When writing your resume a great deal of attention needs to be paid to the content of the document. However, before you start writing your resume you need to decide the type you are going to use. There are four (4) types of resumes:

When writing your resume a great deal of attention needs to be paid to the content of the document. However, before you start writing your resume you need to decide the type you are going to use. There are four (4) types of resumes:

Chronological – Ideal for job seekers with a strong, solid work history. Focus is placed on your work history. Your jobs are listed in reverse order starting with your most recent job;
Functional – Ideal for job seekers with gaps in their resumes or who are changing careers. It focuses on your skills and experience rather than your work history.
Combination – In a combination resume you list your skills and experience and then your chronological work history. It is perfect for those who are changing careers and want to showcase the skills they have to offer, along with their strong work background;
Non-traditional – Ideal for creative or technology related jobs. It is an internet based version of your resume, inclusive of graphics, pictures, videos and other forms of digital media.
The following guide is based on a Chronological Resume and will provide information regarding what content should be included in your resume.

Applicant’s Information

There are no set rules for the layout and placement of this information, you may choose to place it as a page header on all pages or only on the first page or even running down the side of each page. What is important is that it is clear and accurate.

The first section of your resume should contain your basic information:

  • Name;
  • Address;
  • Contact details:
    • Email – You need to ensure that your email contact is professional. Email addresses like sexygal123@wherever.com and allstargallis2012@wherever.com are not appropriate for a job application. Try creating an email address like john.doe@wherever.com or jane_doe@wherever.com. They will tell the recruiter who the email is coming from, as well as show a level of professionalism;
    • Telephone – Ensure that the number you list is one that will be answered, especially if you list a family member or friend’s telephone (ensure you get their permission first). Many applicants have missed an opportunity because either they or their contact person were either too “busy” watching television or just thought “if it’s important they will call back later.”;
    • Skype – Let us just hope that your skype address is not something along the lines of shiningstar2014;
    • With the advancement of social media usage your FaceBook and LinkedIn! pages as well as your Twitter handle may be used as part of your contact details. Just remember that, like your email address and skype name, they should be appropriate.
  • Objective or Summary

Many job seekers make the mistake of writing their objective solely about themselves, i.e. speaking about how they can benefit from the position instead of what they bring to the company, for example “To work for a dynamic, fast growing company where I can increase my knowledge of the industry as I advance through the company’s ranks.” What are you offering the company?

A better example of an objective may be “To join an organisation where I can help grow the company’s revenues by applying my knowledge sales to expand the company’s market share.”

Professional Experience

Chronological resumes require that you list your job experience in descending (newest first) order. Ensure that you state the start and end of employment dates as accurately as possible.

Do not reproduce your job descriptions on your resume, listing your job description provides no information about your performance.

Tailor your resume to ensure that your professional experience is directly related to the requirements listed in the job description and speaks to how well you have carried out similar tasks in the past. Providing quantifiable evidence of past performance allows a recruiter to gauge your ability to do the job, e.g. do not write “Was responsible for the sales of goods.” Instead write “Generated sales of $300,000.00 monthly during my first year” or “Consistently exceeded monthly sales quota of $300,000.00 by 25%”.

Recruiters appreciate a brief description of your past employer, as it reduces the research they would be required to do when checking your references. This information may be obtained from the “About Us” section of the company’s website or written from your personal knowledge of the company and its operations. e.g.

“The LASCO Affiliated Companies comprises several businesses involved in manufacturing, packaging and distribution of high quality, nutritious and affordable products.”
Skills

This is a list of skills directly related to the job you are applying to. The skills listed must be demonstrated within your employment history.

Education

Your education can be divided into “Academic Qualification” and “Professional Certification” courses, e.g. you group all Degrees and Diplomas (Academic Qualification) and your Certificates, Workshops and Professional Development courses (Professional Certification Courses).

The usual practice is to use a chronologically ordered list of qualifications attained in which you state:

Academic Qualifications

  • period of study;
  • name of the Institution;
  • type of qualification attained; and
  • any additional information, e.g. specialisations.

Professional Certification Courses

  • date of seminar / workshop or period of study;
  • name of course and facilitating agency / authority / institution e.g. Real Estate Sales Course – University of Technology in association with the Real Estate Board.
  • Additional Information

Additional information like Professional Affiliations; Community or Voluntary Service Organisations Membership; Awards Received; Interests and Hobbies; and other such information may be placed after education.

Be careful to research the corporate culture and values of the company you are applying to before enclosing your “Hobbies and Interests”. You really would not want to apply to “Administrative Assistant to the President of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (The Mormon Church)” and write that your “Interests” include “Going clubbing with friends”.

Some applicants opt not to include additional information and instead go straight to their references.

References

It is acceptable to not list your references on your resume. You could simply put “References available upon request”. However, if you are going to list your references then they should be people with whom you have worked either as a superior, colleague or subordinate and we recommended that you get their permission before listing them as references.

Quality Checks

Ensure that you proofread your resume (especially your contact details) and if possible ask a friend to proofread it as well. And please remember that Word’s spellchecker only checks for wrong spellings, it will not show “their” as incorrect when it should have been “there”.

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