Resumes that get you to a job interview……

Posted June 14th, 2022




Many jobs are obtained via the initial Resume & application followed by an Interview… we are often asked “What makes a great resume? ” A great resume is one that gets you to that interview! The rest is up to YOU!

Resumes are the KEY!

Each week we receive hundreds of resumes. Many of which are from great candidates however, due to simple, avoidable errors do not make it to the shortlist, let alone to meet the employer for an interview!

It is frustrating for both the candidate and the employer. The employer may miss out on a great employee and the candidate continues to wonder why they are not making it to interview

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 Purpose of a Resume

Your resume is a marketing tool. It is a SALES flier – your very own and individual sales brochure

a Good resume 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 for the advertised position
  • That you have the right experience and skills
  • That you have the right level of professionalism for the job

 How Long Should My Resume Be?

One or two pages are best, (one page per 10 years of experience)  but three pages are OK …..if you’ve got a lot of study and work behind you… REMEMBER the research – employers spend an average of 6 seconds reading a resume! I know this is bad… but it’s reality!

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.

How Should I Order My Resume?

Generally it’s always good to present the information on your resume in chronological order: (today back..) but it should have the following..

  1. Contact details
  2. About me… statement ( or objective – as long as it suits the role you are applying for!)
  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
  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.

 Do I Need to Change/ 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.

You might not need to change much, 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. Yes! research prior to applying!

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

How to Tailor Your Resume

Ways that you can tailor your resume 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

 What Your Resume Should Include

There are a number of things that every resume should have on it. Check out the resume templates – Google this! to get an idea of what great resumes could look like.

 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 a footer of your resume, but if you do, you must make sure they’re also in the main body of the document.

Opening Statement – Elevator or “About Me”

An opening statement is a summary of who you are, where you’ve studied and/or worked, and what you bring to the job.

Key Skills & Strengths

Your resume should 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, 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

 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)

Personal Attributes

If 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.

Educational History

Your 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 captain, awards you’ve won, or groups you’ve been part of).

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 whilst at school
  • Work placements or internships that you’ve done through university or TAFE
  • Any Volunteer work  past and current

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.


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. WARNING – only select referees whom you know will be positive about you and ones that you have gained permission to have on your resume!


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.


A lot of recruitment agencies use software that scans applications for key words and phrases. Applications that don’t use the right keywords tend to be automatically rejected.

Key words and phrases that this software often 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

 What NOT to Put On Your Resume

Here 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.

 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 generalise 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.

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 spell check 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.  You should also consider getting your resume looked at by someone professional.

 Images and Graphics

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 (print-outs etc) an exception to this guideline of not having a selfie is  where hospitality, tourism & retail employers are on-line seeking staff in a hurry!

 Fancy Formatting

Stick to easy-to-read fonts and formats. KEEP IT SIMPLE! 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

PDF Versions of Your Resume

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

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

…..still not sure what to do? There are thousands of articles and helpful sites on how to avoid the major mistakes in your resume

check this one out!Ivana Agapiou resume writer and career advisor