There are many ways that you can present your resume, and there are several different resume formats you can choose, including chronological, functional and targeted resumes.
Regardless of the format of resume that you choose to use, there are a few guidelines that most resumes should follow.
Layout and fonts
The presentation of your resume is extremely important.
The best approach is to keep your presentation clean, simple and clear. It gives a professional and confident look.
Resume length: Two pages is the suggested maximum resume length but one page is preferred.
Font and size: Common fonts such as Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman, or a similar font is best. Your font size should be between 10 and 12 points. Your name and section headings can be a little larger and/or in bold.
Layout: Make sure you keep the content in each section consistent. For example, if you put the name of one company in italics, every company name should also be in italics. If you bold one job title, make sure to bold them all.
Information to avoid: Do not include personal information such as your date of birth, height, weight, marital status, and children unless the position requires it. Pictures and photos are also not necessary and should be avoided (unless, for example, you’re applying for a position in graphic design).
It is important is to get the basics right. Here is a quick guide on some of the things you should include in your resume, including name and contact info; resume summary; skills; work history and experience; and education and qualifications.
Name and contact information
Personal details – Include your name, contact phone number and email address. The more ways you give someone the chance to contact you, the better. Remove your address. If you’re not local, some recruiters might not look any further. Recruiters may take your commute time into account and turn you down if they think it would take too long for you to travel to work.
A resume summary is a brief summary (3-4 lines) of your skills and experience including qualifications, experience, abilities and personal attributes. It is intended to help you grab the employer’s attention and encourage them to read on.
You should try to tailor your resume summary to the company and the position you’re applying for. Some recruiters use sophisticated keyword tools to identify resumes that contain particular keywords.
Example Resume Summaries:
Organised, versatile and reliable administration assistant with over 12 years of experience supporting executives, sales and managers to improve internal operations for small business.
Diversified skill sets covering administrative support, client relations, account management, and human resources. Excellent interpersonal, phone, and digital communication skills.
Proven B2B and B2C sales professional with 5+ years of experience. Advanced interpersonal skills and the ability to communicate easily with all levels of a business. Increased sales in the local area by 15% through strong vendor partnerships and instituting sales incentives.
Warehouse Supervisor with Management, Customer Service, & Forklift Experience
Dependable manager with 15+ years of experience in warehouse management and employee supervision. Skilled at inventory control, shipping and receiving, customer relations and workplace safety. Licenced Forklift Operator and Reach Operator and skilled at training other staff. Promoted to positions of increased responsibility given strong people and project management skills.
The Skills Section is where you can list all of your useful abilities. Keep your skills targeted to the job you are applying for. Also, try to quantify where possible with specific details or hard numbers. Here are some samples showing what they look like:
- Experienced graphic artist well versed with Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator
- Proficient with MS Word, Excel, and PowerPoint
- Charismatic and confident public speaker
- Bilingual – Fluent in English and French
- 70WPM typist
Work history and experience
When describing your previous work experience, try to focus on your outcomes and achievements and the business benefits you delivered. Wherever possible, use real measurable outcomes.
Start each of your sentences with different action words such as initiated, designed, managed, developed, and implemented. This will give your achievements more punch and power.
Also try to avoid using tired, dated and overused generic statements or just listing behavioural competencies such as “hard working individual” “highly organised” “good communicator” or “ability to work as part of a team and individually”.
Start with your most recent job and work backwards. Include company name; positions held; time of employment; key duties and responsibilities; and key achievements in this role. For example:
Customer Service Officer
March 2015 – June 2016
In this position, I was responsible for responding to all customer enquiries on a range of banking products.
- Answered over X calls from customers on a weekly basis.
- Assisted with over X customer enquiries on a daily basis.
- Coordinated X sales orders on a daily basis.
- Handled X incoming customer calls on a daily basis.
- Managed customer database consisting of over X customer records.
- Resolved X% of calls within company’s X minute requirement.
- Provided support for X number of customers nationally.
March 2015 – June 2016
In this role, I was responsible for selling a wide selection of clothing items.
- determined customer requirements and advised on our available product range, price, delivery, warranties and product use and care
- demonstrated and explained to customers ABC Sales range of goods and services
- sold clothing and footwear and other personal and household goods and services
- accepted payment for goods and services by a variety of payment methods and prepared sales invoices
- assisted with the ongoing management of stock such as product inventories and participated in stocktakes
- stacked and displayed goods for sale, and wrapped and packed goods sold
Education and qualifications
Your education and qualifications should be shown below your work history and experience.
Include any tertiary training, trade certificate, degree or diploma, listing the most recent first. Also include any current licenses, blue card, or if you are fluent in any languages.
If you completed your tertiary qualification more than three years previously, remove your graduation year. Recruiters only really want to know that you got a certificate, diploma or degree – you don’t want them to inadvertently discriminate based on your age.