09 | Jul | 2015

3 top tips on how to write an interesting résume

Author: Trevor-Roberts

A résumé doesn’t get you a job, it just gets you an interview. These are our 3 top tips on how to write an interesting résume that hiring managers will actually want to read!

I have the privilege of facilitating weekly Career Transition Workshops on a variety of Career Management topics here at Trevor-Roberts. This part of my role is one of my favourites because I’m constantly meeting new people, making new connections and hopefully inspiring a light-bulb moment or two.

Recently I was delivering the ‘Develop Your Marketing Tools’ workshop where we flesh-out the makeup of an effective résumé. We dissect samples, we discuss purpose, we formulate achievement statements and we lay the foundations for a great marketing document. When I suggested a résumé should be no more than three pages long, one workshop participant (respectfully) challenged me. He claimed his depth and breadth of experience meant it would be impossible to reduce his 10 pages to three.

Now while I fully appreciate he probably did have a depth and breadth of experience that could be written over 10 pages, my next point was brutal – no one’s going to read it. No one is going to read 10 pages of experience, skills, qualifications, and a blow-by-blow description of every task and responsibility you’ve ever had since you left high school. It’s just not going to happen!

This is brutal feedback to many because often, we think we need to showcase ALL of our experiences and achievements in one document. Much of our identity is attached to our profession/occupation and we think the more detail we put in a résumé, the better we will look to a potential employer. This is simply not the case.

Tips on how to write an interesting resume

  1. A résumé doesn’t get you a job, it gets you an interview. By definition, a résumé is a summary while ‘curriculum vitae’ is Latin for ‘course of life’. When someone says ‘send me your CV’ they don’t actually mean send me your life story, they likely mean send me a summary. In the current candidate-rich market, you have a small window of opportunity to stand out and therefore, your résumés need to be sharp.
  2. As a general rule, we suggest you limit your career history to the last 10 years or last three roles. Not only do you need to keep it short and sharp but you also need to make sure to highlight your key achievements. Articulating career achievements can be challenging but this is a critical component of your marketing campaign. A potential employer wants to know how you’re going to add value to their organisation.
  3. There is no ‘one size fits all’ for résumés. There are a variety of formats and styles, and plethora of articles and opinion pieces that you can help decided your best fit. Most importantly, each résumé must be tailored to the specific role you’re applying for. It must clearly demonstrate how your skills and experience match that of the advertised role.

To conclude each workshop, I ask everyone for their ‘takeaway’ and their ‘action’ as a result of what they’ve learnt. As I went around the room, my sheepish 10 page participant spoke up. “It’s a brochure, not a book” he declared. And there it was… that golden light-bulb moment!

Article by Amanda Nielsen

Tags: Career Transition

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