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A resume that is engaging, has personality and stands out from others is essential in winning managerial and executive roles. This tip sheet provides some suggestions on what to do with the content, structure and the look and feel of your resume so that it becomes a powerful tool in your quest for a new role.

Provide all of the basic information. Up front, include your relevant personal details so you are easily contactable. At the back of your resume, include your educational qualifications and any other key training you’ve undertaken.

Use a clear, well organised layout. A recruiter will spend just a couple of minutes, at most, looking for the pertinent information in your resume. Only when it’s found and it matches what the recruiter is looking for will the person read on. Make it easy for the reader to find the information with a clean layout that is consistent throughout the document. If Microsoft Word isn’t your forte, invest in getting a professional to set up your resume. The look of your resume will convey a message about you, your professionalism and your organisation skills.

Keep it to a reasonable length. Nobody (recruiter or employer) has the time to read a 10 page resume. Keep it to 4-6 pages. In writing the content of your resume, don’t be long-winded – just say what’s essential to get your point across. You don’t need to include everything you’ve ever done.

Include a summary up front. Use this summary to cover the information that is most relevant to the role you’re applying for, i.e. the information that will hook the reader and make them want to read on. This could be your relevant roles, skills, experiences or achievements. It should not be long – a handful of bullet points often does the job.

Include your previous role responsibilities. We’ve all had it drummed into us that we need to focus on our achievements in our resumes. Unfortunately, some people forget to tell the story about their actual roles. When skimming a CV, most recruiters will go straight to your roles to see what you’ve been responsible for, e.g. budgets, team management, strategy, governance etc, before they then look at what you achieved in these areas. A brief description of the role you did and what areas you were accountable for helps to paint the basic picture before you delve into achievements.

Include your achievements – they’re critical in cutting through. It’s one thing to say that you were the GM of xyz company, but it’s another altogether to say that you oversaw an organisation restructure that resulted in $15m in savings, or rationalized 80 services down to 35, or grew the number of clients being serviced from 2000 to 5000 annually. Try to put in 3-5 impressive achievements against each job and make sure that they are varied in nature so that, collectively, you cover all of the critical competencies required for the role for which you are applying.

Be Specific. When describing your accountabilities and achievements, use facts and figures. State the size of the budget, the saving, the funding increase, the improvement in staff satisfaction etc.

Tailor your resume for each job or job type. Each employer places a slightly different emphasis on different competencies and experiences and, if possible, you should tailor your resume to reflect this. This could be a case of replacing 1 or 2 achievements with others that are more relevant or re-ordering bullet points so that the most important are at the top of the list. It might also mean rewriting your resume summary. Sometimes a few small tweaks is all it takes to make your resume far more relevant to a particular job.

Write a cover letter. Doing this shows that your efforts to apply are specific to the role and you aren’t just bashing out applications left, right and centre. By personally addressing a letter to a recruiter or an employer, you also begin the process of building a relationship. Make the letter brief (1-2 pages) and tell the story about yourself. Don’t put too much detail in – summarise your previous industries/roles and then list the skills and experiences that make you ideal for the role. If the cover letter ticks the right boxes, a recruiter or employer will eagerly look at your resume for more detail.

If you’d like some help to prepare a stand out resume, call Saffron Shores on (02) 9440 4337 or click here to make an enquiry.

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