The Resume Series: Resume Basics - the 5 don'ts

So back over here I gave you some tips on what you should do if you are pulling together or updating your resume. Sometimes it's easier to say what not to do (and infinitely more fun!). Here we go!

  1. Don't include referee contact information: If the company wants to do reference checks they will ask you. This will give you time to chose the best people to speak about you for that specific role, and give you time to contact them. This is also important if they are travelling or overseas where you may need to provide different contact details. You don't want your referees being contacted without your permission.
  2. Don't include a photo. Seriously. Unless you are a model about to go to a casting, this will just give recruiters and HR people the chance to roll about the floor grabbing their stomachs in mirth make fun at your ill chosen photo. Stop it. Do have a photo on your Linkedin account. A professional one. Not one holding a cocktail. Not one where you eyes are red from a flash and not one with someone's arm around you, that you have cleverly cropped out. It's not clever.
  3. Lose the fancy fonts (thanks Rob). I like me a fancy font. I do. Fancy fonts look great on Pinterest and craft blogs. But unless you are going for a creative type role leave them to the creative types. I recommend just using one font, two at a stretch if you are a little creative. That is it. Also use a fairly normal one. If your resume gets pulled through expensive recruitment software basic fonts and formatting will be your friend.
  4. You don't need to detail your family situation or age. Most employers don't care if you are married, separated, divorced, with 2 kids, 3 dogs, a cat and 2 budgies or whether you are living with an alien. If they do care it's none of their bee's wax and in most developed countries it's illegal to ask. In places where it's not illegal they can ask you at interview where you can tell them in person to mind their bee's wax. It's not relevant to the job.
  5. Don't send the same resume in for every job. Tailor it to each company and opportunity, AND
  6. Yes I know I said 5 don'ts but a friend who works in recruitment (thanks Lynette) made a suggestion about another great don't. It's the section on your resume about your interests. I personally think you should leave this out altogether. If interviewers are interested in you personally, they will ask. If you have to include interests don't put things like "watching TV" or "sleeping" I mean really? One resume I read told me that the person liked to do massage, both kinds. What was I supposed to think about that? I don't remember interviewing that person.

So there you have it folks. Got any other don'ts?

Lisa x

The Resume Series: Resume Basics - the top 10 do's

In times of change and organisational restructuring a good resume is the ticket to your next role. Over this week and the next I'll be covering the basics of resumes. Here is my first post on the topic - the top 10 do's!

Lets face it. Resumes are hard. They are hard because we don't do one very often. They are hard because they get out of date quickly and they are hard because mostly we don't know what a prospective employee is looking for. The job ad may detail a number of things and you may have addressed them in your cover letter and/or resume and you still don't get an interview. Ugh!

I would like to say the process of choosing candidates for interviews is scientific but often it's not. I mean, there is a correlation between choosing resumes that match the selection criteria but it's sometimes a little random. Humans are not particularly rational (despite what some humans tell you) so no matter how closely your resume meets the specification you may or may not get chosen. That's life and unless you have been discriminated against you should just move on. Big companies now use sophisticated resume selection and recruitment software but I'm a little sceptical about how effective it is, though there isn't much choice when you receive hundreds of applicants for any given role.

So what are my top tips for creating or updating your resume?
  1. Include basic contact information:  You don't need to provide two email addresses, two phone numbers and your home address. Cut it down. I think a mobile phone number and an email address is adequate. Put them in the header or footer. Will look good and be easy to find.
  2. Have a "normal" email address. No and no sexymamma81@gmail. Also don't use your current work email address. That's just bad form.
  3. Be crystal clear. You can always say something in less words. Make sure you do. Be succinct and if you are not good at this get a friend to read it for you and ruthlessly edit.
  4. Be short. I have seen a candidate for a senior role get the job on a one page resume. It can be done. I think 2-3 pages is fine. No more. 
  5. Stick to the highlights. No one wants to read War and Peace. No one. I promise, your work history is not that interesting.
  6. Be relevant. To the job vacancy. That is all. You look like an idiot when you apply for a job with nothing that matches what the company is looking for. Overseas students pay attention.
  7. Spell check. I can forgive one, maybe two spelling mistakes or typos. More pedantic people will not and if writing is part of the job, you are done for.
  8. Only include your highest and most relevant qualifications. A massive list of certificates obtained by attending time management 101, team building for dummies and "intro to excel" have no place on your resume.
  9. Don't flick it. Online job boards make it very easy to apply for jobs. Don't apply for everything that looks even slightly up your alley. It wastes everyone's time.
  10. Tailor your resume for every role you apply for. That might sound like hard work but you should be choosey what you apply for and not apply for that many roles at the same time. 
 What would you like to hear about in regards to resumes? What do you struggle with?

Lisa xx