10 Do’s and Don’ts When Writing Your Resume

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10 Do’s and Don’ts When Writing Your Resume

In this article, we’ll clearly lay out five ways to help make your resume standout and five resume mistakes you definitely want to avoid.

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Your most powerful tool when job hunting is your resume. Even though times have changed in the job hunting and recruitment world, the almighty resume still reigns supreme.

200 top-tier HR representatives revealed in a survey that despite the growing popularity of social media platforms such as LinkedIn, the majority of employers still consider them a secondary means for assessing an applicant’s suitability.

In this article, we’ll clearly lay out five ways to help make your resume standout and five resume mistakes you definitely want to avoid. 

5 CV Don'ts

1. It’s generic

When writing a resume it’s important to remember that one size does not fit all, so be sure to tweak and tailor your resume for every job application you send off. Make sure the skills and experiences you are highlighting match the skills they mention in the job description. If you can’t be bothered customising your resume for what could be the job of a lifetime, then you’re just asking for failure.

Keeping your resume the exact same for every job will fail to give your application that wow factor. Recruiters look at CVs day in; day out, and they can smell a resume that has zero love put into it from a mile away.

2. Your resume is littered with errors

If your reading this and can’t immediately spot the spelling error in this sentence, then you’re in trouble. Typos and errors (like the one above. Hint: it’s the second word) can cost you big time!

Proof read your resume as you go and several times once you’re done, then when you think you’ve got it all correct, have an eagle-eyed friend or two read over it to double and triple check you’re error free.

3. Too loooong

How long should a resume be? One of the most common questions out there!

It’s can be hard to find that just right balance when writing a resume. You waffle on too much and you bore and lose your reader, keep it too short and you risk skipping important achievements and skills.

There are no set rules when it comes to resume length and it all comes down to experience. For those just entering the job market, then a single page is sufficient, however, those with several years’ experience up their sleeve two or three pages is ideal.

LinkedIn recruiter, Glen Cathey says you need to make your resume as long as you need it as long as you keep it relevant to the role. Think precise and concise without overlooking the important stuff.

4. You’ve added a personal interests section – oh dear

Remember what we said above about your resume including only relevant stuff? Well, hobbies aren’t really relevant. Yes, it’s lovely you like to play soccer, cook and spend summers running along the beach, however, it’s just simply unnecessary. Save it for the interview and use it as an opportunity to make small talk and connect with your interviewer.

There is one exception to this rule… You’ve recently left school/ graduated from your studies and have very little work experience to list. Then it’s okay to list some hobbies/interests – ideally ones that have helped build skills relevant to the job you’re pursuing. E.g. coaching your little brother’s footy team has built your organisation and leadership skills.


5. Cliché overload

Let’s me guess, your resume features the words “passionate”, “motivated” and “creative”? These are among some of the most overused words when job hunting and they’re failing to grab the recruiter’s attention.

Hot tip – make a thesaurus your new best friend.

Okay enough with the negatives, let’s make things more upbeat around here and discuss what you can do to ensure your resume is done right. 

Resume looking a little empty? Study with TrainSmart Australia and stand out from the crowd.

5 CV Do's

1. You’ve included a cover letter

If you’re serious about landing the job, then including a well-written cover letter is a must!  Your cover letter is just as important as your resume, as it’s typically the first document employers read when considering your application. Done right, your cover letter will grab the recruiter’s attention and highlight your skills and qualifications for the specific role you’re applying for.

Note: The answer is always yes when it comes to including a cover letter – whether the job ad specifically asks for one or not. According to Business Insider Australia, “about half of all HR reps say they won’t even read a resume if the candidate hasn’t submitted a cover letter. So, unless the employer explicitly says they don’t want a cover letter, write one.”

2. It’s packed with keywords

What are keywords you ask? Keywords are specific words or phrases used in the job ad that relates to a candidate’s skills or experience. E.g. ‘strong leadership skills’, ‘sound understanding of InDesign’, ‘familiar with MYOB’ etc…

Studies show that the average recruiter scans a resume for six seconds before deciding if the applicant is a good fit for the role, so not only do you have to make sure your content is clear and concise, you have to make sure you highlight what the employer is looking for.

Stocking up on keywords in your resume can be the key to getting your CV over the line and through the door for an interview.

3. Ensure your design is on point

Whatever you choose to include and exclude on your CV, you should always remember to present it in a neat, clear and attractive way.

Try downloading a professionally designed resume template and ensure your application stands out in all the right ways!

4. Back up your claims

We’re all for a little modesty but who doesn’t love a good opportunity to shout their successes from the rooftops! When fleshing out your role and responsibilities, give evidence that your skills are as great as you say they are through relevant examples.

Remember it’s ok to have a longer resume as long as the information you include is relevant and you’re succinct in how you write it.

5. Seek help if need be

Writing is not everyone’s strong point  – and that’s okay. The important thing is to know there is help out there.

Ask the experts and reach out to a resume writer!

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