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What to Include in a Resume

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Your resume is the most important document in the job application process and should be a positive document highlighting only your best experience and personal qualities which relate to the role you’re applying for. It should not include irrelevant personal or professional information. Sometimes it can be difficult to decide what needs to go into this document – particularly for those who are entering the workforce for the first time. Because of this, we have compiled a list of things which should be included in your resume.

Subheadings

Arrange subheadings in order of importance. Make sure key information and experience comes first. Some standard headings include:
o Contact Details
o Opening statement
o Skills & Experience
o Employment history (Duties and responsibilities)
o Education / other training or professional development
o Personal Attributes
o References
You don’t necessarily need all of these headings, or you may wish to add others appropriate to your experience or the role.

Contact Details

Include your name, phone number(s) and email address to ensure you the employer can easily get in touch with you. You may wish to include your address and it may be of advantage (e.g. if you are local to the role or customers), but this is not essential.
Opening Statement
This section may also be called ‘Career Statement’ or ‘Professional Summary.’ It should be around 5 or 6 lines and should state who you are and what you bring to the role and state briefly skills and experience directly relevant to the position.

Skills and Experience

This section needs to list skills, strengths and experiences that are pertinent to the role. If there is a job description or selection criteria listing ‘essential’ and/or ‘desirable’ attributes, try to list as many skills, traits and qualities that you can that will match with the job description.
Employment History
You might like choose an alternate title, such as ‘Work Experience’. List the organisations you have worked for, state the length of time you were employed and your position title and duties performed. Note any career highlights or significant contributions to your organisation (e.g. awards won, projects completed or sales targets achieved).

Education

List the highest level of education achieved and other notable degrees/certificates attained. You don’t need to include grades or results, unless this may be helpful to you in securing the role and usually only do so if your training was quite recent or you a are a relatively new graduate. You may also wish to include relevant training or professional development courses.

Other Skills and Experience

In this section you can include any leadership roles, extra-curricular activities or community involvement that may be of interest to your employer or relevant to the role. For example, completion of First Aid or Crisis Management training will likely be a notable addition on your resume. Such skills are transferable and valuable in any work place.
Personal Attributes
This section may be included especially if you have limited work experience and you wish to demonstrate qualities or experience that show you to be reliable, honest, responsible, have leadership potential, initiative or can learn quickly. Try to match aspects of your experience that relate most closely to the current role and highlight your positive attributes, using real examples or evidence where you can (e.g. completed projects, awards received etc.).
References/ Referees
Referees are people who can speak about you, your attributes and your work in a positive way and recommend you to a potential new employer. In general it is ideal to provide two names and contact details of people who have been in a supervisory capacity or at least have worked closely with you. It is a courtesy and sensible practice to contact anyone you wish to use as a referee and ask their permission prior to using their names/details on your resume. Tell them about the role you are applying for so they can be well prepared to speak about you favorably when contacted by the employer.


And Finally, Don’t Forget to…


Do Your Research!

This cannot be emphasized enough. In a competitive environment, it is essential to have researched the employer company prior to writing your resume. You may be able to tailor your language or skills to fit with the organisation. Many employers will quiz you in the interview about what you know of the organization, role, customers, clients etc.

Check and Re-check

Proofread your resume to check for any spelling, grammatical or other errors. Check your contact details are correct. Ensure the finished product is concise, well formatted and easy to read. It is a very good idea to ask a trusted and competent friend to look over your resume to check for accuracy and to provide feedback.
Before sending your resume, confirm details of the manner in which employer has requested applications to be sent and to whom it should be addressed. For many roles it is appropriate to email your resume and application, or to upload and attach to an online application. If posting, send in an A4 envelope, preferably with a hard back/card insert so it does not arrive bent or crumpled. You may like to send registered post so you know it will arrive safely.

Don’t forget to ensure your online information will create a good impression!

Most prospective employers will now do their own research about candidates. They will review profiles on Linked In, Facebook and other social media and will simply google you to see what they can find out. Ensure that your online information will assist your application and chances of interview. You may wish to update photos and content and/or check your privacy settings.

Do I need to change my CV for each job application?

Yes. You should redo your CV for each role you apply for to customize it for the particular role and organization. You may not need to change a great deal, but you opening statement and skills should reflect the requirements of the advertisement and your research on the organization you wish to work for. Details and effort can make a big difference.