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How-To: Write A Resume

A step-by-step guide to writing your resume and looking good on paper.

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It should be the simplest thing in the world, yet a resume or CV can so easily go awry. It needs to be brief but thorough and show a glimpse of your personality. Here's how to strike that balance.

1. What you've done and who you are

“You need your work experience, where you've worked and how long for,” Kerry Allen explains, “I sometimes see CVs that just look amazing but when you actually try and get down to the nitty gritty and the substance of it, I don't know what this person has actually done in their last role.”

In her job as Talent Acquisition Specialist at the Clemenger Group, Kerry has a lot of resumes come across her desk. She says creative industries are unique in that your resume is an opportunity to convey your personality.

“I like to see what people are about outside of work as well, so if you've got any wacky hobbies I'd say get them on your resume, show that personality.” Kerry says.

Personality can also be conveyed through your references. They should be professional, i.e. people you've worked with before, but also think about who can vouch for your character and work ethic.

2. Don't forget a cover letter

The resume is important but your cover letter really is the first chance you have to catch someone's eye. You should never send a job application without one.

“I think your cover letter is your opening address to that company, and one word of advice would be to put the hard yards into that rather than crafting your 20 year work history with 400 references” Lachlan Ward, Retail Manager for St Ali and Sensory Lab, says.

Your cover letter is an opportunity to define how your skills and experience have readied you for the role. It should be addressed directly to the person that is hiring and should be no longer than a page.

3. Follow up

After you've sent in your application, it's vital to follow up. Shoot them an email, pick up the phone or, even better, drop in to put a face to a name.

“I think it's definitely worthwhile, especially if you are keen, just to come in and say g'day and let a manager know. Some weeks I might not even look at my email for a couple of days and then come back to it and there's 20 applications,” Lachlan says.

“That personal touch is appreciated but there's also a time and a place. I'm not going to be able to pay any attention to someone who comes in during lunch service or on the weekend, plus that kind of tells me that they don't really know anything about the industry.”

Ultimately, your resume should be clear and concise - it's a tool to get your foot in the door.

“The way I see CVs is as a receipt to demonstrate your experience, but really it's just a way to get you in front of that person, to get that interview,” she explains, “Then you really get a chance to shine.”

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