mobile number, email address (make sure it’s professional), address (optional – best to at least include the suburb and state) Make sure you have a professional email address, LinkedIn URL and Visa Status (if you require sponsorship from a company).
Personal Statement / Summary
One paragraph that explains how awesome you are! Include years of experience and industry exposure. Go into any specifics or your forte. If you get stuck, have a look on LinkedIn and see how other people in your field have described themselves. Avoid using too many fluffy words.
If the role you are applying for requires a Degree or certain Qualification you want to list it under this heading and keep it on the front page, opposed to after your work history.
Depending on your profession, skills could be swapped for software experience, plant equipment operated etc. What we are trying to achieve here, is a few detailed bullet points on skills that need to be highlighted. You can choose to miss this heading out if you do not feel it is relevant.
If you are going to list soft skills, be mindful of them sounding like meaningless buzzwords. It is better to demonstrate your soft skills under your work history achievements if that is the case. If you want to add skills in this section then make sure you go into detail, for example, instead of listing “Project Management” perhaps “Project Management of Commercial Design & Construct up to $30mil”.
Work History / Professional Experience / Employment History
This is the section where you list your work history. Choose one of the headings above, or something similar and list your experience in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent position. If you can squeeze your most recent position on the first page, then that is preferred. You should list the date (month and year), employer and then your position title – bolded or in a different colour, just so it stands out. Bullet point your responsibilities, ensuring your give go into detail. For example, instead of “weekly payroll” use “Managed the weekly payroll for 30 staff and 5 casual workers, using XERO”. Under responsibilities, have another heading called achievements and ensure you quantify these.
Volunteer Work & Interests
I absolutely love seeing people with volunteer experience. Whether it be sports related or for a charity organisation. It can reveal a lot about someone’s character and that they are a contributor to the community. If you have never volunteered, perhaps it is time you should. You can check out SEEK’s volunteer section on their website for current opportunities.
This is also where you could list your interests. I would recommend leaving off “socialising with friends” as an interest. If you barrack for a certain footy team, add it here, it can make for a bit of fun banter at interview time – which can help to relax the setting.
I recommend listing three referees. Include their full name, position title and company but leave off the contact details. This way the Recruiter or Company you have sent your resume to, asks for permission before contacting them. It also allows you to give your referee notice so they can expect the call.
Use narrow margins so you can squeeze more on the front page.
Check the spacing is consistent across the document. I find this easy to do once the document is zoomed out to view “whole page”.
Complete a spell check and then get someone to proofread it.
See if you can find someone in your industry to view your resume and give you any tips.
If you have worked for a Recruitment Agency, be sure to list the company you were contracted out to as well.
Explain any gaps in the resume. There is no reason to hide the fact you went on a one-year holiday to Europe after University.
THINGS TO SCRAP
Instead, go for a Personal Statement / Summary of your experience. If you are a graduate, then you could use career objective but ensure that it is relevant to the job you are applying for.
I often debate with people over whether to include a photo or not. If you think that a photo is going to be truly relevant to the position you are applying for, then go for it. My take on not putting a photo on a resume, comes down to the fact that people naturally judge people on the way they look. By removing the photo, you remove that judgement.
Let’s face it, your mate is never going to say a bad word about you, so it’s best to keep these professional. Ideally you should list people that you have reported to directly.
Jobs that lasted a month or less
While I do not condone lying on your resume, it never looks good when there is a lot of short stints listed. You should give an explanation as to why they were only short stays or miss them off completely.