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5 Steps to Write a Resume

Posted by Sasha

According to Ayers, on average, employers spend under 4 minutes examining a candidate’s resume, while 20% of recruiters will make up their mind within 1 minute, which does not give you long to make an impression. 1 in 5 recruiters will reject a candidate before reaching the end of their resume (Source: New College of the Humanities), so in order to get the job you’re applying for, how do you write a resume?

1. Quick Fixes

When reading resumes, the top reasons for rejection are often quick fixes. The most common reason (59%) for rejecting a resume is due to typos and grammatical errors, followed closely by an overly casual tone (50%), excessively long resume (47%) and the use of cliches (50%). Of these cliches, the worst can be very common, such as “I can work independently” (47%) and “I’m a hard worker” (42%). Other things to avoid include writing in the third person, use of pictures, graphs or emojis and “snazzy” borders and backgrounds (Source: New College of the Humanities).

2. Spelling and Grammar

When applying for graduate programs, it is important to take certain steps into account when writing a resume. In terms of spelling and grammar, it is crucial to use consistent spelling with the region the job is in, not overuse capital letters and read through the resume aloud before submitting, double checking with another person for extra help. Visually, a resume should not include pictures or charts. The layout should be consistent, with restrained, black font and the use of bullet points to make your resume easier to read. In fact, read the resume out loud to yourself before submitting it.

3. Work Experience

The content of your resume is vital to the success of your application. Did you know that when writing a resume the length should not exceed 1 page, while a CV can be longer (2-3 pages). Be sure to include correct contact details and most importantly, do not lie. Include previous work experience, making sure to list career history in reverse chronological order. Also include tangible achievements of responsibilities in previous jobs, for example, “Devised new procedures which saved energy costs by 20% within 1 year”. Include any extracurricular activities you have partaken in previously and briefly mention hobbies and interests.

4. Know the System

When it comes to reading the resumes, there is a point system which assigns points based on different parts of the resume. A computer will cull the bottom percentile of resumes. To be successful, be sure to mention specific skills outlined in the job advert and tailor your application to the specific job, don’t be generic. Also use keywords that relate to your degree, the computer will pick up on these. Finally, keep online profiles updated to ensure they are consistent with the resume you are providing.

5. Expert Advice

Other advice from recruiters highlights the competitive nature of the labour market, meaning one mistake when writing your resume can ruin your chances of employment. Further, Amanda Augustine, career expert at TheLadders.com, suggests to “identify common keywords, terminology and key phrases that routinely pop up in the job descriptions of your target role and incorporate them into your resume… This will help you make it past the initial screenings and on to the recruiter or hiring manager.”

Keep in mind these do’s and don’ts of writing a resume to give yourself the best chance of getting the best graduate job for you.

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