Having a quality resume is highly important when applying for jobs; it is an employer’s first point of contact with you, and allows them to assess not only your qualifications and experience, but also your writing style and ability to cohesively present information. Particularly in the graduate market, where jobs are often highly competitive, the difference between a good resume and a poor one can result in the progression of a candidate in the application process, or them being unsuccessful.
The Employment and Careers Development Centre at Monash stresses that resumes should be concise; that is to say, they should be focused to the particular job you are applying for, addressing stated requirements and providing relevant information about yourself. For young graduates, it is usually expected that resumes will be between two and three pages in length, and should be formatted in an organised and logical fashion. The most common style of resume, and the most recommended for recent graduates, is reverse chronological. Achievements and qualifications should be presented starting with the most recent, and it is common to split experience into sub-sections of “Professional Experience”, that is roles pertaining directly to the desired job, and “General Experience”, that is less relevant positions.
In regards to content, personal details should be clearly stated, making sure that any contact details or email addresses sound professional. In the case that graduates are applying for positions abroad, international codes should be included, as should citizenship and residency details. Education qualifications should be clearly stated, although the Development Centre suggests that listing all subjects should be avoided. Institutions, qualification titles, majors and minors and relevant completion dates must be stated, and if graduates have completed a number of particularly relevant subjects listing up to three is recommended.
If graduates have received any awards or scholarships, in particular at a tertiary level, they can enhance the appeal of a resume. It is not essential that awards are academic; indeed, many employers look for achievements that recognise leadership, sport or community based skills. Specification of community involvement in particular can be effective in convincing employers that graduates have strong initiative and interpersonal and organizational skills.
It is also important that applicants list what they consider to be their skills, and any professional associations or affiliations. Interests and hobbies should finally be included. Graduates should then supply the names of three individuals to act as referees, all of whom should have witnessed the applicant’s capabilities in either an academic or professional context. With all of this complete, the resume should read professionally and impressively demonstrate the applicant’s attributes!