What is a "good" resume?
Updated: May 10
A resume is the marketing document which you submit in association with a job application. It contains personal information, educational background, employment history, and skills. The idea of a resume is to "sell" yourself as the best person for this position... But what is a good resume? And how do you make the right impression?
Everyone will tell you that there is no such thing as a "good" or a "bad" resume... Yet that is not really the whole truth. A resume defines you to the employer/ job agency, and as such, you are expected to meet a certain standard.
To write a "good" resume, you need 8 things:
1. A professional-sounding email address.
That means, you don't use something like "happychicken" or "thahotstuff" or "blackops501", but rather, you use an email address which captures your real name (firstname.lastname@example.org) or you can use part of your name and your desired/ actual occupation in your email address (email@example.com). Gmail and AOL both have options to personalize an email address. Even if this is ONLY used for your job applications, it will help immensely.
2. To use basic fonts only.
That means, you should be typing your resume in Word or OpenOffice and selecting the fonts that are basic and common. Basic fonts include: Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman. Curly, wild and comic-sans-type fonts are (generally) not advised for a good resume... A resume with basic fonts has the benefit of being clear to the reader as well as the AI and computers that (these days) search documents for key words.
3. A tailored abstract.
It is essential to have a personal statement at the start of your resume, which is tailored to the job you are applying for. This statement is an abstract of your resume. It is a short way for you to introduce yourself, noting your key positive traits and experience. So, do not highlight your diagnosis here; instead write about what you're currently doing/ studying, and how you're keen to contribute your skills and if you have any achievements. This is a two-sentence statement that makes you sound "WOW". You can title this statement a 'professional profile' or 'executive summary'.
4. To use reverse chronological order.
When adding in work experience or education, start with your most recent FIRST.
5. To be highly descriptive about work experience.
Your resume needs something under work experience/ employment history, when applying for a job. If you have had paid work recently, take your time to describe your job responsibilities and achievements in the roles. If you have not had any paid employment recently (or never have had a job), consider adding in volunteer roles here, or you can describe what you do at home as if work (i.e. if you live alone, that means you still clean, garden, cook, look after kids, iron, etc; and if you are an artist or self-employed and making no money, that's still a job!). Descriptions matter; they add more keywords for the computers to find and highlight, so really make an effort to describe what you did.
6. Include a "skills" section with expanded information.
A good resume will have a skills section that isn't simply a bullet-pointed list, but has descriptions of how you demonstrate this skill beside it. So, if your skill is: Graphic Design, then add beside it something like: "As demonstrated by my bespoke character designs for ExampleCompany and the logo's project I finished in 2018 for OtherCompany". This makes it really clear that you actually have those skills, and can apply them. Choose your top 4-5 skills and write a short sentence beside them to demonstrate your ability.
7. Make use of white space.
Okay, so we all know you have loads to say, and gosh-darn-it, you can't fit everything into 1-3 pages for your resume... so you cram it in? No, no, no! Remember, you need white space in your resume. This means.... SPACE. Use spaces between sections, and spaces between paragraphs. Think about how it looks on the page. You do not want to overwhelm the reader with words or pictures.
8. Do not write "references upon request".
There is simply no need to write anything about your references on your resume. Of course your references are upon request! A company is not allowed to contact references without your permission, and a resume is simply a document about your work history, so NO NO NO reference information on the resume.
We hope this helps!
Other useful resources:
Resume Builder: https://app.resumegenius.com/resume-builder/start
Youth Central Resume Help: https://www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au/jobs-and-careers/applying-for-a-job/what-is-a-resume/how-to-write-a-resume
What's Next, Australian Govt Job Help: https://whatsnext.jobs.gov.au/improve-your-r%C3%A9sum%C3%A9