1. Length doesn’t matter as much as you think
Too many people have misguided preconceived notions about how long their resume should be. We’ve seen candidates with twenty years of experience with one page resumes because they believe employers will lose interest, but then unfortunately their short resume omits too much information. On the other hand, we’ve seen graduates that have never held a role outside of university that somehow find a way to pad out five pages with a lot of unnecessary information. Employers don’t want to have to go through more information than is required.
The correct length of a resume is however long it needs to be to get across the relevant information. If set out in the right way, people can easily skip to the sections that has the information they are looking to find.
2. Your contact details are very important
Your name, phone number and email address are obvious requirements. Ensure that your email address is formal and professional. This means avoid silly, cute or unprofessional usernames in your email address such as mikey_poos or wildman69.
It is surprising how many people omit their phone number.
A phone number is important because people want to assess your communication before investing their time in a face-to-face meeting. Our experience is that many people who do not include a phone number have poor communication skills and are concerned about speaking on the phone. If someone has received a lot of applications and they can’t easily reach you on the phone, you will never know it, but you may be headed to the bottom of the pile. We have never encountered a managerial candidate who omitted their phone number, but it has become an increasingly common occurrence among graduates.
3. Chronological order isn’t always best.
People typically list their qualifications and experience in chronological order. This might be a good option, but it’s important to decide whether a better option is listing them in reverse chronological order. For example, if your most recent qualification or job is the most impressive and most relevant to the role, ensure it is at the top and work backwards.
4. Certain interests create a negative impression
The interests you have outside of work tell people something about you. They will make judgements and have perceptions immediately on what type of person you will be. Think about what the interests you have say about you and remember you don’t need to have a list that is a page long. We suggest three or four is enough and ensure you are honest because someone may discuss these things with you in an interview.
Here are some that might give an undesirable impression to a prospective employer:
Hanging out with friends – this is assumed. Including this information doesn’t tell a prospective employer anything unique about you.
– Video games, watching television and binging on Netflix – let’s be honest, most of us enjoy these things, however listing them on a CV carries negative connotations of laziness and inactivity. If you are going for a job in one of these industries you might put this down, but it’s best to find something that shows that you can socialise with others.
– Travelling – If there is someone that doesn’t enjoy travel, we haven’t met them. The biggest concern we have as an employer is that if this is one of your top three interests, you may want to leave me at some stage to do more of it. Employers would generally rather invest in a person that is a member at the local sporting club, or has family connections to their area.