The No-Bullshit Guide To Resume Writing

Resumes are an amazing way to showcase yourself to employers and…

Shut-up, Karen.

Let's cut the shit. Resumes suck.

You have to present yourself as the perfect candidate even if you're not qualified.

You have to pretend to have a fierce passion for the job even if you're applying to Maccas.

And you have to spend all this time building a damn resume when most managers will stare it at for a few seconds before throwing it in the bin.

Not cool, corporate dudes.

But the reality is, resumes are the entry point for many jobs. They're the first impression most employers will have of you. So they need to be good.

The other reality is, unless you’ve inherited a shitload of cash, you're going to have to work. Because Capitalism. So you need to play the game.

The not-so-terrible news is that resumes are not as difficult as they're made out to be. Many of the resume tips you find online are written by corporate believers whose social interaction skills match that of a Dyson vacuum cleaner.

Don't listen to them.

 

Here are the basics of writing a solid resume without the bullshit.

1) Know Who You Are

If you don't know anything about yourself beyond your qualifications, your resume will lack the confidence that captures a reader. It will be as empty as your sense of self. But don't run away just yet. Hear me out, please.

You don't need to become a levitating monk before you can write your resume. But having something meaningful to say when asked about yourself will give a better impression than a blank stare. Confidence is attractive. Use it.

Here are some prompts to get you started:

  • What do I enjoy doing?

  • Why do I enjoy it?

  • If I had no limitations in life, what would I choose to do?

  • Why?

  • If my friends had to describe me in three words, what would they say?

  • What's actually important to me in life (and not just what I'm expected to answer)?

You're more than just a worker. Develop your character so that your resume shows a rich human who knows their worth.

2) Use A Clear Structure

Nothing screams I don't want this job more than a resume that's all over the place.

Pro-tip: if it hurts their eyes to look at, they're not going to look at it.

Structure your resume so that it's easy on the eyes.

Put your Personal Details at the top (no photo because discrimination etc.). A short Professional Summary goes next (don't skip this part), which sums up your work experience, key skills, qualifications and attitude. Make these relevant to the job you're applying for. Then Work Experience, from newest to oldest, any Education and Training you've done and then any Additional Skills you have (include any awards and memberships). Finally, best not to include any Reference details. Simply put "references available upon request" under that heading.

You can find a Resume Structure Template here. You're welcome.

Resume Structure Template, A Copy Above
.docx
Download DOCX • 54KB

3) Use Human Language

There's a lot of pressure to sound 'corporate' when writing a resume, but most times it just sounds confusing more than anything else. Please don't be that person.


If a manager can't understand what you're saying, they're probably not going to hire you (pro-tip: just because they're a manager, it doesn't mean they're highly educated or sophisticated). Write your resume as if you're having a conversation with an older relative (or someone you wouldn't use slang with), and then go back and update it lightly to make it a bit more professional.


That's it.

Two more things: use consistent tense in your language. For example, don't say 'Managed team of 12', then in another sentence, 'Managing team of 5'. Pick one and be consistent. Also, don't be afraid to use the first person perspective ("I achieved this"). Your resume is about you, so own it.

4) Get Feedback

If a professional writer can't skip this step, then neither can you.


Here's the thing: when we've read the same thing over and over, our brain can fill in any gaps and errors without us realising. But a manager reading it for the first time will probably see those gaps, and it's not a good look. Send your resume to someone who can give you feedback on it, and ask them to be honest with you so that you can improve, but not so honest that you curl up into the fetal position for three days wondering why your parents gave birth to you.

Now stop smirking and read on.

5) Review It

Last step, pay attention.


Step away from the resume for at least a day, the longer the better (that's what she… never mind). Come back to the resume with fresh eyes and chances are you'll find errors and opportunities for improvements that you swear didn't exist the day before.

Fix up any errors, add any missing pieces and double-check your contact details are correct. And if you're making edits in Review mode, be sure to Accept All Changes before you send it off.

Look over it one last time and make sure the overall feeling you get from the resume is positive.

And that's it my friend!


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Now you can confidently proclaim that telling Brad the project is on track on the way out of the toilet was "internal stakeholder liaison, ensuring cross-portfolio consistency and accountability in line with strategic objectives, refined budgets and concurrent timelines."

Congratulations, you're ready to become a CEO. *wipes tear*

 

Oh, and if for any reason you can't do any of the above, call me instead and I'll happily tell everyone how amazing you are : )

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