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A Résumé that won't let you down

You'd be forgiven for assuming that everyone takes a certain amount of care when applying for new opportunities, takes the time to write an accurate resume, answer the job criteria and put their best foot forward. Unfortunately there are those of us whom are less than detail oriented, or perhaps discouraged by multiple submissions who are tired of checking, re-writing, or just being obtusely difficult.

It's unusual for a ProgectManager to get an interview, a Business Analyst (resume) can be foiled by Desktop Support Analyst (LinkedIn), a Director 2004-Current may be ignored as it is unlikely the Director role started in the role immediately after graduation...

Remember that tailoring your CV does not mean lying, fabricating or playing loose with the facts. It means changing the emphasis within skills and responsibilities. To make a good first impression, a well-written resume should be clear, concise, and neatly organised. When the basics can improve your chances so much, it’s a shame not to get it right.

From the top:

Use a word document, not a PDF. There are loads of reasons for this, but basically a PDF makes it awkward for a recruiter or hiring manager to mark up your CV highlighting particular skills, to remove contact details (if appropriate), and just creates annoyance.

You should maintain one font throughout (something clean and clear like Arial or Calibri), and not over format with tables and tabs.

Grammar, grammar, grammar. Run spell checks, proof read more than once, and have a friend or colleague review it. Nothing says inattention to detail or slapdash like bad grammar and bad spelling.

Name and contact details should be at the top of your first page. No, it is not strategic to hide your contact details at the end, hidden until the readers appetite has been whetted, it is annoying. Don't do it.

Email address: niall@lovebrother is not appropriate, get a gmail. Potential employers will google your novelty email address, and you are not in control of what they will find.

Career Summary / Career Goals: Make it relevant; don't include a paragraph about your start-up aspirations at the top of your application to a blue chip enterprise.

Dates: You must include dates of employment and study, and not vague dates either. Do not write 2009 - 2012. Write 07/2009 - 02/2012.

Correctness: If your Job title was Business Analyst, then write Business Analyst. It must also match your LinkedIn profile for titles, content and dates. Do not suddenly become the Head of Highly Important Projects Analyst.

Ref checks and/or a cursory web check can and will show up the truth.

On the subject of LinkedIn, please remember that it is not Facebook. Keep beers with your footy team on the lawn at 3am to the social social network. While I'm on that topic lock up your fun social media accounts like a top security prison.

Do you really want me to know how you responded that time to your annoying brother after you hadn't slept for 4 days straight?

Experience details: For each role you have had, talk to your achievements and your responsibilities. Don't over fill your resume with mundanities about answering phones and reporting calls, unless of course your job is to answer phones and report calls. \

Point to the achievements based on your role, the extra value you created in the roles, or how you defined the roles. You should be pointing to how you benefited your department and your company.

Specific accomplishments: Make your wins relevant, provide fact based context for your achievements. If you were the 2nd best salesman and won an award, give the detail that makes that understandable.

There is no need for an 8 page document. Being succinct is a skill too.

I'll take that advice and end now.

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