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Tips for resume writing

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Resumes look a lot different than they used to, as resume design becomes almost as important as your content. When preparing your resume, it’s imperative you consider both content and design, to ensure you are presenting yourself in the best possible light when applying for new job opportunities. Our career expert Rebecca McFarland summarized everything you need to know about resume writing.

Resume Content:

Content is king, and although resume design is becoming more and more important, a strong design alone will not win you the job. You need to be able to back up your claims to the role through your skills and experience. It is best to break your resume into sections to organise your information methodically. I recommend using the following headings:

• Professional Profile – a 1-2 paragraph pitch explaining your suitability for the role

• Key skills and attributes – a bullet-pointed list explaining your primary strengths

• Qualifications and education – a list of your qualifications or relevant courses completed

• Work experience – records of your previous work experience, focusing on your past 5-10 years of employment

Here are some tips to consider when preparing your resume content:

• Use full sentences, even when creating bullet pointed lists. Single or two-word bullet points don’t provide enough context into your skills or experience.

• Use action-oriented words and avoid making sweeping statements. Where possible, quantify your claims or provide the details of your achievements.

• Only include information that’s relevant to the role. You should aim to keep your resume to 2-3 pages, which means that every inch of space on your resume is valuable real estate.

• Don’t be afraid to sell yourself. Remember that your resume is a sales document and this is your opportunity to persuade potential employers to invite you in for an interview.

Resume Design:

When designing your resume, you can use colour, lines, shapes and other design elements to make your resume more appealing to the eye. This can also help your resume to stand out in a crowd – you can use your resume design to incorporate your personality into your application and to demonstrate how you prepare professional documents, which is often a sought-after skill.

Here are some tips to consider when designing your resume:

• Choose one or two complimentary colours. Think about the type of feelings you want to portray or evoke through your application. You might want to research the psychology of colour for more information about this.

• Use modern, easy to read fonts. As a rule, sans-serif fonts (the ones without the little flicks on the ends of letters) are easiest to read, however, serif fonts can be used when the other design elements are minimal.

• Make use of white space, which is the space around the text and design elements. White space is fresh and can help to ensure your resume isn’t too cluttered or distracting.

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