Create a successful resume
The aim of this leaflet is to give you a brief guide to completing a resume that effectively demonstrates your skills and abilities to a prospective employer. A resume is a self-marketing tool – it summarises and highlights the most positive and relevant characteristics about you and your experiences. Your resume should help the employer to distinguish between you and other applicants; therefore it must be an honest and individual document that tells your story and not anybody else‘s. Remember that an employer may only spend two or three minutes scanning your resume, so make it lean, clear, concise and targeted to the job or occupational field for which you are applying. This document will take you through the following areas: The basic areas a resume covers Presenting information in terms of benefits to the employer by matching your skills, experience and accomplishments to the employer‘s requirements Assessing your skills and using examples to improve your resume content.
1. Resume basics
Constructing your resume
You may find Resume Builder <www.deakin.edu.au/resume> an especially useful online tool when starting a resume from scratch. After you have filled in your information, you can select from a variety of resume styles and generate your resume in an already formatted word document. The following are suggested headings under which you can include your information and some basic examples of what to include: Personal Details Career Objective or Personal Statement Education or Academic Qualifications Relevant Skills and Abilities Employment and Work Experience Professional Development Special Skills and Achievements Interests Referees
name, address, email, telephone, mobile What do you want to do? What level? Who with? Where? dates attended, name of institution/course, subjects/majors teamwork, problem solving, communication, research skills dates, name of employer, job title, roles/responsibilities, skills dates, name of qualification and institution, brief description other relevant examples to enhance your resume give examples that indicate that you are a ‘well rounded person’ name, job title, contact details of 2 or 3 referees
Edit and proof read
Your resume should be concise and well organized. Keep it to 2 or 3 pages. Blocks of text that are more than 4 lines belong on a cover letter, not your resume. Edit for meaning, clarity, grammar, and spelling.
Get it critiqued
Bring a copy of your resume along to one of the Careers & Employment resume checking sessions – check for details on when they are held on your campus.
2. Improving your resume content
Research employer requirements
Employers say that applications that impress them the most demonstrate your knowledge of their business. Employers prefer cover letters and resumes that address their requirements versus general documents, so to increase your interview chances expect to tailor your resume for each position. To do this effectively you‘ll need to have a good understanding of the position you are seeking as well as having an appreciation for the key goals, products and customers of the company and challenges of the industry. Its also is beneficial to understand the culture of the organization as it helps determine your fit for the work environment. During your research keep these questions in mind: What does the employer really want and need? (You may have to read between the lines.) What abilities do I have that make me a suitable candidate? How can I demonstrate that? How can I be of benefit to the organisation? How can I communicate my suitability?
Link your experiences with employer requirements
Through your research on the organisation, you‘ll be able to identify 4 to 6 key skills, experiences or knowledge areas important to the employer. Your resume and cover letter should address these areas. Think about the employer‘s point of view, and present information about yourself in a way that answers their question ‗What can this candidate offer my organisation?‘ By linking examples that demonstrate your experience and/or skills, you‘ll create an application that will get their attention. The table below is an example of an organised approach to documenting skills & experience against each one of the employer‘s requirements.
Skills and experiences the employer wants Planning & Organisational skills Professional oral and written communication skills Initiative & leadership skills Sally’s experiences Organised project on customer needs in banking sector; balanced job, study & social life Presentation on deregulation for business course; financial reports for University Independent research on W.A. financial institutions; introduced new accounting system for tennis team
Assess your skills, knowledge and experience
It is a good idea to make documenting your skills an ongoing project. It‘s much easier to remember what you have done in the last few months than trying to recall details of projects you did a year or more ago! Even when you are not actively job seeking, keep adding to your notes on your skills and achievements. The following table identifies a range of graduate skills and attributes regarded highly by employers. Consider which of these skills and attributes are most relevant for the position to which you are applying. Once you have identified your skills, technical knowledge and personal qualities, with examples to demonstrate your experience, then you can determine which of them match the employer‘s requirements and/or fit the culture of the company. When you understand why you are a good fit, it will be much easier to communicate that to employers. Understanding your own skills, knowledge and behaviours will make your interviews easier too!
Example Written and verbal communication: Are you able to communicate your ideas clearly? Have you had to explain specialist information? Can you adapt your approach for different audiences? What type of communication? ( e.g. presentation, reports, brainstorming, formal discussion) Providing a service for the general public or internal clients: Do you have an aptitude for sales? Do you understand the needs of internal and external customers? Can you persuade or negotiate effectively? Can you empathise with customers? Working effectively with others: How do you handle conflict? Can you assume different roles? Do you know how to define a role as part of the team? Managing time, resources and priorities: Have you set time lines, co-ordinated tasks for yourself and with others? Can you adapt plans to cope with unexpected changes? Have you collected, analysed and organised information? Have you planned or organised events? Your ability to plan, assume responsibility, delegate tasks, take action and achieve set targets, demonstrate foresight and set direction: Can you organise people‘s activities and time? Can you resolve conflict? Can you make maximum use of people and resources to achieve objectives? Have you coached staff or provided constructive feedback? Working to deadlines, balancing competing priorities: Can you organise your work and prioritise tasks? Can you produce work to deadlines? Effectively balance study and part time work? Identify and critique problems, create strategies and develop creative, innovative or practical solutions: Have you identified problems and found a solution? Have you used budgeting or financial management to solve problems? Do you test assumptions taking the context of data and circumstances into account? Have you resolved customer concerns in relation to complex projects or issues? Your ability to evaluate and monitor your own performance: Have you identified your weaknesses and addressed them? Are you able to articulate your ideas and visions? Do you take responsibility for your development? Technical knowledge of tools or your profession: Are you skilled in using specialist tools? Do you have knowledge and experience of IT systems, programs and languages? Have you used IT as a management tool or to organise data? Have you applied OH&S knowledge? Adapting to new situations, developing a strategic, creative, long term vision: Have you identified opportunities not obvious to others? Can you translate ideas into action? Can you generate a range of options or initiate innovative solutions? Building and maintaining effective professional relationships: Are you able to relate to other people, can you mix well with a broad range of individuals and groups?
Planning & Organising
Analytical/ Problem Solving
Initiative & Enterprise
3. Use examples to stand out from the crowd
When describing your achievements under the suggested headings you should try avoiding generalised statements. Support the skills that you cite in your resume by examples where possible, and try to use action words to show that the activities you have undertaken or achieved demonstrate the skills and abilities you have acquired. Where possible, quantify the example with figures eg. ―Produced 18 monthly newsletters with readership of over 200‖ has more impact than ―Produced monthly newsletter‖.
Planned and designed original artwork for posters and other promotional materials, coordinated printing
and distribution, and successfully completed the project within the desired time scale.
Here are some examples of action words you may wish to use:
Management Verbs Administered Coordinated Increased Analysed Delegated Organised Assigned Developed Planned Attained Directed Produced Chaired Evaluated Reviewed Consolidated Effected Strengthened Contracted Improved Supervised
Communication Verbs Addressed Edited Persuaded Research Verbs Categorised Interpreted Technical Verbs Assembled Fabricated Teaching Verbs Adapted Facilitated Creative Verbs Acted Integrated Helping Verbs Advocated Led Clerical Verbs Approved Executed Retrieved Authorised Issued Screened Catalogued Monitored Specified Classified Optimised Streamlined Collected Prepared Tabulated Compiled Processed Utilised Dispatched Recorded Validated Assessed Motivated Assisted Referred Counselled Rehabilitated Diagnosed Represented Educated Supported Guided Volunteered Created Invented Customised Originated Dramatised Performed Established Outlined Illustrated Revitalised Initiated Shaped Advised Informed Clarified Instructed Coached Mentored Enabled Stimulated Encouraged Trained Explained Tutored Constructed Maintained Calculated Operated Computed Overhauled Designed Repaired Devised Solved Engineered Upgraded Collated Incorporated Documented Investigated Examined Summarised Extracted Surveyed Identified Systematised Inspected Verified Arbitrated Formulated Presented Arranged Influenced Promoted Appeased Interviewed Publicised Collaborated Lectured Recruited Convinced Mediated Translated Drafted Notified Wrote
Describe ‘unrelated’ work experience through examples
If any of your previous positions worked are directly not relevant to the position you are applying for then simply listing key duties or responsibilities is an ineffective in attracting the employer‘s attention. For example:
02/2003- 07/2005 Myer Retail Sales Assistant
Handled cash Served customers Set up displays
Employers generally know what a sales assistant does, so writing a standard list of duties that every other job applicant might have performed is not telling them anything! Catch their attention by showing what it is about your skills that made you a good employee. Focus on the skills you used that are relevant to the position you to which are now applying. Think about feedback you may have received on work achievements. Include any employer awards you have received and demonstrate accomplishments within the organisation that were directly attributable to your work. A more effective results focused description of your accomplishments might look like this:
02/2003- 07/2005 Myer Retail Sales Assistant
Managed customer relations by understanding their requirements, making recommendations and providing solutions to problems. Improved sales within the department by 15% and awarded ‘Employee of the Month’ April, May and August 2005.
With this example the employer can see your communications, sales and problem solving abilities. They can see you achieved results with your skills in the past so there is a good chance that you would do the same for them!
4. Tailor your career objective to each position
Most employers expect to see a career objective on a resume, and when well written it can influence the way an employer considers your resume. It provides the reader with a summary of your suitability, but it needs to be meaningful and link your goals to the key attributes sought by the employer. Consider it a marketing slogan that pinpoints why you are a perfect fit for the advertised position. It may be easier to write after you have matched your skills to the position, tailored your resume and written your cover letter An effective career objective highlights what makes you ‗right‘ for the role.
To attain a graduate position with an innovative marketing firm that provides the opportunity to use both the knowledge gained through my degree and my customer service skills.
Make it concise! 2 to 3 lines only. More detailed information belongs in your cover letter. Identify the position you are applying for, key skills or experience you have to offer, and what you hope to gain or achieve in the position
In some technical fields a professional profile or an experience summary may be more commonly accepted than a career objective. Conciseness and relevance are always essential.
Example of a customised resume
RESUME FOR SALLY SAMPLE
1/23 Proposal Rd, CARLTON, VIC 3068 Ph: 03 1111 2222 Mobile: 0444 111 222 Email: email@example.com CAREER OBJECTIVE To work as a finance specialist with an organisation offering consultancy services and corporate finance where I can maximise the use of my communication and customer service skills to build relationships with both existing and prospective clients. EDUCATION 02/2007 - current Bachelor of Commerce Majors in Commercial Law and Finance Deakin University 02/2005 - 11/2006 Achieved distinction average. Top 15% of course.
Victorian Certificate of Education Seaford Secondary College ENTER Score 94.3
COURSE RELATED EXPERIENCE 05/2007 - 08/2007 Auditor Internship Big 4 Accounting Firm
Received Employee of the Month award—first intern ever to win the award. Participated in the annual audit of XYZ Holdings, including development of the final certification report. Participated in quarterly audit of ABC Corporation, including identification and correction of over twenty major accounting errors. Developed several Excel spreadsheet macros currently in use for reducing entry time and automatically cross-referencing for errors.
EMPLOYMENT 09/2007 - current Administration Assistant Achievements: Increase in responsibilities to working unsupervised and overseeing new staff. Management Ltd., Melbourne
Check customer accounts and make adjustments. Prepare and administer client invoices. Coordinate the distribution of customer mail outs. Deal effectively with customer enquiries.
02/2005 - 11/2006
Sales Pty., Williamstown Achievements: KEY SKILLS Planning and Organisation Managed and coordinated all stages of a university project to determine customer needs within the banking sector. Effectively balanced part time employment, social activities, and the demands of academic study for the past three years while maintaining high academic scores. Received award for best sales figures at a recent trade show, sold $15,000 worth of products in 2 days. Received 5 customer service awards over past 3 years. Assisted with sales and trade promotions. Liaised with customers and answered information enquiries. Set up trade fair exhibitions and store displays. Collaborated with team to design marketing materials.
Communication Prepared and delivered presentations to peer group on issues of financial deregulation and financial analysis techniques. Designed a Power point presentation and utilised handouts to encourage group participation. Wrote a series of financial reports as part of academic study, securing high grades for accuracy and content.
Initiative and Leadership Conducted independent research into financial reporting by financial institutions in Western Australia, spanning over 6 months. The Western University Library now holds the final report. Introduced new accounting systems to Burwood Tennis Team which increased accuracy of records and the efficiency of fund disbursement.
PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT 03/2006 Bookkeeping - Advanced Box Hill TAFE Training included: general ledgers to trial balance, preparation and analysis of profit and loss and balance sheets for both trading and service businesses and relevant GST issues. 05/2005 Introduction to MYOB Box Hill TAFE Training included: creating new company files; create chart of accounts; setting up inventory; invoicing techniques; MYOB and GST; business activity statements.
VOLUNTARY EXPERIENCE 02/2006 - 02/2007 Accounts Assistant Oxfam Australia, Melbourne, Victoria
Assisted accounting team with Business and Activity Statements. Prepared reports for meetings.
EXTRA-CURRICULAR ACTIVITIES 02/2005 - Current Tennis Team Treasurer Burwood Tennis Club
Coordinated planning of budget. Maintained records of income and expenses and produced quarterly financial reports. DUSA4U (Deakin University Student Association)
02/2008 - 11/2008
Guided and advised new Deakin students from a variety of cultural backgrounds in an official capacity. Organised and promoted DUSA4U membership and related activities. Supported new students in their transition to university in Australia.
PROFESSIONAL MEMBERSHIPS 02/2008 - current Institute of Chartered Accountants in Australia Student Membership
ACHIEVEMENTS 2007 Kokoda Trek – Walk for Cancer Research 2006 Trek and Fundraising Participant
Raised $900 through networking and coordinating various fundraising activities to fund own participation in Kokoda Trek. Collaborated with trek group to publicise fundraising effort, and successfully meet team goal of raising $30,000 toward cancer research. Participant
Mothers Day Classic Fun Run
Promoted sponsorship of participation in 8km fun run and raised $560 for breast cancer research.
REFEREES Professional Ms Jillian Don Internship Supervisor Big4 Accounting Firm TEL: 03 1234 5678 FAX: 03 1111 2223 Email: jillsemail@Big4.com Academic Professor Judy Abadia Accounting Lecturer Deakin University TEL: 03 1234 5678 FAX: 03 1111 2223 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Checklist for your resume
Is your name at the top of the page and easy to see? Are your current address and telephone numbers included? Does your career objective appear immediately below your personal details? Is your highest educational level shown first in the education section?
Are your key strengths relevant to the position clearly described early in your resume? Have you highlighted specific achievements and experiences?
Does your career objective clearly show what sort of work you want?
Have you succeeded in telling the employer what you will give as well as what you want? Is it short and to the point?
Do you demonstrate results you have achieved, problems you have dealt with and important learning experiences you have had? Have you mentioned community- based activities that show your planning, teamwork, organising and communicating abilities? Have you used short statements and paragraphs? Is your punctuation and spelling correct? Do most of your statements begin with positive action words? Have you really sold yourself well?
Is your resume neatly and accurately typed? Is it free from errors and marks? Is it clearly set out and concise? Is it free from borders, pictures underlines? Do your key accomplishments stand out through the use of bold or underlines? Have you used good quality paper? Have you avoided double sided printing?
Have you taken copies for reference? Have you provided copies to your referees?