Resume Tips

Improve the chances of securing an ideal job role by following these essential tips for creating a winning resume.


Resume Tips

As a human resource professional, you may be required to assist employees in writing resumes. Or you may be updating your own resume as a precursor to changing careers.

Either way, a resume is part of the person's marketing material. And as they are selling themselves, they need to ensure that it reflects the image they want to project in the marketplace. So, if they are applying for senior management roles, they are likely to want a resume that is sharp, has an attractive format and is crisp and focused. If they are applying for work in the advertising industry, they might consider a resume that has more pizzazz, that is, flair, color and style.

The following resume writing tips are a guide in creating an impressive resume and increasing the likelihood of being short-listed for an interview.

  • Your front page is the make or break page – make sure it captures the key information.
  • Be truthful, confident and present yourself accurately.
  • Focus on results.
  • Customize your resume FOR EACH JOB that you apply for.
  • Be concise. Avoid long paragraphs and overly complicated language.
  • Ideal size for a resume is three to four pages.
  • Concentrate on relevant experience that usually was gained within the last 10 to12 years of work.
  • Use the same language as that contained in the job advertisement.
  • Avoid jargon and cliché statements.
  • Avoid pretty pictures and photographs.
  • Have someone else proof-read your resume.

Resume Format

In resume writing, two common resume formats are used. Consider which resume format is most appropriate for the person's employment context. The two most usual resume formats are:

Reverse Chronological

Where you start with your most recent job role first and work backwards. Emphasizes your career history – job titles, organizations you worked for and major responsibilities within each role. Detail is usually included for job roles over the past 10 to 12 years. Prior to that time it is possible to simply list the roles in a summary format.

Best to use if your next job role is on the same or similar career path as where you are right now.

This is the most commonly used resume format and most acceptable with recruitment agencies – many of their databases mirror this structure.


Where you group and list the achievements you have gained at work in functional categories. For example, for a manager they could be leadership, budgeting, project management, strategic planning and resource management.

Emphasizes your areas of capability, work you have done plus skills developed in various functions of business.

Will usually include a condensed summary of job roles.

This style of resume is best used if you are considering a career path change as it focuses the reader on the skill-sets that you have to offer rather than the roles you have done. It therefore minimizes your likelihood of being pigeon-holed.

Most effective strategy with functional resume is to target the decision-maker directly and rely on networking and referrals to enable first meeting.

Could be useful if you are wishing to draw attention away from multiple short-time frame job roles, 'job-hopping' or significant gaps of time out of the workplace for travel, study, childcare or unemployment.

Use the resume tips in this section to maximize the person's chances of gaining an interview and securing their ideal job role.

Using a range of career research sources in each of the steps above will enhance the candidate's position in the job market, improving their chances of securing their ideal job role.

Expert View Author: Pamela Frost

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