Posted on 22/06/2020 by Ruth Haren
Resumes can be confusing. There is so much conflicting information out there.
Keep it to a 1 page summary; make sure it’s a 7 page detailed novel. Make it fancy and colourful; keep it plain and simple. Only include your last 3 jobs; include every job you have ever had. Put a fun photo of yourself; do not include a photo.
How on earth are you supposed to navigate all this information to put together a document that creates a great first impression and will get you an interview?
Let me tell you, we have seen our fair share of resumes here at Entrée Recruitment. So we thought we would put it to you to ask us what we like to see in a resume. We put a call out on social media for you to ask us your resume questions. Senior Consultant Ruth Haren answers them below.
What should be included on my resume?
As recruiters, we read hundreds of resumes a week. Sometimes we go cross eyed! So how do you get our attention? Your resume is the first impression that you give a Recruiter or Hiring Manager. A resume should be simple and concise. It should include your education/qualifications, employment experience and your key achievements. We look for resumes that are well formatted and easy to read.
How many pages should I use?
It will depend on the level of role you are applying for and your experience. As a general guide, aim for 2-3 pages. Too short and we can’t get to know you- too long and we know too much about you!
How much detail is too much detail?
Under each role, list your responsibilities. Prioritise them so that the list reflects your suitability for the role you are applying for. Stick to 5-10 dot points per role. Also ensure you include your achievements such as projects you have worked on, internal awards and instances you have exceeded KPIs.
Should I use colour?
Again we hear you ask, how can I make my resume stand out? You don’t need to send your Big Brother audition video to get our attention, although putting your personal spin on it is fine. If you are going to use colour, keep it all one colour or use a colour to highlight certain parts. Simple black and white is generally best though. Also avoid using fancy resume templates as these are often not compatible with databases that recruitment agencies or companies use and will result in your resume formatting being all over the place!
Should I include a photograph?
There are differing opinions on this. My advice is that if you do include one, ensure it is a professional headshot. A recent one please, no Studio 2000 glamour shoots from the late 90’s with your partner! Also, no selfies or photos of you on holidays, with your pets or giant stuffed animals (yes, that’s one that we actually received) !
Should I include my referees on my resume?
If the advertisement asks you to include details of referees, then you should. However if there is no requirement to specify details, include the statement ‘Referees available on request.’ You will then have the opportunity to speak to your referees and let them know the details of the role you are applying for and to expect a call.
How do I handle employment gaps?
This is one of the most asked questions about resumes. People find it tricky to work out how to explain the break they have in their employment history. And my advice is- be honest! If you had time of for travel or parental leave, state that in your resume. If you had a career break, put that in. It is always best to be open about gaps rather than trying to gloss over them. Keep it simple though. We don’t need to know what you did on your holiday or all the things you do as a parent or ‘Chief Household Manager’.
What goes first — Education or Experience?
Does the role require a certain qualification? If so, then it is best to include Education/Qualifications first. Always list the most relevant section first.
How should my jobs be listed under the Experience section?
The age old question! Should I include every job I have ever had since I worked at the supermarket when I was 15? As a guide, include approximately 10 years of experience, but the fewer roles you have had in your career, the further you can go back and vice versa. You should list your current role first and then work backwards. Ensure you include the dates of employment (months and years), your job title, company name and the title of the person you reported to.
What is your top tip for resumes?
If I could give just one tip for resumes, it would be to proof and spellcheck before you send. Your resume is your first impression so make sure that it is a good one with no typos! It also goes a little deeper than the red squiggly line under a misspelt word, the formatting needs to be spot on. Especially important if you are applying for an administration based role where your MS Word skills and attention to detail are a deal breaker.
Your resume is part of your job seeking toolkit which also includes your Seek profile and LinkedIn profile. Ensure that you include a link your LinkedIn profile on your resume.
Next month we will talk more about what your LinkedIn and Seek profiles should look like.
Click here to download our resume template.