The first step on a successful job hunt is perfecting your ‘CV’ or ‘resume’. This is your chance to highlight your skills and ultimately earn yourself an interview.
But just how do you write an impressive resume in English? As part of our Career Week, we’ve listed eight essential things for you to keep in mind:
1. Looks matter
Make a great first impression with a resume that is neat, organized, and easy to read. If you’re presenting a hard copy of your resume, remember to print it on high quality paper in a legible 11 or 12-point font. Avoid any distracting formatting and keep things short and to the point.
2. Keep it brief
Remember, a resume isn’t the place to catalogue your entire life story. You only have couple of seconds to capture the attention of a potential employer, so keep it brief. Highlight only your key credentials: education, work history and the specific achievements that are most relevant to the job you want. Many employers prefer a one-page resume, but two or more pages can sometimes be acceptable depending on your industry.
3. Make it easy to get in touch
Be sure to include all of your contact details prominently at the top of your resume, including your full name, address, email address, mobile phone number and potentially your Skype contact information. If it’s professionally relevant, you might also consider including your twitter handle or other social media profiles. But remember: always be aware of how you present yourself online.
4. Keep it logical
Organize your resume into three basic categories: work experience, education and skills and interests. You can present your work experience chronologically starting with your most recent role, or group them by job function. Choose the format you feel makes you most attractive to a potential employer.
5. Titles are key
If you want to present yourself professionally, remember to include the relevant title for each of your roles. Be sure it’s descriptive and accurate. For example, simply putting ‘Sales’ next to your name doesn’t tell a potential employer much about your previous role. However, a title like ‘Sales Director’ indicates your level and suggests the scope of your responsibilities.
6. Be direct and correct
Because a hiring manager is likely to simply scan over your resume, use bullet points rather than paragraphs to quickly detail your experience. It is absolutely essential that you proofread your resume, as your English grammar and punctuation must be completely flawless. For that reason, it never hurts to have someone you trust read over your resume to suggest any edits and ensure everything is 100% perfect.
7. Fill it with action packed words
Powerful words convey a strong and talented person. Don’t let your resume fall flat. Instead, fill it with the words that are sure to catch the eye of a potential employer. Consider the following action-packed verbs:
‘Launched ’, to get going, start or initiate
For example: “Launched a new marketing channel that generated a 50% increase in sales leads”
‘Initiated’: to begin, originate or propose
“Initiated a new process that streamlined production and increased productivity”
‘Directed’: guided, regulated or managed
“Directed a successful team of ten employees”
‘Created’: developed, gave rise to or evolved from your own thought or imagination
“Created a campaign concept that doubled sales figures for the month”
‘Led’: to guide in direction or course of action
“Led monthly training sessions for new staff”
“Generated a 25% increase in online traffic”
8. Be honest
Be honest with yourself. Take a look at your resume and ask: Would I hire me? If the answer is ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ then it is time for to revise or rewrite your resume. If the answer is ‘yes’ then it’s time to prepare for your interview.