7 Golden Rules for Writing a Stand-Out Resume

Posted on 4/2/2020

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A well-crafted resume is an essential for all job seekers. Avoiding some common pitfalls and ensuring that you incorporate the seven golden rules to resume writing will ensure that you put your best foot forward. Make sure you create a lasting first impression.
1.       Fact, not opinion

Resumes should be 100% factual, backed up with evidence. Statements such as “I have excellent interpersonal skills” and “I’m an exceptional leader” are a common sight on resumes, but impossible to prove. If you can provide examples that prove you are an exceptional leader then please do.


2.       Know your audience

Your resume is usually going to be reviewed by your potential future boss (the hiring manager) and also someone in HR or a recruiter. You will need to speak to both groups in the same resume. This means you’ll need to spend an extra few minutes adapting your resume for each job application. Steer away from broad generalisations that make your resume generic and demonstrate how your achievements and past responsibilities are relevant to the new role. Similarly, avoid overly technical and confusing acronyms or jargon. Your overall aim is to avoid getting bogged down in too much detail, instead, focusing on selling your overall ability as a candidate. Lastly, don’t assume they know what only an “industry insider” would know.


3.       Include a career statement

A brief career statement should be listed immediately following your name and contact details. It should be the first thing the hiring manager sees so make it count with 3-4 sentences of substantiated facts that sell you as the best candidate for the job. This is essentially a strategic summary of your entire career and could also match your LinkedIn summary. If you’re still unsure, check out the LinkedIn profiles of industry leaders for inspiration.


4.       Tell YOUR story

Telling YOUR story makes your resume flow better and will greatly improve your chances of connecting with the reviewer on a more personal level as it enables them to visualise how you might fit into the new job. You are unique so any additional information that highlights this will help you stand out of the crowd.


5.       Describe your core responsibilities

The most common mistake we come across are candidates who regurgitate too much information from their previous position descriptions. Under each role, your responsibilities should be summarised into dot points. Group similar tasks and responsibilities together. Where possible use statistics and measurable facts to describe what you did. Focus on the strategic aspects of your previous roles and sort them in order of most strategic, complex and time consuming to least.


6.       Show off your achievements

Did you save your past employer tens of thousands of dollars or increased revenue by over 40%? If so, make sure to include these achievements. Include statistics and measurable facts. You need to give the reviewers as many compelling reasons as possible to call you in for an interview and your achievements play a key role.


7.       Be strategic

Most job application processes are highly competitive so make sure you are smart with the information that you focus on. Highlight your most relevant experiences and achievements and be mindful that a really long resume is difficult for the reviewers to digest. Be smart with your use of space; a good tip to follow is to insert your contact details such as email, address and phone numbers in the header to free up space, list references as ‘available on request’ because this can be covered further in the recruitment process. Headshots are not required in a professional resume unless you are going for a role as a model.

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