There’s plenty of conjecture around what a great resume should look like and people have some pretty strong opinions on the optimum language, style and structure. But like most good writing, it needs to tell a story – your story. Having clicked on thousands of resumes, I know from experience that first impressions really count. Within a few viewing seconds, managers will naturally decide if they want to read on. So, what are the key elements of an impressive resume that will grab attention? Here’s my quick guide to writing a great resume.
To be or not to be
This is where it gets interesting – do I include a photograph or not? Is it necessary to include my address? And what about my date of birth? Well, the short is answer is “no,” none of these tell the story of your ability to do the job and that’s what we are looking for. The question good hiring managers and recruiters are asking themselves as they read through your resume is “how aligned are these candidates’ skills and experience to the vacancy I have?”
Follow a format
A great resume will follow a clear and simple structure that will give the reader a snapshot about who you are. Think of it like the summary on the back of a book you’re interested in reading, or topical headlines. As a guide, your resume will include:
- Contact details – Phone, City, State, email and other relevant contact details such as your LinkedIn profile (a good tip is to include your contact details on each page)
- A list of your key strengths and skills
- A summary of your education qualifications and courses undertaken, including memberships.
- A list of your technical expertise if this applies to your role
- A summary of your work experience that outlines your role, responsibilities and achievements
- Any volunteering work you have done
- A note about your referees (specifying the name and company is seen by some as a plus)
- Some people like to include an objective as well personal interests, if you do choose to include these, keep them relevant.
Make a statement
Find ways to make your resume stand out from the crowd. Good font selection, a pop of colour, clear discernible sections will help you achieve this. On the other hand, too much colour, too many icons and colour blocks can be distracting. A great resume will certainly have components of these but try not to over clutter the pages. Clear, concise and engaging is a good checklist to consider when crafting your resume.
Less is more
One debatable aspect of resume writing is length. I’ve seen resumes that are 2 pages long and include only the last 3 roles of a candidates’ experience and others that are detailing their first job out of school by the time I get to page 10. A great resume will be interesting, insightful and informative so when you’re writing your resume think about balancing the information to keep the reader engaged. As a guide, generally 4 pages reflecting your professional expertise is the right length to hold interest.
Getting some assistance or a professional opinion about your resume is also a good idea. Apart from engaging a professional resume writer, there are a lot of clever templates available online. Or, as you are going through the recruitment process, ask your consultant for feedback on your resume. The upside here is that they will know your market and have seen plenty of resumes applying for similar jobs.
You might want to check out this handy link on skills to include in your resume.
Navigating our new normal
Yesterday was the first day in a while I’d gone out, other than the oasis of Coles. I did my hair (well, pulled it out from a scruffy top bun) and wore shoes. It was a kids tennis lesson after all. I stopped on the way back at a 7-Eleven and though the line of 3 people spread the entire shop length, I felt the dust fall off my shoulders and smiled awkwardly at a stranger while we pumped furiously at the sanitiser hitched to the wall. It gets me thinking, when the veil of iso is lifted, what will it be like to step back into the real world?
We’re all thought leaders
It’s been astounding to see the out of the box solutions people have found to keep boredom at bay and business thriving. Hardly a service or celebrity hasn’t brushed up to keep pace with the changing times.Yes, necessity has been the driver for all invention. We’ve seen huge amounts of generosity, boundless creative energy and a whole new world of work emerging.
As a recruiter, here’s how I envisage the world of work might change after lockdown and what fellow recruiters might see on the job front.
Our changing world of work
- More people looking for a shift to working from home (now that we’ve got used to it, we can see the upsides). Whether full time or one day a week, flexibility is the new job currency.
- Agility and adaptability will be key. This crisis has shown us that adapting to new work structures, picking up unfamiliar job functions and being able to take on surprise responsibilities outside our job scopes is the new norm.
- Part time jobs may be more in demand as people opt for better balance to pursue their new found creative interests. Along with this may come the longing for flexibility in work structures and working hours.
- People may switch gears and embark on following their passions, seeing the end of lockdown as the perfect time to begin something new.
- While there will be a new influx of candidates in the market, some who ride the wave will be loyal to the organisations who supported them through this crisis. This may mean less movement at the senior and niche skilled candidate levels.
- We’ve seen an obvious rise in online products and services. Just about the best set of skills you can equip yourself with will be within the digital space. More jobs with a digital focus will be on demand and the talented and digitally savvy candidates will be able to command more.
- Face to face interviews might be a thing of the past, at least in the early stages of the selection process. With this, recruiters and hiring managers will need to be flexible and may need to offer greater access to their candidates for online interviews beyond traditional business hours.
- If being in the office each day is less mandatory, this opens up a greater candidate market for roles being located remotely or flexibly. Without the limitation of location, a much broader candidate base can be engaged.
- As people continue to be concerned about health and well-being, organisations with a good social heart, solid well-being programs and contemporary leave policies may offer more candidate appeal.
- Covid-19 has no doubt brought out the very best in us and our empathy for each other. More than ever we’ll need to build genuine relationships, deliver a first rate human service and offer outstanding candidate care.
Read more about the future of work beyond Covid-19 here
It’s day one of remote learning, or what I like to think of as home schooling, mid-west style. I’ll flit from baking, to plucking seasonal herbs to helping with algebra and by 4.00pm we’ll be done, just in time for The Bold. There we were this morning at the dining room table, my 9 year old and I, eagerly awaiting the remote learning portal to unlock at 9am and for today’s lessons to be shared. Logins successful, welcome video from teacher aptly amusing and first writing task outlined. If only I could get my kid out of pj’s and off that damned device! Probably too early for freddo frogs. By 9.20am I ask him what he’s writing about. He’s staring into space but I choose to think he’s exploring a highly imaginative theme for his persuasive text. Not so. After some time he realises he’s not sure of the topic so decides it’s time for a nap. It’s 9.40.
We move onto maths, but not before I get asked if tomorrow he could take a day off school. By now I’m picking myself (and the laundry) up off the floor. He thinks this home routine is way too imposing and deserves a break. Quite right. Thankfully for me, today’s maths looks like something I can handle; coordinates. Like most gals, my map reading skills are faultless so I think I’ve got this in the bag. Except I’ve just remembered I have a job too and my email starts pinging. Then, blaring through the apartment speakers, the fire alarm sounds as the building tests their evacuation drills. I’ve never seen anyone close a lap top as quickly as my son and prepare to escape. He’s taking this test very seriously and frightfully disappointed that we’re not going anywhere. And nor is this lesson to locate pineapples on a grid. I want to know if it’s recess yet.
In truth though, I am relishing every moment of watching him read and understand, hesitate and question, stop and start. And because (as anyone who knows me knows) I don’t see anything wrong with leaping into an impromptu dance number, we do that too. He’s asked me for a two hour lunch break. I’ve given him a hug instead and he’s equally thrilled. I’ve secretly always wanted his childhood to slow down a little and maybe this is not far off…because on days like this I get to see more, watch more and share more. And while my fifth grader is navigating his way around his online learning, uploading like a pro and putting my computer skills to shame, I wonder if pressing the reset button on life as we’ve all had to do for the moment, is maybe the best lesson we’ve had in a while.
The world still looks so pretty. There’s a broad blue sky, swept with strands of autumn clouds sitting above the harbour. The tree tops are like sprigs of fresh mint from last weeks rain. The air is breezy and fresh. And yet this could have been a photograph, for the way the world has changed. For the first time, in my lifetime at least, I feel I may not live forever. There’s an impending sense of the unknown and though the world may look the same, it’s not as we know it.
I wonder if social media existed at the time of the Great Depression, or the Great Leap Forward, or any of one of human kinds’ greatest tragedies, might it look something like this. Are we living through what history will one day recall, as the greatest global tragedy of our century? Probably. Sadly. I want to say I’m scared, but then we all are.
The collective, social distancing hug we are all giving each other is lifting the vibration into one of hope. And that’s what we must turn to in our moments of fear and anxiousness. We don’t even have to be unwell, or know someone who is, for this insidious sickness to throw our lives into chaos. Everything we have worked towards, wrestled with, fought for may all come to nothing, needing to be built again. For many of us, this feels like the Great leveller.
What would it be like for the rug to be swept from under our feet? For all those decisions we struggled so hard to make, for that ideal lifestyle we pursued so hard, for the familiarity of routine we centred our lives around, to be trumped in a single moment. This is the fear we feel. Without our health, we have nothing, without our wellbeing we have nothing, without each other we have nothing.
But here’s what we do have; a sense that we’re not in this alone, a community of aspiration, a collective consciousness that says, thankfully, it’s ok to be scared, the best minds in the world striving for a cure and a humanitarian shift in what the really important stuff in life is. You. Me. We. Us. Everybody. Everywhere. Because when this passes, and it will, nothing else will matter.
Today, in cities and townships across Australia women and men are taking care of foster children they barely know, they are packing second hand books and toys for school children they’ll never meet and are spending the endless days sweeping away the ashes and clearing the charred bracken of lives burnt to the ground in the bushfires this summer. Time poor as we may be, as highly strung as life on the run makes us, as bound by schedule as we are, Australian’s are giving more of themselves to the cause of volunteering than ever before. It’s fast becoming the happiness spark we hanker for and the sense of connected purpose at the core of who we are.
Australia’s response to the bushfire crisis, indeed the world’s, has been unprecedented. We watched our TV screen’s ablaze with crimson smoke clouds and red-yellow flames while emergency crews darted through the fires tirelessly to save whatever was in their path. As the winds changed and the flames calmed, we saw farms, homesteads and neighborhoods scorched and the slow rebuilding of lives begin. Shattered by tragedy, we heard stories of hardship and hope. But when the camera’s turn away, there are still teams of volunteer’s quietly helping put the pieces together again.
Crossing the Rubicon
A life of service in the armed forces is a valiant pursuit, but when these same people choose to volunteer as veterans and become first respondents to emergencies, you know you’ve got some pretty special people on your side. Team Rubicon Australia was the brainchild of two Aussie guys, keen to adopt the model of disaster response and veteran reintegration pioneered by Team Rubicon US. Three years ago, in 2017, they grew into a fully operational entity with a mission to “shift the paradigm of disaster response in the Pacific Rim and change the narrative around veterans in Australia.” Their responses to crisis’ in the region has, as expected, been operationally astute and with teams sweeping across our bushfire affected communities, Team Rubicon is doing more than their fair share in the effort to rebuild.
A day in the life
For the next two months, the grey t-shirts of Team Rubicon have been deployed in the Cobargo region, NSW. They’re long grueling days that start at daybreakand close well after the sun has dipped behind the bushland hills. This is journal excerpt from a volunteer helping in the bushfire clean-up.
“As I stepped onto the bus with a group of very fit Norwegians who by looking at them you wouldn’t have guessed they’d been travelling for the last 63 hrs, I wondered if I had made the right decision. The drive to Cobargo took us about 8 hrs from Sydney, with a couple of stops. The travellers kept us entertained trying to spot kangaroos. The temperature outside was 42 degrees and the bus was pretty much the same as we didn’t have air con.”
“We reached the camp site and were ready to stretch our legs. With a long week ahead of us, we were greeted by the team handing over to us. Our brief was to help the local community devastated by the bush fires. We had no idea what we needed to do but we were all in. On our feet at 6.30am, we made breakfast, and were ready by 7:30am for the days briefing. The first job was helping a farmer clear out all the burnt trees from his extensive property. The strike teams got their tools and safety gear, first aid kids, wheel barrow, shovels and a few rakes and loaded them on to the Ute’s. It was already looking about Australian as you can get.”
“As the resident photographer, my job was to document the work of the team and I started clicking and circling through everyone but I couldn’t help but down my camera and help the team move stuff around. The chain saws are whizzing through fallen trees, someone needed to remove them, so I chipped in and together we got the job done. Three sweaty hours later, the owners came and hugged us all. What a nice feeling, we hardly felt the strain on muscles.”
“The next day we went to an elderly couples house, or what remained of it. Their home, yards, trees, cars, work shed, everything was destroyed except for a small out room where they made their makeshift home. The lady of the house showed me some of her grandmothers silverware, now all welded together. Nothings else remained. There were a few burnt out trees standing close to the little room that needed clearing. While we were chopping and collecting the trunks and piles of charred debris, the couple came out to give us a hand. They had been watching us, eager to show their gratitude and invited us into the room for tea. They seemed so happy to have people to talk to, people who could share in the gravity of their loss, people who understood them. The next day they visited us at camp for a coffee.”
“Each evening, we reflected on the day. We talked about how we made people feel, how we think we helped or how we felt about the work we had done. And while the stories were different every day, there were always tears at the end of it. During the day we were so busy doing the job, focused only on the outcome, it wasn’t until evening when we stopped to talk about what these communities had gone through. As exhausted as we were, our sense of achievement trumped that. Nothing compared to the trauma, the heartbreak, the sudden destruction these people endured. Just seeing a family smile, the thanks we got from the community and the hugs after a job well done showed us where humanity stands in the face of crisis; right on top.”
Sign up for a cause
The Australian Bushfires have generated a shared purpose, to save and rebuild the homes and habitats of families and wildlife. There’s been so many layers to the collective rebuilding effort that celebs and locals have all chipped in. And while the scale of the devastation gave these efforts a profile, we can’t overlook the energy that everyday people give to keep life moving. We know it makes us feel good, because helping is the natural condition of what drives us. Service to others, we know, is the highest calling of all.
Click through to these sites if you’re keen to see how you can connect and register to become a volunteer: