How to write a strong résumé: 5 tips to get the response you want
Your résumé is your first chance to show an employer why they should hire you – so you’ll have to make a good first impression!
Here are our top five tips on how you can improve your chances of being asked to an interview.
1. The basics
Make sure you include all the essential information about yourself that an employer needs to know, like your full name, contact details, and a short summary of your skills and experience. That way, the person reading your résumé can quickly see all of your details at a glance.
Once you’ve got your details and summary down, explain your relevant experience in a few short bullet points – and make sure you put the most impressive or important parts first!
There’s no need to make the format too complicated, and there’s nothing wrong with simple black and white – but if you want to add some colour, only use one or two. The key is to be clear and consistent.
It’s also useful to save your Resume as a PDF file: that way, it will look the same on any computer, and none of your formatting will be lost.
Recruiters and people working in HR often don’t have a lot of time, so make sure that you don’t go over two pages.
3. Tailor your résumé
Read over the job description and see what the requirements are, then edit your résumé to prioritise your abilities appropriately. Don’t be put off if you don’t fit all of the criteria though: you can fill in the blanks with transferable skills and examples from other activities.
Your educational and professional history isn't the full story: if you’ve been involved in extra-curricular activities, you can be sure that you’ve picked up a few things.
Think carefully about what you do in your spare time – you might find that you’ve developed relevant skills like communication or leadership without realising it.
4. Focus on impact
When describing your achievements and experience, use words that put the emphasis on what you achieved for your employer.
For example, instead of “Sold tickets for an event”, say “Achieved a target of selling 100 tickets with a tight deadline”.
In the first example, the recruiter only knows that you can sell; but in the second example, they know that you can sell, achieve targets, and manage your time.
5. Final checks
Before you send it, make sure you check your résumé at least twice for spelling and grammatical errors. Typos and other mistakes can be an immediate red flag! You may also want to check that your references are accurate.
Everything you do in your life can contribute to your résumé. Whenever you achieve a goal or do something new, think about how it can be relevant to your career ambitions and add it to your experience and skills.