7 Resume Tips

Your resume (CV in British English) has one mission and one mission only: to get you a job interview. Your resume is usually the first impression an employer has of you. And as 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression', you'd better get it right first time.

Tip 1: Use design that demands attention

Employers don't have time to read through each of your job descriptions to know if you have the skills they need. The design of your resume must do it for them. Your resume should be concise, well-organised and relevant. It should emphasise the most important and relevant points about your experience, skills and education.

Tip 2: Use 'power words'

To control the image that an employer has of you, use power words that match the position you want. Certain words are used frequently by recruiters in their job descriptions. You should study recruiters' advertisements and job descriptions and use these words in your resume and covering letter.

The most powerful words are verbs. And the most powerful verbs are action verbs (describing dynamic activity, as opposed to state).

If, for example, you are applying for a management post, you should use as many management skills power words as possible - and use them in the active form, not passive.

Here are some teaching skills power words:

  • advise
  • clarify
  • coach
  • elicit
  • enable
  • encourage
  • explain
  • facilitate
  • guide
  • inform
  • instruct
  • persuade
  • stimulate
  • train

Tip 3: A number is worth 1,000 words

People react to numbers! Numbers are alive and powerful. They create vivid images in our minds. General statements are easy to ignore. Be specific and use numbers when describing your duties and achievements.

Don't talk about 'managing a major turnover'. Talk about 'managing a $27,000,000 turnover'. Don't talk about 'extensive teaching experience'. Talk about '7,000 teaching hours'. Better still, talk about '7,300 teaching hours' - the more precise a figure, the more real it becomes.

Tip 4: Put important information first

List important information at the beginning of your job descriptions. Put statements in your resume in order of importance, impressiveness and relevance to the job you want. A powerful statement with numbers and power words influences every statement that follows.

Tip 5: Sell benefits, not skills

Holiday companies don't sell holidays. They sell relaxation, adventure, sun, sea and sand (the benefits of a holiday). You should not sell your skills (many other people have the same skills). You should sell the benefits of your skills. When you write your skills and past duties, be careful to explain their benefits to the employer.

Tip 6: Solve your employer's (hidden) needs

Employers want people who can solve problems, not create them! Your resume and cover letter should show how you can solve the employer's problems and needs. And in addition to the skills or needs shown in a job advertisement, an employer may have other needs. You should identify these additional needs and show how you can satisfy them too. But concentrate first on the needs listed in the job advertisement. Your additional solutions should come later, after you already have the employer's attention.

Tip 7: Target the job

You will have more success if you adjust your resume and cover letter for the specific skills an employer is seeking. This means that you would write one resume for one particular job and a different, modified, resume for another job. You 're-package' yourself. In that way, an employer will see immediately that you correspond to the job description. It is not dishonest to 're-package' yourself. You are simply presenting yourself and your skills in the best light for a particular employer. This will help you to get more interviews and allow you to apply for a wider range of jobs.