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How to write a winning resume, from someone who knows!


Stand out, get noticed 

Your resume is your most important tool when applying for a job. It doesn’t matter how qualified you are, or how much experience you have, if your resume is poorly presented or badly written, you’re going to have trouble getting the job you want, or even an interview. Let’s explore the following aspects for the making of a great resume

  1. The Purpose
  2. Length and number of pages
  3. Order of Information on Your Resume
  4. Adapting content for Each Application
  5. What Your Resume Should Include
  6. Non-inclusions
  7. Reviewing Your Resume
  8. Resume Templates

Firstly, let’s explore the Purpose of your resume,

 1. The Purpose of a Resume

Your resume is a marketing tool. It is a SALES flier,  your sales brochure, its supposed to market you in the best light. It  needs to demonstrate:

  • That you are employable
  • How you meet the job and the organisation’s requirements
  • That you have the right qualifications and education
  • That you have the right experience and skills
  • That you have the right level of professionalism for the job

 2. Pages and length 

Ideally, one or two pages are best, but three pages are OK, if you’ve got a lot of study and work behind you. However,REMEMBER  the research, employers spend an average of 6 seconds reading a resume!

Make sure you don’t pad out your resume. If your resume is only one page, as long as it’s well-presented it might get better results than a two-page resume full of unnecessary information.

3. How Should I Order My Resume?

Generally it’s always good to present the information on your resume in this order, it’s sometimes known as Chronological order

  1. Contact details
  2. About me… statement
  3. List of key skills  and List of technical/software skills
  4. Personal attributes/career overview
  5. Educational qualifications
  6. Employment history/volunteering/work placements (from today… back to the past 15 years)
  7. 2 or three hobbies or interests (optional)
  8. Minimum of 2 Referees

Not everything in this list must appear on your resume every time, and the order can change from application to application. The most important thing is to get the most useful information across first. For example, if your education history is not specifically related to the job, put it toward the end of your resume, behind the information that is related to the job.

4. Do I Need to Change or Adapt My Resume for Each Application?

In one word, YES! You need to tailor your resume to every job application so that it responds to the specific requirements of the job you’re applying for. Only minor edits may be required, but you do need to make sure your opening statement, your key skills and your personal attributes all respond to the needs of the role, based on the job ad (if there was one) and the research you’ve done into the job.

You should also tailor your resume to show how your work experience specifically meets the needs of the job you’re applying for.

5.  Tailoring Your Resume

Tailoring your resume could include:

  • Using your opening “about me” statement to link your experience and education to the organisation and the requirements of the job
  • Listing your most relevant key skills first
  • Including examples of achievements that meet advertised requirements of the job
  • Including specifically relevant key words and phrases throughout your resume

 6. Inclusions

Every resume needs the bare bones essentials. Check out resume templates ,Google this to get an idea of what resumes should look like.

 7. Contact Details

Make sure you include your name, email address and a contact phone number on your resume. You don’t have to include your home address, although there might be some situations when doing so would be a good idea. You can place your contact details in the footer of your resume, but if you do, you must make sure they’re also in the main body of the document.

8. Opening Statement,  Elevator  or “About Me”

It’s an opening statement, that is a brief summary of who you are, where you’ve studied and/or worked, and what you bring to the job. It provides the reader with a snapshot of you and individualizes your resume.

9. Key Skills & Strengths

A resume could include a list of between 10 and 15 skills that link your experience to the job you’re applying for. If the job you’re applying for was advertised, then either the ad or the position description may provide a list of skills and experiences that are essential for doing the job. It may also provide a list of “desirable” skills and experience. When putting together this list, think of things you’ve done or learned to do as part of:

  • Jobs you’ve had
  • Your studies
  • Any work placements you’ve done
  • Any volunteering you’ve done

 10. Technical/Software Skills

This is a short list of the names of software or technology you know how to use. Examples might include:

  • Microsoft Suite or spreadsheet software
  • Programming languages
  • Tools (e.g., cash registers, EFTPOS)

 11. Personal Attributes

When you haven’t got much work experience, a list of personal attributes can be another way to demonstrate that you’re the right person for the job.

12. Educational History

Educational History only needs to show your highest level of education. You don’t need to include your results, unless showing them proves how well you’re suited to the job.

If you can, you should also include a few bullet points listing your academic achievements (e.g., school or class captaincies, awards you’ve won, or groups you’ve been part of).

13. Employment History

When providing your employment history, start with the your most recent job and go backwards from there. Give the position title and the dates you worked there.

If you haven’t had a job before, you can use other things to demonstrate your experience, including:

  • Work experience you’ve done through school
  • Work placements or internships that you’ve done through university or TAFE
  • Volunteer work you’ve done

For each job provide a list of the things that you achieved while in that job, and the significant contributions you made to the organisation. Make sure that these achievements and contributions match the key skills and strengths listed earlier on your resume.

14. Referees

Your resume should list two people who can positively recommend you as an employee. Ideally your references will be people that you have worked with before. Provide their name, their position title, and a way that they can be contacted.


A testimonial is another good way to prove that your skill and experience is what the employer is looking for.

You can include any testimonials you get as part of your educational history or your employment/volunteering/work placement history.Usually it’s enough to include one or two testimonials in your resume. Any more than two is probably too many.


Many recruitment agencies use software that scans applications for matching key words and phrases. Applications that don’t use the right keywords tend to be automatically rejected. Key words and phrases that this software looks for can include the names of:

  • Skills
  • Jobs
  • Activities
  • Qualifications
  • Software
  • Tools

To make sure your resume has the right key words and phrases, check out the job ad and make a list of the words and phrases it uses. If you don’t have a written job ad to refer to, you can use a job search engine to find other ads for similar jobs and see what kind of keywords those ads use. Once you have a list to work from, start adding those words and phrases to your resume. Good places to add keywords include:

  • Your opening statement
  • Your list of key skills
  • Your educational history
  • Your employment history

 17. What NOT to Put On Your Resume

There are a few things not to include on your resume. Note that there may be circumstances when including some of the following information shows that you’re a good fit for the job. If that’s the case, including that information would be a good idea.

 18. Personal Information

You don’t have to provide any personal information on your resume. There’s no benefit to be gained from providing information that could be used to generalize about you as a potential employee. Your resume doesn’t have to include:

  • Your birth date
  • Your gender
  • Your address
  • Any ailments or disabilities
  • Your health status

A possible exception to this might be when providing this information would give your application an advantage (e.g., if the employer is looking for someone young, or a female applicant). In these situations, consider including such information if you think it would strengthen your application.

19.Typos or Factual Errors

Submitting a resume or cover letter with spelling mistakes  and typos will guarantee you don’t get an interview. You should spellcheck your resume before you send it, but you should also get someone else to read it as well and check for mistakes you might have missed. Double-check everything that you include in your resume. If you mention the company’s name, make sure you get it right. If you mention the name of places you’ve worked before, make sure you get that right. Mistakes on resumes are worse than typos.

Lastly,you should also consider having your resume looked at by someone professional.

 20.Images and Graphics

The Jury is out, many feel that you should not include images or photos on your resume. Not only are images disliked by recruiters and HR professionals, they can also create problems with recruitment software.

21. Fancy Formatting

Stick to easy-to-read fonts and formats. This makes it easier for recruiters to review your resume. It also means any recruitment software that reviews your resume can easily read the information.  DON’T HAVE IT ALL IN CAPITAL LETTERS EITHER! The reader/s may think you are shouting at them!  Good fonts to use include:

  • Verdana /Arial/ Century gothic/ Calibri

Don’t use large headers to break up the sections of your resume. Rather, use a 10- or 11-point font for your main content and a 12- or 14-point maximum for headers.

22. Information in Tables

Some resume templates present information in tables to help with layout, but some recruitment software is unable to read tables. Your resume should only be formatted using line breaks and simple formatting.

PDF Versions of Your Resume

Some recruitment software can’t read pdfs. Unless a job ad specifically says to provide your resume as a .pdf, you should always only submit your resume in word format (.doc or .docx).

LAST VITAL STEP -Reviewing Your Resume

Having someone else review your resume is extremely important. Make sure you use someone who will actually tell you if they think something isn’t right. People you could ask include:

  • Co-workers
  • Former employers
  • Teachers
  • Career guidance counselors
  • Your parents or guardians

Ensure you print out to check for layout and consistency…

Still confused? contact Resume writing service!

Ivana Agapiou resume writer and career advisor