How to write a great resume

Writing a great resume is not a difficult task when you understand what an employer is looking for.

With these effective resume tips and the motivation to succeed, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.

If you’re ready to create the most persuasive resume yet, keep reading!

The importance of an effective resume

The purpose of a resume is to communicate to employers the relevant skills and experience you have to offer in a brief one to two-page summary.

A well-structured and persuasive resume is important for a number of reasons:

  1. Gives the employer a snapshot of your skills and experience in a brief and easy-to-read document
  2. Showcases the benefits you can offer that company
  3. Gives you the opportunity to capture the employer’s attention
  4. Allows you to justify why you are the perfect candidate for the role

How to write a great resume: The elements

Rule number one of a great resume is quality over quantity.

Not many employers have time to sit and read through pages upon pages for every applicant that has applied for the position.

That’s why it’s best practice to keep it short and sweet – normally one to two pages maximum.

In terms of elements that make up a great resume, there are six key elements you must address:

1. Your name and contact information

You want to make it easy for employers to find your contact information so it’s easy for them to contact you.

Always make sure to check that your contact information is current and correct. 

You should include your mobile number, email address and LinkedIn account or personal portfolio if you have one.

2. Your personal profile

Your personal profile should be a short 3 – 4 sentences about who you are, the soft skills you have and why you’d be ideal for the position.

It is always best practice to avoid writing in the first and the third person, and instead, write without using pronouns.

An example: “Recent graduate with great communication skills, strong interpersonal skills and fantastic collaboration skills.”

You do not need to include pronouns because you are the one writing it. It also removes the repetitiveness of referring to yourself.

3. Your skills

This should be a bullet-point list of the relevant skills that could benefit the employer if they hired you.

You should choose at least six soft skills that are relevant to you and the position you are applying for.

Soft skills are non-technical skills such as:

  • Teamwork skills
  • Good time management skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Leadership
  • Problem-solving skills
  • Adaptable
  • Well organised
  • Creative

These are just a few suggestions, but you should do a little research to decipher the skills that best apply to you.

When constructing your skillset, you should only list the skills that you can back up with a scenario or reference.

It’s never a good look if you can’t give an example!

4. Your education 

Here, you should list where you attended high school or secondary studies, the achievements you were awarded and any other relevant subjects or learnings that might be relevant to the role.

An example of a good layout:

Course or qualification

From Institute name 

Graduated 2020

5. Your experience

Arguably one of the most important elements of a great resume is your experience.

List your recent work experience/volunteer experience starting with the most recent at the top, then the company name, dates you were employed or volunteered in that position and a few key responsibilities that you had. 

Only include a few of your most recent positions that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

An example:

Role Title

Company name

Month YYYY – Month YYYY

Key responsibilities

6. References

A common good practice is to include the section ‘References’ but just beneath it list ‘Available upon request’.

You should only be required to provide references after an interview, so it’s not always necessary to have them listed on your resume.

What to avoid

There is certainly an art surrounding how to write a great resume. However, if you follow these guidelines, you are sure to be on the right track.

Things to avoid using on a resume:

  • Messy or poorly written resumes that make it difficult to understand or read
  • Headshots
  • Marital status, religion, nationality, age and birthdate (these can provide grounds for discrimination)
  • Experience, roles, or skills that are irrelevant to the role you are applying for
  • Grammatical errors and spelling mistakes
  • Generic resumes and cover letters that are not specified to the role
  • Unprofessional email addresses
  • Resumes longer than 2 pages
  • Cover letters longer than 1 page

Hopefully, these effective resume tips have taught you a thing or two about how to write a great resume.

So, go ahead and get writing. 

The sooner you start, the sooner you’ll secure that dream job!

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