Keep it lean, make ‘em keen.
With summer jobs popping up left, right and centre, it’s time to whip that resume into shape. Here are are some quick tips to apply to each CV section.
Most of this advice is about trying to maximise the space available. Resumes for seasonal roles shouldn’t be longer than two pages, so you need to be super thrifty with your words.
Cover letters often get ignored in the lead up to peak season because of the volume of applications businesses receive. This means you need to include a quick personal summary at the top of your resume to include the key elements of your cover letter. For example:
“Sales professional with four years’ retail experience in women’s fashion. Have a proven record of maintaining high levels of customer service, stocktaking, and adhering to budgets. Available to work Monday to Saturday through December and January.”
Include who you are, what you can offer in terms of your skills and experience, and your availability. Make it no longer than 80 words, and it’s okay to use statements instead of full sentences to save space.
Note the key personal attributes that relate to the role using keywords from the job ad. For example: customer service skills, high attention to detail, organisational skills, ability to work effectively in a team etc.
Summer jobs can be very niche, so include skills that are very job-specific. For a retail role, this may include inventory management, end-of-day processing, and if it’s before Christmas, wrapping skills.
Stick to including jobs that relate to your industry. If you’re experienced, consider listing only your last three roles.
For each position, note two or three key responsibilities, choosing those that apply to what you’re applying for. Add any major accomplishments here, too, such as sales awards or the how you increased sales by 23 per cent. Employers love reading these.
Note: If you are new to the industry, include experiences that demonstrate the application of your skills, such as volunteer work, sporting achievements and awards.
Don’t list your whole academic timeline – stick with your most significant qualification, or the course you’re currently studying.
Include short courses, certificates and training programs, such as RSA, first aid, or “Fashion Retail Customer Service 101”. You may be tempted to cut these, but don’t, because they’re arguably more important for casual roles than your high-school certificate.
Unless you’re inexperienced, in which case listing these will represent your capability, consider cutting this section. If you do include it, make sure the activities are relevant to the role.
Industry references are weighted higher than personal ones; so if you want to be succinct, only include those.
Remember to modify your resume for each role you apply for and use keywords from the job ad throughout. It may take longer, but you’ll find your strike rate will be much higher.
Your CV needs to look good. It should have consistent line breaks, text alignments and bullet points. You can use subtle colour, especially in the key section headings, but don’t go overboard. Use a maximum of two fonts and make sure stylistic elements don’t vary throughout the document.
Avoid using vague and flowery language. It’ll waste a lot of space and can be difficult to read.