We receive a high number of applications for every open job we advertise. With this in mind, you must be writing your resume to stand out. It is the only way to ensure your application is at the top of the pile.
We’ve consulted with the recruitment experts on our team to provide you with their top tips for writing your resume. Your resume is a recruiter’s first insight into you, so you must put in the time to get it right.
Read our top tips for writing your resume below to help you get invited for a first interview.
1. Sort your structure
The never-ending dilemma; what comes first, education or experience?
The clue is in the job description. Read between the lines and understand what the description specifically asks for. Pick out the key requirements listed in the job description and re-order your resume to demonstrate your suitability.
Are they interested in a specific area of knowledge you studied? Education to the front! Do they ask for particular skills you’ve learned on the job? Career history it is!
Top tip for writing your resume from Robert Caldwell in our Aberdeen office
“Remember the small details when writing your resume. Choose a resume font that is clear and professional – Arial is a firm favourite. Keep your layout simple and clear to make it visually appealing. Proofread your resume at least three times. All of these give more detail to a manager than you realise.”
2. Add a personal touch
Take the time to write a short and concise profile of your career history to date. Keep it short and sweet, to encourage the recruiter to read more.
This should be your opening paragraph and is an opportunity to highlight relevant qualifications or achievements in your career, as well as mentioning your aspirations for the future.
Top tip for writing your resume from Andy Skyrme in our Stockton-on-Tees office
“Make sure you include a short and punchy profile or summary. This an opportunity to sell yourself and inject some personality into your resume to set yourself apart from other candidates. At the end of a day a company is hiring you not a piece of paper.”
3. Don’t embellish
Your resume is the first step in the recruitment process, so it’s only natural to want to sell what you’re saying. You must portray yourself honestly.
Bending the truth and exaggeration is an immediate red flag to recruiters. It will halt your application at the first hurdle. Be truthful and focus on explaining how your skills and past experiences are suited to the role you are applying for.
Top tip for writing your resume from Hyuna You in our Geoje office
“Describe your accomplishments, not your responsibilities. One describes what you did, the other describes how you did it – there is a big difference. And don’t forget to include the systems you have used and projects you have worked on.”
4. Bespoke tailoring
There should be no ‘one size fits all’ approach when submitting your resume to a vacancy. Always tailor your resume to align with the role that you’re applying for.
Your application will draw more interest when a recruiter can clearly see that your background aligns closely with the requirements stated in the job description.
Top tip for writing your resume from Alissa Ensor in our Houston office
“Understand what the hiring manager is looking for, and tailor your experience to the industry and job you’re applying for. Include a header and summary in your resume. Lastly, don’t forget about your cover letter. It is your opportunity to summarise your resume highlights in an easy to read format.”
5. Mind the gap!
It’s completely understandable that you may have taken a career break, or perhaps you were even made redundant from your last role.
None of these reasons diminishes your ability to perform the duties listed in the job description – so long as you can explain the blanks. If no explanation is offered, recruiters may misinterpret these gaps as something you’re trying to hide. Transparency is key.
Top tip writing your resume from Brendan Fernandez in our Perth office
“If you have a gap in your resume, do your best to explain it without going into all the details. Whether you went on sabbatical, took care of a sick family member, or wrote a novel, there will be worthwhile soft skills you learned during this time. Don’t be afraid to talk about them.”
6. Detail your successes
You have done great work, and your previous results speak for themselves. So why leave those details out when writing your resume?
You need to tell future employers how the work you do makes a difference to their bottom line or ability to accomplish audacious goals. Including KPI, financial and success details are proof you know how to excel at your job.
Top tip for writing your resume from Sean Macgloin in our London office
“Focus on the achievements they have accomplished rather than just the operational content of their job. Focus on how you have added additional value to your employer with your successes. Where possible, try to quantify this – utilise stats, financials, numbers and what you delivered.”
Looking for more tips on writing your resume?
Resumes are the primary way that recruiters and hiring managers view your experience. Whether you are applying online, in-person, or at job fairs, your resume is critical to explain why you are qualified for their job.
This is why it is necessary to only include details that enhance your skills and abilities. Less is more.
Read about the 8 things recruiters wish you would leave off your resume.
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