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Work and Career: Resume Writing

I don't know about you but I always found the resume writing the hardest part of the job search. So many organsations have different expectations and requirements for resumes that it just gets confusing. How much infomation do you list down? What contact information do I need? Have I got too many pages?

 

The University Career Center's CDC's Do's & Don'ts helped me write my resume and I wanted to share this with all of you. They have a list of tips and tricks to resume writing that can help guide you through this process.

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

I always find this to be a tough part of job hunting too.

 

Thanks for the link! Smiley Happy

I know that one of the DO's - Customize for individual readers (when advantageous) - has actually helped me to feel more confident about the skills I had that could translate into the job I was trying to apply for.

 

My original resume was just generic, stating random things that I'd done... I started making it a bit more specific when applying for professional roles, matching my experiences with what the job details ask for. Then, I wanted to apply for a job in retail. Instead of leaving the same points up there, I decided to emphasize where I'd worked as part of a team and communicated (rather than tell them how well I wrote a report on the structural verification of a bracket!)... While I was doing that, I noticed that I actually had done more to prepare me for that sort of role than I'd originally thought.


Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

I've written my resume but am finding it really hard to write a cover letter, anyone able to help!?

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

Hey florenceforever! I've always found before writing a cover letter it's best to just take some time to think about why you really want the job that you're applying for and also what you've got to offer the company/ organisation. I like to start by writing a little about myself - what I'm currently studying etc - and then go into why I'd like the job and what I've got to offer in terms of that job. I always try to end it positively too by writing something like 'I look forward to hearing from you soon' before my name.

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing


@JustThatGirl wrote:

Hey florenceforever! I've always found before writing a cover letter it's best to just take some time to think about why you really want the job that you're applying for and also what you've got to offer the company/ organisation. I like to start by writing a little about myself - what I'm currently studying etc - and then go into why I'd like the job and what I've got to offer in terms of that job. I always try to end it positively too by writing something like 'I look forward to hearing from you soon' before my name.


I agree. And you just keep the same cover letter but alter it for different offers

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

The first thing I do is ask my friends what qualities I have and whats changed since the last job. And with Resume's and Cover letters, its better to be honest about what you can do and always take the initiative, e.g. add a request for an interview at the end of the resume/cover letter, something that makes them think, "yes, this is our (wo)man!!!".

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Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

I find the idea of going to an interview the hardest and one that provokes the most anxiety in me. I've never really had to do a formal interview before and I'd just think it would be hard to have to answer questions on the spot and make a good impression Smiley Frustrated

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

I had luck when I got my job, I literally walked in, gave the manager my resume, got an interview immediately and walked out with a job the same day. All it takes is some self-confidence! Smiley Happy

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

High five to supersky for the advice. I agree that tailoring your resume to the job is important.

If you really really want a particular job, tailor everything to what they're after. For example, if the most important part of the job description is being able to manage a team of people, when writing info about previous roles, I make sure I address that particular part of the new job description.

 

I also think it is critically important to address the needs of the person who will be reading your resume. I break mine down into the following sections:

  1. Key points - 3 bullet points, each of which highlight what makes me perfect for the job
  2. Experience - my 3 previous roles (if relevant) detailing what I did and how it relates to this new job, plus the 3 roles before those, without detailed descriptions, just to help show the path I have followed to get to this point
  3. Education - any tertiary certificates/degrees; if none, where I completed Year 12.
  4. Skills - anything specifically related to the job - typing speed, able to use Adobe Photoshop, nunchuk skills
  5. Interests/Hobbies - e.g. travel, snowboarding, lolcats, storm chasing
  6. "Referees available upon request"

Points 1 & 2 are on page 1; 3-6 on page 2. My name, contact number and email address are in the header. "Page X of Y" in the footer.

 

As for the cover letter, I like to say "I'm the ideal candidate for the job, because…" and then list three reasons why, ensuring I'm addressing the three most important/essential points of the JD. If you think something conflicts between your work experience and what the job requires, I think it's okay to identify that in your cover letter. e.g. "My project management experience is not directly from the graphic design industry but from a very similar industry: industrial design. I'm keen to make the jump across industries and believe I can bring a lot of unique insight to your organisation."

I also once scored a job without meeting all the requirements (i.e. I wasn't a Journalism student & I was three days past the application cut-off date) by addressing those points directly in the cover letter and saying something like "I not only have the skills you seek but am also not too humble to admit that I am also quite talented in this area. You'd really be making a mistake by not hiring me." They called me the next day asking to interview me. An extra person sat in on the interview just because they wanted to "meet the guy that wrote that cover letter".

People say "the cover letter is your chance to introduce yourself"; it's also your chance to tell the person reviewing the CVs "Hey! I'm not just applying because I need to fill out my job diary for Centrelink — I don't want any job; I want this job."

 


@Cassie wrote:
I find the idea of going to an interview the hardest and one that provokes the most anxiety in me. I've never really had to do a formal interview before and I'd just think it would be hard to have to answer questions on the spot and make a good impression Smiley Frustrated

It's not so bad. Here's a tip: unless it's a big organisation with an HR department doing the interviewing, the person interviewing you feels just as awkward as you do. Have some prepared answers in your head for their stupid questions ("Tell me about a time when you weren't able to please everybody and how you handled it.").

 

My number one interview tip is this: They're not interviewing you; you're interviewing them. If you treat it like that, you'll be surprised by how different the interview feels. They're more likely to let their guard down, or they'll look for ways to impress you. Let them ask all of their questions of you, but make sure you have at least three of your own (and leave the remuneration question till last "Oh! I nearly forgot… what's it pay? haha"). You'll appear genuinely interested in the role… but it will also look like you're comfortable waiting for the right job for you. One organisation I interviewed for ended up changing the role and doubling the salary based on my questions and requests. They bent over backwards to hire me; shame it turned out to be a terrible job.

 

Phew! That was long! Hope someone found it useful!

Re: Work and Career: Resume Writing

Wow that was a long response, thanks for sharing!

""Tell me about a time when you weren't able to please everybody and how you handled it.")."

See even with that example question my mind goes blank which is what I'd be afraid of happening in a real interview because you never know what they're going to ask. Ugh.

You sound good an interviews if they doubled the salary when you came along! I want your skilllz lol.