Tips for Writing Resumes
When applying for a job, or an internship, a well written and relevant resume is very important, as it is usually the first impression a possible employer has of you. Here are a few tips to remember when writing or reviewing your resume:
- At the top of the page you should include your full name and contact details. Your name should be in larger (and/or bold) font.
- It is not an autobiography of your life. It should be a summary of your skills, responsibilities and achievements that are relevant to the job and what the employer is actually interested in. The information should be relatively recent (i.e. don’t include your primary school achievements) and not overly descriptive. Your resume is not a document to get you a job; its aim is to get you an interview. If you get an interview, then you are able to give a more in-depth description of your skills, responsibilities and achievements. Therefore, remember to keep it brief and to the point.
- Do not ‘bend the truth’ in the responsibilities and experiences you have had. If you worked in McDonalds, say you worked in McDonalds and not in “customer service in a fine dining restaurant”. Employees want to know the real experiences you have had, and even if they are not glamorous or exciting, they are still just as impressive.
- Under the sub-headings (e.g. Education) achievement or positions should be in chronological order, with the most recent first.
- An example of a typical outline is as follows:
Profile (A brief summary of yourself, your attributes and your career goals)
Work (Year, Employer and Position of occupation, and work highlights)
Education (Year and Institution of education, and education highlights)
Certifications, licenses and skills (e.g. MS office skills)
Clubs & Societies or other extracurricular activities and responsibilities
References upon Request
(The first three sections should make the bulk of your resume)
- While the above is a standard template, it is not a necessary one. Whatever template you use remember to keep it neatly formatted and clearly structured. For example, keep the font type and size of headings and paragraphs consistent throughout the whole document.
- Make sure your spelling and grammar is correct. Get a friend to proof read it or seek help if you are unsure about the correct terms to use. You never want a prospective employer to read a spelling mistake in your resume; it could mean the difference between you getting an interview and it going in the bin.
- Most of the time it is not necessary to include your references in your resume. An employer will only contact your references once you get to the interview stage. Therefore it is usually appropriate to simply have “references upon request” at the end of your resume.
- Keep your resume up to date; you never know who might want a copy at short notice.
- Having a cover photo of yourself may not be a great idea, depending on the employer. It is illegal for them to make a decision based on appearance so it should not benefit you to include a photo anyway. This is why many large organizations request you don’t include one (also because a photo is slower to download). Unless you know they want a photo, it is probably best not to include one.
Keep these points in mind as you write your resume, and use other resources (online and text) for more information and examples of appropriate resumes.
Written by Timothy Ryan
Peer Writing Tutor
Bachelor of Commerce (third year, Economics)
For more information on the Teaching and Learning Unit at the Faculty of Business and Economics visit www.tlu.fbe.unimelb.edu.au