Writing the perfect résumé
Your résumé or CV is a powerful sales tool and, whilst your résumé will not secure you a job, it is responsible for securing you interviews. It is the very first thing a potential employer will ‘see’ of you, so it is important to get it right – especially when you consider that, on average, your CV has somewhere between 5–10 seconds to make an impact!
So, whether you're applying for an advertised position or sending your résumé speculatively, we hope this Eutopia e-Briefing will help you write a more powerful profile – and, ultimately, get you the job of your dreams.
1.LAYOUT & PRESENTATION
Probably the most important rule, make the layout as simple as possible.
• Avoid italics and decorative fonts and don't add any ornate borders – these will merely distract from what you say
• Keep your résumé concise - ideally no more than 2-4 pages. Companies do not have time to read CVs that are any longer than this – and overlong CV’s can actually turn prospective employers off
• Where possible, use bullet points (complete sentences can sometimes lead to unnecessary wordiness)
• Avoid the use of slang
• If you use factual or numerical information, make sure you have the facts or figures to back these up in person when you attend interview
• Don’t be afraid to use positive adjectives when describing your tasks, traits or achievements – for example, "enthusiastic team player" or "successful track record"
2.STRUCTURE & CONTENT
• The structure of your CV should be clear and easy to understand. Your aim is to present facts about yourself concisely – with the document being easy to dip into to check contact information, dates, skills, employment history and qualifications.
• Concentrate not only on the role or tasks completed, but on the differences you’ve made to your company or department - anything from saving money to improving results
• Never leave gaps. If you took a year out, or carried out interim assignments, say so - otherwise, employers can suspect the worst
A sample résumé structure is included below:
• Telephone numbers (only include your work number if you do not mind being contacted there)
• Email address if possible
• Nationality and visa details (if applicable)
This is the area of your CV where you can sell yourself. It is here you should list your skills and strengths, what type of opportunity you are looking for next and why you are the right person for the position you are applying for.
Education & qualifications
• Start with the most recent first to include University and College qualifications – including grades and dates
• If you have an extensive work history, you do not need to give too much detail here. However, if you are looking for your first job, your education and grades will be more important
• Start with your current or most recent position, detailing the name of the company and the nature of its business unless this is well known
• State your Job Title and dates of employment
• Describe your position in detail, bullet pointing your responsibilities, duties and main achievements
• Ensure descriptions of your previous roles are kept fairly brief, unless particularly relevant, as your current or most recent positions are of most interest to an employer.
• Be specific – your interests can reveal a lot about you
• Be brief – this area of the résumé tends to carry the least weight (unless you can boast significant personal achievements)
• Don’t list interests for the sake of it – you may get questioned about them
• Finally, keep it professional – it’s OK to inject some personality – but keep it on the right side of it being a commercial v. personal document
It is not necessary to list references on your résumé. A simple sentence stating ‘References available on request’ will suffice
Make sure there are no typing, grammatical and spelling errors in your CV. Get someone else to check the finished document for you just to make sure. There’s no point producing a sales document and sending it out full of errors.
Consider tailoring your CV to each position, as you're more likely to secure an interview if your CV is tailored to your target company. Alternatively, have different ‘types’ of CV – such as one that is more commercially oriented, one that is more technical and one that is more management focused.
Remember to sell yourself - far the biggest mistake most people make is to forget to sell themselves.
Finally, your CV is the first impression any potential employer will have of you. Make sure it goes out with a decent letter (or email) of introduction, listing what role you’re applying for and why you’re applying.
We hope this guide has been of help. However, if you have any questions, or if you would like advice on your profile, do not hesitate to contact us or email your details to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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