How you’re presented on paper is key in impressing a potential employer. In today’s job market, it’s rare that every applicant will have the opportunity to sell themselves in person or even over the phone. Having a clear and concise resume is your best chance to get through the initial cut. But how do you format a resume that’s going to shine above the rest?

The most important thing is to clearly identify your past roles and employers in a clear and easy-to-read, uniform manner. When an employer is scanning for key words, clarity is key. Having the essential elements formatted clearly will help your experience stand out from others. By keeping your resume brief, your potential employer is more likely to read it right through. Having several pages of information and role descriptions will be overwhelming to the reader and, frankly, it will get overlooked. It’s important to remember that the employer/recruiter may be looking over hundreds of applications and they aren’t likely to read several pages from each applicant.

For each role you’ve had, essentials to include are:

  • Company name
  • Start/end date in chronological order from most recent – year and month, specifying if the role was contract or permanent
  • Role(s) – list each job title held with a company, and the duration of each role
  • If you have gaps in employment, whether it be travelling, raising a family, contracting or freelancing, make sure this is outlined.

Formatting your resume so it’s easy to read is key to a strong resume. Using bullet points, brief sentences and simple job descriptions makes your resume flow easily and makes it quicker for your employer to scan through. Also, take note of the font, spelling and grammar of your resume. Using silly, curly fonts is hard to read and will be discarded. Likewise, if poor spelling and grammar is used, it shows lack of professionalism and will be immediately put in the ‘no’ pile.

Ensure each role description is relevant to the role you’re applying for and use keywords and language that mirror those written in the description of the role you’re going for. For example, if the new role requests proactive event management, describe examples of past work where you’ve done exactly that. Likewise, don’t include irrelevant information. If the employer is looking for event management, you don’t need to describe your first cashier job when you were 16. Keep it brief, keep it engaging, keep it relevant.

Make sure to frame your resume in a way that celebrates your major achievements but leaves enough information that makes the potential employer wanting to know more. This is key in securing an interview. Frame your relevant skills also, then once it comes to interviewing time, explain how you plan to utilise said skills in this role.

Lastly, don’t forget to prepare two strong references. Previous employers or colleagues you’ve had a good relationship with will be more than happy to sing your praises. Make sure you notify them before putting them on your resume so they are well prepared when they are contacted. Include information about your professional relationship and contact details, preferably both email and a telephone number.

For more information and advice on preparing a great resume, contact our recruitment team here at Granite Consulting.