Resume Writing

Resume Writing Tips

The resume is often the first contact a prospective employer or recruitment consultant has with any candidate. This is your opportunity to quickly gain their interest, display your experience, qualifications and skills whilst retaining their attention. Below are a number of tips on building a resume that will gain and retain interest and provide all the relevant details whilst remaining brief. (If you are responding directly to a specific job advertisement, the importance of a covering letter highlighting particular aspects of your resume is often a valuable addition to your application.)

What is a CV?

A CV is a short list of facts about an individual including their work history, skills, qualificationsand experience. A good CV is essential when looking for work and is worth spending time on getting it right. Your CV should be positive, emphasizing achievements, strengths, successes and make a good impression There is no set format or perfect template on how to present a CV this is up to you. Overall a CV should be neat and short, usually no more than two to three sides of A4. Try to keep paragraphs to no more than six lines and limit bullet points to a similar number within areas. A CV should be logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped. Be concise, be honest and be accurate.

What to include in your CV

There is no set format on how to present a CV is up to you. There is no perfect template, overall a CV should be neat and short, usually no more than two sides of A4. A CV should be carefully and clearly laid out, logically ordered, easy to read and not cramped. Be concise, be honest and be accurate. A CV would normally include:

Basic Personal Details
Name, address, phone number, e-mail address

Personal profile This is a short statement at the beginning of a CV, which sells you, your skills, experience and personal qualities. This is generally a summary of you using positive words such as 'competent', 'adaptable', and 'conscientious'.

Employment History
Starting with your most recent job first. Emphasize the skills and experience you have gained across each job (for example, skills in dealing with customers or communication skills. Include dates and any temporary or voluntary jobs if appropriate. Use action words such as developed, planned and organized and try to relate the skills you have gained to the job you are applying for.

Achievements
Things that you did well in your past jobs which could be relevant to the job you're applying for.

Qualifications and training
As well as formal qualifications include any qualifications and training from previous jobs (for example, training in health and safety or a certificate in food hygiene). Again start with the most recent first, mention grades if applicable. If you wish to highlight languages skills, ensure you include your level such as fluent, intermediate. For computing skills make sure you mention the packages you have used such as Microsoft word. If you have nothing to put in this section education section then focus on writing the other sections of your CV, highlighting the skills and experience you have gained as part of employment or other life experiences.

Interests
These can useful where your hobbies and leisure activities highlight responsibilities and skills that are relevant to the job for which you're applying. For example if you belong to a club or a society which you organise activities for, or you use leadership skills or teamwork. This section should be short and to the point. As you experience grows, your employment record will take precedence and interests will typically diminish greatly in length and importance. Bullets can be used to separate interests into different types: sporting, creative etc.

Other information
Do not attempt to hide gaps, if there are gaps in your CV it can be helpful to include these and the reasons. If you had a career break because you were caring for children or elderly relatives, make this a positive thing and think about the skills you used doing this. If the job you're applying for is different from what you've done in the past, explain why you're interested in the new type of work.

Supporting Statement

A 'supporting statement' is very similar to a cover letter, and gives you the opportunity to expand on your skills, experience and qualifications and really 'sell yourself' as the best person for the role. A supporting statement should never simply repeat information from your CV and needs to be written specifically for a job application.

In your supporting statement you need to explain why you want this specific role and to work us. You should highlight your skills, experience and abilities against the job criteria as outlined in the person specification. Take each of the criteria in turn and write a short paragraph highlighting your experience in this area. You should use examples, simply saying that you have the required skills will not be suficient.

Remember, keep the information relevant. The key is to show the recruiter, as concisely as possible, that you are suitable for the job and that you should be on the interview shortlist.