The Job-Winning Formula: The Do’s and Don’ts on Effective Resume Writing

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The Job-winning Resume

Social media might be an alternative to the more traditional resume form, however knowing how to apply the correct principles to the non-social counterpart, can go a long way in making your job application stand out, and help you score that interview you’ve been waiting for.


As with all efforts, you want your resume to:

a) Be selected by the hiring manager for an interview, and
b) Deliver a captivating image of who you are, whilst highlighting your professional value to the company in an honest and compelling way.

To do this, it’s useful to apply the following principles of effective resume writing.

1. DO tailor your resume

There is nothing worse than sending out a resume that is not catered to essential criteria. The hiring manager wants to know how you’ll be able to help the company grow by applying the skills necessary to carry out tasks, so make sure that your resume is targeted to the position you seek. Carefully observe criteria. If the role requires certain skills and qualifications, then make sure that you’re a good fit and that your resume is a good reflection of this.

2. DO make your skills shine

It’s always important to have the right skill sets to work in your industry, and knowing how to highlight these within your resume can either make or break your chances of being considered for an interview. Begin by examining the job criteria, and then tailoring each of your specialties accordingly. When delving into your skills, state what each one is, and then proceed by providing examples which demonstrate your application of the skill, and evaluating your performance. Conducting an inventory of your skills is never easy, but there are useful tools available which can ease the process. A Free Skills Review might be beneficial to help you evaluate your more functional skills, whilst determining your suitability for your career.

3. DO give your qualifications prime space

Your qualifications are the first indication of the skills and achievements that you possess. Simply stating your skills will have no effect, if you don’t have qualifications with which to underpin your claims, so give them prime space within your resume to increase your chances of being considered for an interview.

You’d be surprised by how many qualifications you’re actually eligible for, and just how great of an effect upping your qualifications at the Certificate, Diploma and/or Advanced Diploma levels can have on giving your resume and career the ultimate boost. There are numerous options available for achieving qualifications without having to take any time off work, or engaging in lengthy study such. In fact, Skills Recognition and Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) have made it possible for people to entirely use their existing skills, knowledge and experience to receive qualifications in as little as weeks. This means you could be upping your qualifications from the comfort of your home or office without undertaking any courses or classroom study, and all in time for that job interview.

4. DO use data and examples to illustrate your points

Using examples which quantify the impact you had on a company, illustrate your skills and experience by proving there is sizzle to the steak. Any accomplishment can be quantified, and using bullet points, facts and figures can help you demonstrate your skills more successfully.

5. DO pay attention to design

If you thought your content was the only thing warranting attention, then think again. You should be paying just as much attention to design. After all, if your words are not properly structured, there is little chance the hiring manager will give the content a second, interview-scoring glance. For most creative industries, a portfolio-based resume is the standard, however even professional resumes need to follow some simple guidelines, such as using bullet points and horizontal lines to separate different sections of your resume. A carefully thought out arrangement is better than an unstructured mess!


1. DON’T make things up.

Remember, honesty is the best policy. It’s one thing to demonstrate that you are a good fit by tailoring your resume to job criteria, but it’s another thing entirely to make false claims, such as possessing qualities you don’t have. The truth always has a habit of coming out.

If you find yourself lacking the skills required to take on a new job, and are looking to increase your job performance, begin by updating your knowledge bank. Consider taking your current and more functional skill sets, and giving them the ‘training treatment’. This can be achieved by attending seminars, workshops, undergoing workplace training or taking an online course. Various Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) in Australia offer simple, yet effective courses that can help reinvigorate your career and improve your skills.

2. DON’T include outdated or irrelevant experience

Nothing will set you below the interview-consideration line like outdated experience irrelevant to the role you’re applying for. Give your recent experience the most weight, and only include positions which demonstrates your suitability to the role. While it’s useful to include volunteer experience in your resume, it’s hardly likely that employers will be swayed by that check-out role you held 15 years ago at a local supermarket, if you’re applying for a nursing position. It doesn’t demonstrate your suitability to the role at hand.

3. DON’T fall victim to information overload.

Your resume is not an autobiography – it’s your personal ad. To sell yourself as effectively as possible, you need to consider the quality of your words above their quantity. Remove fluff and make every word count, giving each bullet point no more than one to two lines of text. Focus on your key accomplishments and address the company’s needs. Also avoid using personal pronouns such as “I” or “my”. The Hiring Manager doesn’t care about your life story. He or she cares about your professional worth.

4. DON’T provide personal data

Personal data, such as your marital status, gender, age, religion and other non-work-related data can be incorrectly, and at time unconsciously, used to discriminate against applicants. Avoid placing this information in your resume, especially when it does not add anything of value.

Apply this job-winning, interview-scoring formula and watch your career prospects grow!

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