Résume Rights and Wrongs

With jobs at a premium and employers looking to only employ the best, your resumé may be the difference between getting a callback and being knocked back. With online job hunting reaching a new high and a record number of candidates applying for the jobs out there, it is crucial that your resumé highlights the skills and experience that you can bring to the role rather than being a document that states a boring block of information. So this article aims to help you to reduce those mistakes and boost your chances of getting the employers attention (all 8 eight seconds of it cos that is how long they spend scanning each one) for the right reasons…


  • Keep it concise. Two pages is the absolute maximum. If there is anything to explain, it can be done in an interview.
  • Tailor your resumé – each job is different so they skills and experience requested may differ. Make sure that you do not send a generic document to them. Emphasise the skills they are looking for and play down (or remove) the ones that they are not.
  • Tell the truth – Your resumé should sell you and what you have to offer but do not lie. Employers will find out that you are lying and that will not reflect well on you at all.
  • Keep the layout simple and easy to read – small writing and poor presentation puts your resumé at a disadvantage pretty much straightaway. Same goes for poor grammar. Edit, edit and edit again! You have been warned.
  • Highlight your achievements – employers do not just want to see a list of jobs. They want to see what you learnt and what you achieved.
  • Include a personal statement – keep it short and simple but use it to sell yourself and your skills.

Do not…

  • Leave any gaps - do your best to explain them. Employers do not need an essay, just a brief summary of facts.
  • Forget to ask your referees if they are happy to provide a reference.
  • Include irrelevant information – Telephone number? Yes. Marital status? No. Your collection of teapots? Definitely not.
  • Be afraid to ask for help. Your teachers, tutors, careers service even your library may be able to help you by offering advice and practical help.
  • Include jokes or slang. It will not make you look cute, it will make you look unprofessional. Furthermore, do not use negative language. Modesty is good, Downbeat is bad.
  • Feel obliged to include a photograph. If the employer wants it, they will ask.

I hope that you find these useful. Good luck!

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Jerry Walch
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Posted on Apr 17, 2009