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Cheat Sheet

Australian Resumes For Dummies

Writing a resume can be daunting, especially if you haven’t written one in a while. In this new era of job searching and recruitment, you want your resume to stand out from the crowd. You need to know how to create a well-written, tailored resume that presents your work history in a way that appeals to employers so you can get that interview.

Mastering the Art of Resume Presentation

A stylish and legible resume will impress recruiters and make you stand out from the crowd. Be consistent with your formatting, writing style and spacing to give your resume a smart, professional look. Here are a few tips to help you create an attractive, easy-to-read document:

  • Use one or two common fonts like Times New Roman, Arial or Garamond.

  • Stick to 10–12 point font size for main text, slightly larger font for headings.

  • Keep your resume uncluttered — use plenty of white space.

  • Use bullet points to list responsibilities and achievements.

  • Choose a simple layout that’s easy to read.

  • Be consistent — don’t mix fonts, headings sizes and so on.

Seven Deadly Resume-Writing Sins

Honesty is the best policy when it comes to writing your resume. If you try to deceive employers and recruiters by fabricating or exaggerating your skills and experience chances are you’ll be caught out. Keep it real — avoid making these mistakes when you’re writing your resume:

  • Lying about your work experience

  • Using phony referees

  • Fudging employment dates

  • Faking or overstating your qualifications

  • Beefing up your job title and responsibilities

  • Exaggerating your achievements

  • Inflating your salary

Pick the Right Words for Your Resume

Write your resume using strong, powerful words that engage employers and recruiters and make them want to keep reading about you. Keep the language clear and professional, and use keywords that highlight your achievements in your industry.

Here are some tips on getting the language in your resume right:

  • Use strong action verbs to describe your responsibilities and achievements; for example:

    • Capable

    • Competent

    • Delivered

    • Dynamic

    • Exceeded

    • Excelled

    • Experienced

    • Improved

    • Increased

    • Initiated

    • Positive

    • Qualified

    • Self-motivated

    • Significant

    • Strengths

  • Write in an active not a passive voice.

  • Spell out uncommon acronyms and abbreviations.

  • Leave out slang words and casual talk.

  • Avoid old-fashioned terms — keep up with the times.

Top Technology Tips for Resume Writing

Modern job seekers need to know how to create an electronic resume that can be sent by email and easily opened by employers and recruiters:

  • Fill your resume with industry-specific keywords, so you don’t get overlooked in company databases

  • Stick to file size limits

  • Send your resume in the requested file format (for example, .doc, .pdf, .rtf, .txt, html)

  • Use simple, plain fonts

  • Avoid using graphics — unless you’re applying for a creative role — clip art or special characters

  • Scan your files regularly for viruses

  • Limit resume posting to a few job sites

  • Keep track of username and passwords when registering on employment sites

  • For advertised vacancies, put the job title and reference number in the subject line of the email

Avoiding Common Resume Blunders

If you want to write the perfect resume for modern recruiters you need to know what irritates them as they sift through piles of job applications. Here’s a list of resume mistakes that really irk recruiters:

  • Omitting contact details: This sounds like a no-brainer but always include your name, address, telephone numbers, email address and URL (if applicable) in your resume. List your contact details at the top of the page, so they stand out.

  • Putting in unnecessary personal details: Leave out information such as date of birth, marital status, gender and religion in your resume. This information is irrelevant and not job-related.

  • Telling all: Don’t divulge personal information in your resume. Nobody cares what your partner does, how many children you have, what schools they attend, the number of pets you own.

  • Using silly email addresses: Stick to using conservative email addresses that sound professional.

  • Sending your resume off to the wrong person: This creates a bad impression and recruiters won’t take you or your resume seriously.

  • Including photographs: You may have been blessed with good looks but that won’t get you a job.

  • Including salary information: Remuneration matters are best brought up in the interview.

  • Making typos and grammatical errors: Recruiters have zero tolerance for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Don’t rely solely on the spellchecker to catch errors.

  • Making your resume too long: Recruiters don’t want to read a novel. Limit your resume to around four pages (unless you’re an executive).

  • Attaching wads of paper: Only attach certificates and reference letters when requested.

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