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How to write a winning resume

Combine a killer resume with a well written, tailored cover letter and you have the best opportunity to be invited for an interview

Think of your resume as your most important marketing tool. It needs to shoot you to the top of the must-interview pile and leave the person hiring with no doubt that you'd be an excellent addition to their team. Here are some of the most important parts of a winning resume.

Tailor it

Like a cover letter, you need to tailor your resume to fit each job application. It's not enough to fire off a generic resume for every job. Go through the job description of the position you're applying for, read up on the company and then make sure you address every point in some way in your resume by highlighting experience, qualifications and skills that match those they're after. Take out anything that has no relevance or is out of date.

Length

Your resume should be no longer than one or two pages and should be easy to read. The person hiring should be able to quickly scan and pick out key words and relevant experience, so make use of bullet points and concise sentences. And don't fill up space by listing every single course you've taken over the last decade – pick the most relevant and condense the others into a sentence.

Order

Make sure you put the most relevant experience for the job first. Work experience, as well as qualifications, should be ordered with the most recent first, but only if they're relevant to the job.

Personal statements

It's a good idea to include a couple of sentences at the top of your resume that highlight key aspects of your experience, education and skills, as well as your work ethic/personality. This helps the person reading to gain a quick understanding of who you are and what you'll bring to the organisation.

Hobbies and interests

Include a line or two at the end of your resume about what you like to do outside of work. This is one of the only chances you have to show your personality, who you are and what you might be like to work with. Include interests and other things like volunteering, as well as any awards you've won – all this helps show your commitment, drive and motivation.

Combine a killer resume with a well written, tailored cover letter and you have the best opportunity to be invited for an interview. And don't be afraid to speak to your TAFE NSW lecturers, or contact student services for career development advice.