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Five ways to improve your resume

Whether you’re applying for a part-time job to fit around study commitments or you’re carefully polishing an application for a professional position, the layout and content in your resume can make or break your chances of landing the role. Here’s a guide to ensure you’ve got the competitive edge that you need.

Make it easy to read at a glance

Some prospective employers will scan your resume quickly – especially if there are many applicants for the role. Using a template such as those provided in Microsoft Word or the Australian Government’s JobAccess will help you break down key information into a logical format. Try to keep the document to two pages and provide a reverse chronology of your previously held positions, beginning from your current or most recent job.

Share your credentials with the world

Gone are the days of paper resumes. A professional online presence is imperative. A LinkedIn profile allows you connect with colleagues, people, and skill terminologies in your field. Add the profile URL to the resumes you submit. You can also keep an eye on the sort of skills employers are looking for. LinkedIn’s list of 25 skills that can get you hired in 2016 will get you up to speed. Keep in mind that prospective employers will probably do a general search for you, so ensure the settings on your personal accounts are up to date and any posts on public profiles, such as Twitter, don’t tarnish your professional reputation. If you have a portfolio, you might consider building a website to promote your work.

Tailor your messages for every application

Trotting out the same details in every resume and cover letter won’t work. Research the company you’re applying to and demonstrate that you’ve understood their ethos. Former Google recruiter Scott Bacon tells Fast Company that you should be able to highlight transferable skills for that role. But, he cautions, don’t go overboard with buzzwords and jargon. You’ll also need to ensure you’ve addressed any specific requirements in the application including cover letters, portfolios or supporting materials. Overlooking extra requests could render you ineligible.

Remove the fluff

Remove photos of yourself, fancy fonts and lengthy descriptions of your objective. According to Seek, there’s no need to provide an excessive amount of personal information such as your date of birth, marital status, religion or nationality. Tempt the employer with your experience and tell them a bit more about yourself when you’ve got a face-to-face interview. Likewise, there’s no need to document every role you’ve ever held. Prioritise your most recent roles and responsibilities over the part-time job you had when you were 14. If your experience is limited, be sure to emphasise volunteer positions and qualifications.

Be prepared to talk about it

Once you’ve got it all written down, become familiar with what you’ve stated. When it comes time for an interview, you’ll need to be able to discuss your skills and how you can apply them to the role. Get a friend or family member to read your resume and quiz you. It’ll help you to expand on the points you’ve made on paper and prepare for curly questions from prospective employers.

For more information about writing job applications check out Deakin University’s resume tips.

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