26.3 How Do I Write A Winning Resume? / by Ilsa Melchiori


1. Keep it simple, stupid!In regards to the layout of your resume, it is best to keep in clean and simple. It's often tempting to create some avant-garde masterpiece because you think it will help you get noticed, however from my experience a well designed, well curated, simple layout stands out more, and speak volumes over an overly worked attempt to stand out.

2. Show yourself! Include a nice, friendly looking photo of yourself. This is something I've always done and I cannot tell you how many positive comments I've had in interviews about it. "You just looked so nice and smiley!", "You looked like someone I'd want to work with", etc. The trick here is getting the right photo! Keep it to a portrait style. Make sure you are smiling and look approachable. Pay attention to your outfit. Go for something nice, yet conservative. Don't include that photo of you in the lace bralette at a music festival, there a time and place. Pay attention to the background! Again maybe don't choose a photo from a boozy night out, just in case your friend is vomiting in the background and you didn't notice.

3. Tailor it to be relevant! Most people think they have to list their previous work experience in chronological order. I find, however, that it is best to tailor the order specifically for the job you are applying for. My tip, start with your current/last job, then list experience based on relevance. If you are applying for a job as a Designer it's better to first showcase your experience in relevant fields as opposed to your work as a waitress. On a similar note, it's also sometimes necessary to curate/edit your experience. You don't have to include every single thing you have done, just pick the things that are relevant.

4. Summerise! I like to start my resumes with a personal statement. This is a short paragraph summarising everything that is covered in my resume. This way someone can read this and then decide if they want to delve in further. This is where you need to really sell yourself!

5. Understand the importance of good references! I always say that you should have 3 references on your resume. This being said you want them to be great (real) references, so if you only feel you have 2, only put 2 down. The point of references are to make you look like the best you/ best potential employee. Also, make sure you actually list your references and their contact details on your resume. I know a lot of people who will instead write 'references available on request'. Personally, I think this looks poor, and as if you couldn't come up with any in time. Tip: When you leave a job, consider asking your boss if they will be a future employment reference for you, grab their mobile numbers (in case they leave the company in the future). Then, when you are applying for jobs make sure you flick them a text with a heads up/would they mind. You don't want them randomly getting a call out of the blue and not being prepared.

6. Keep it Concise! Try and keep it to 1-3 pages total. You are not writing a PHD thesis! I know this can be difficult, but it comes back to what I mentioned earlier about curating and keeping it simple.

7. Own it! Make sure you have your name and contact information clearly listed up top. I normally put my name as a page header in a large font size to ensure it stands out. ALWAYS include your address, phone number, email address and MAYBE your availability, Instagram, website, twitter etc if you think it's relevant (there's my favourite word again!)

8. Link! A sneaky way of including more content in your resume, without in fact cramming more onto the page, is to clearly link to your website, online portfolio, Instagram, blog, etc

9. SPELLCHECK! I have mild dyslexia, and as a result, I struggle a lot with spelling and grammar in my writing. I just can't see it when I make a mistake! However, nothing bothers me more than reading other people's writing and seeing heaps of mistakes *. Firstly, do a spellcheck! Secondly, download and use Grammarly, this is a fantastic free Chrome extension that is essentially spellcheck for grammar. Lastly, have someone else (or several people) read over it.

10. Have fun! At the end of it all, try to show a little bit of personality. All the points listed above are simply my tips and things that I've found to work over the years. But at the end of the day, people hire people, no one is perfect, and I'm not entirely sure there is such a thing as a 'perfect resume'.

Happy job hunting!

Image by Ilya Pavlov via unsplash 

*I'm sorry if that happens to you when reading posts on this blog, I try to triple check everything!