writing your first resume

So, you’re a fresh university graduate, looking for your first job. You are bright-eyed and bushy-tailed – and you need a professional resume that will help kick-start your career.

Resume writing experts are everywhere, each offering you an endless stream of resume writing tips and advice.

Let’s face it – writing your first-ever resume is a challenge. And having to figure out which expert to listen to just adds to the confusion.

After all, this is a critical time in your life. Your first “real” job has the power to make or break your career.

In order to stand out, you must find a way to sell yourself. Yet, here comes the caveat – you don’t have any experience in your targeted field, so your selling points are not immediately obvious.

When you’re in this position, it’s important that your selling points are not only employment-related. You can leverage all relevant information that may indicate to a potential employer that you have relevant skills, character traits and attributes to succeed in their organisation. This may include past casual jobs, sports achievements and club memberships.

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Before I talk about what to put on your first resume, let me begin by sharing with you a few ground rules of resume writing. Knowing these will help you craft a resume that gets attention (for all the right reasons).


1. Resume Length.

Should your first resume be one page, two pages or more? Opinions of professional resume writers differ, and if you listen to each one you may never feel confident that you’re doing the right thing. Here’s my take on this issue – your resume should be as long as it needs to be in order to communicate its message.

Length is not as important as impact.

You may be able to tell a potential employer everything they need to know about you in under one page – and that’s perfectly OK. However, if you’ve had quite a few sporting, extra-curricular and work experience-related commitments, you may find that a longer resume is required.

Use your common sense.


2. Content Of Your First Resume.

You’re young. You don’t have much work experience under your belt. You fear that you don’t have enough selling points to fill even a quarter of a resume page. It’s not like you’ve had a stellar career with 7 jobs across 20 years, right?

I get it.

Most people who are writing resumes for the first time face this dilemma.

Here’s a little secret that resume writers don’t like to tell you – employers fully understand your situation, and don’t expect you to have a lot of work experience at your age.

However, they are interested in knowing what makes you different from your other classmates. It’s important to remember that employers don’t necessarily want to know about the activity you’ve done. Instead, they’re interested in how this activity may potentially transfer to an improved on-the-job-performance.

Let me give you a few examples:

  • Were you a school captain or a prefect? (Tell the employer about your leadership skills and your ability to solve ‘people’ problems).
  • Did you compete in any sports? (Tell the employer about the discipline and rigour you’ve had to develop in order to manage your sporting and school commitments).
  • Did you study abroad? (Tell the employer about the flexibility and emotional intelligence you’ve had to develop in order to successfully operate in another culture).
  • Do you like to play the violin? (Tell the employer about your innate sense of curiosity).

As you can see, it’s possible to construct an impressive first resume even if you don’t have any work experience to brag about.


3. Think Beyond Your Resume.

Here’s my final, and possibly most important, piece of advice for you: clean up your online presence.

It’s best to think of your social media accounts as an extension of your resume. You should fully expect potential employers to check them during the screening process, so make sure they contain no evidence of:

  • Partying behaviour (no, they won’t be impressed by your 2am pub crawl)
  • Revealing outfits
  • Trolling of other internet users (there’s a difference between a debate and a trolling crusade – make sure you understand what it is)
  • Ranting blog posts
  • Any posts where you complain about anything


In Conclusion.

Writing your first resume can seem like a daunting task. However, it doesn’t need to be. If you follow the principles I’ve outlined in this post, you’ll be able to write a resume that helps you land your first job.

After you’ve implemented all of the tips in this guide, I suggest that you read this article to familiarise yourself with another 5 fundamental resume writing rules.

All the best in your career.



professional resume australia

Like it or not, a successful job search is not likely without a great resume in your arsenal. This one career document can make or break your chances of landing a dream job.

How do you ensure that your resume has the power to grab recruiters by the eyeballs?

Well, let’s cover off some basics first. It needs to be succinct, clean-looking, and readable. It also needs to articulate your career story and explain how you’re uniquely positioned to deliver value to an organisation – in a way that other candidates can’t.

Let’s also establish what a resume is NOT:

  • It isn’t a list of your jobs.
  • It isn’t a summary of your skills.
  • It isn’t a chronology of all the things you’ve done.

In this guide, I will cover all the resume writing rules you need to know in order to write a professional resume in 2020. As a bonus, I’ll illustrate my points with several examples.

By the way, if you’d like to save quite a bit of time and obtain a much better end result, consider hiring a professional resume writer. We have a team of top-notch resume writers who can ensure that your career documents are in the best possible shape.


Rule 1: Tailor Your Resume.

When applying for a new position, you must create a unique and one-of-a-kind resume that is specially tailored to fit each role that you’re applying for.

As mentioned above, a resume is not a mere listicle of all the things you’ve done during your career. Instead, it’s a marketing document that sells your commercial value to prospective employers. As such, it must reposition your experience to meet the specific needs of each employer.

This is not the same as lying.

It’s tweaking your communication, and emphasising certain parts of your experience, in order to help your message land.

Consider this example: if your grandma asks you how your recent holiday was, your response will be very different to that you give to your boss. And both will be very different to the response you give to your friend.


Rule 2: Exclude Irrelevant Information.

You’ve probably noticed that there’s a lot of debate about which details belong on your resume. After writing thousands of resumes, and speaking with dozens of recruiters, we can confidently recommend the following:

  • Your name.
  • Your mobile phone number (with a professional voicemail message).
  • Your email address (make sure it’s appropriate – not partygirl222@hotmail.com).
  • The URL of your LinkedIn Profile.


It’s NOT necessary to include:

  • Your gender.
  • Your date of birth (or age).
  • Your address.
  • Your references (these don’t get checked until much later in the process – after an offer is made).

By the way, did you know that a CV and a resume require you to include different details?


Rule 3: Write A Captivating Resume Summary.

Often, recruiters and hiring managers skim over your resume before quickly deciding whether your job application merits their further attention.

The resume summary is usually the section that helps them make that decision.

It works as your resume profile and answers the classic interview question: Tell me about yourself.

Speaking of which, here’s a quick segue that will help you answer this all-important interview question:

Here’s a wrong way to write a resume summary:

“Passionate, driven self-starter with extensive experience in a variety of industries and over 10 years experience managing multiple projects simultaneously in a high-volume environment. Responsible for driving sales to meet business objectives.”

This could be anyone, from Donald Trump to your local bakery assistant. Your resume summary must be aligned to your value proposition and targeted to the role you’re applying for.

If you’re a marketing professional, applying for a senior marketing role at a funded startup, your resume summary should say:

“I specialise in creating B2B marketing strategies which enable venture capital-backed startups to scale from $1m ARR to $5m ARR”.


Rule 4: Ditch Your Career Objective.

A resume objective is typically a 3-4 sentence statement that provides a high-level overview of your ambitions. It’s also, frankly, a load of rubbish by virtue of the fact that it’s typically filled with nauseating cliches and self-serving propaganda.

It will also be promptly ignored by recruiters and hiring managers.

Don’t waste valuable resume real estate on the career objective. It’s a relic of the 1990s and will not contribute to your job application in any meaningful way.


Rule 5: Make Your Resume Look Professional.

Resume design matters.

Yes, it’s true that no person has ever been hired because solely because they had a good-looking resume. But plenty of great candidates have been prematurely disqualified because their resumes:

  • Didn’t look professional.
  • Were hard to read.
  • Didn’t have enough white space.
  • Were too crowded with text.
  • Looked like “fruit salad” (too many different font sizes, font types and font effects).

Make sure that your resume looks like a professional, good-looking, modern document. ‘Nuff said.


In Conclusion.

Your resume – apart from your passport, drivers license, birth certificate and marriage certificate – is one of the important documents you’ll own during the course of your life.

It should be treated as such – because it has the power to either open or close doors of opportunity for you. Before you apply for any job, either make sure your resume looks and feels like a professional marketing document. Either learn how to write a professional resume yourself or hire an Exceptional Resume Writer to help you.


In a competitive job market, a well-written resume summary is vital to standing out and grabbing the attention of recruiters. This is especially true for managers and executives. Today, I’ll share with you a few resume summary examples that will help you compete in a saturated job market.

At its essence, a resume summary is a sales pitch that demonstrates what you can do for an employer. The best resume summaries demonstrate that your skills and experience can solve a key business problem.

Mid-career professionals should keep the resume summary to a few sentences. Executives, who can expect to compete against a more demanding role criteria – and do so in a smaller pool of candidates, should extend their resume summary to 3-4 succinct paragraphs, or around 200 words.

A strong resume summary reduces the complexity that comes with years of experience down to the most relevant, important points. It compels recruiters to look beyond the summary to read the rest of your resume – and ensures that you make it to the next stage of the recruitment process.

If you want a top-notch resume without any headaches, our professional resume writers can whip one up for you in no time; contact us to learn more. If you’d like to write your own resume, start by following our tips below.


1. Understand The Employer’s Pain Point.

A resume summary’s main purpose is to succinctly demonstrate what you can do for the employer.

Every role aims to solve some business or commercial problem, so a good resume summary demonstrates how you have the skills, experience and drive to achieve that.


2. Be Specific.

Ensure your resume summary stands out by being specific about details.

Instead of writing ‘I bring extensive experience’, write ‘I bring 20 years’ experience’. Most importantly, address the pre-requisites listed in the job description, particularly relating to the requirementseducation and experience sections.


3. Connect Your Value To The Needs Of The Business.

Ensure you stand out from your peers in a crowded job market by clearly articulating your point of difference and how this contributes to solving the employer’s problem.

This could be a particular qualification, a background in another profession or attitudes to leadership. Try to avoid generic phrasing and personalise the summary to reflect key insights specific to you.


4. Be Concise.

Remember, you don’t have a lot of time to get the recruiter’s attention. It an environment where recruiters spend about six seconds reviewing a resume, you need to maximise the impact of your summary statement. Keep each sentence within two lines with no more than two clauses.


5. Study Resume Summary Examples Below.

To give you a clearer picture of how this all comes together to create a resume summary, please find some examples below.

I’ve included some key requirements from the job advertisement to demonstrate how to keep the summary aligned with business needs, whilst incorporating your core competencies, strengths and point of difference.


Example 1: General Manager.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 10+ years experience in a leadership role
  • Excels at strategy and delivery
  • Experience across strategy, marketing, sales, budgeting
  • Cross-functional leadership experience
  • P&L Management
  • Experience in manufacturing, supply chain or distribution
  • Tertiary qualification in business administration


Resume Summary:

With 20+ years’ experience leading profitability turnarounds through strategic delivery and operational excellence, I  ensure manufacturing organisations are well-positioned for sustainable growth in the face of high labour costs and shifting market conditions.

Leveraging experience across the value chain, including sales, marketing, budgeting, HR, supply chain and operations, I bring a deep understanding of the productivity levers that influence business performance. Enhanced by a passion for data, I harness the power of business insights to inform strategic decision-making and analyse productivity and performance.

MBA-qualified with a background as an engineer, I bridge corporate and technical agendas to drive product development and ensure deadlines are met in time-critical environments. Combining a high EQ with strong communication skills, I build and lead high-performing multi-disciplinary teams, engaging across business units and diverse stakeholder groups to maximise collaboration and business performance.

Key achievements include transforming XYZ from a loss-making business into a profitable organisation through strict cost control and an uplift in sales performance. At ABC Manufacturing, I increased operational efficiency by 42% through an equipment upgrade and a staff restructure. As GM of XYZ Ltd, I strengthened executive decision-making by deploying a BI system to provide real-time business insights through data visualisation.”


Why This Resume Summary Works:

The first paragraph is eye-catching because it establishes credibility ‘20+ years’ experience leading profitability turnarounds’, meets a key job requirement ‘strategic delivery’ and understands what the employer is trying to achieve ‘sustainable growth’. The paragraph is further strengthened by demonstrating an understanding of industry challenges, referring to ‘high labour costs and shifting market conditions.’

The second paragraph illustrates the breadth of the applicant’s experience, ‘ across the value chain’, and how this experience helps meet job objectives ‘understanding of the productivity levers that influence business performance’. Critically, the paragraph illustrates how the applicant’s unique attribute, ‘a passion for data’, gives them the edge in achieving business objectives ‘harness the power of business insights to inform strategic decision-making and analyse productivity and performance’.

The third paragraph continues on this thread, highlighting how the candidate’s engineering background helps strengthen delivery outcomes ‘drive product development and ensure deadlines are met’. It then rounds out the candidate’s skill set by highlighting softer skills ‘high EQ and strong communication skills’ and leadership capability.

The fourth paragraph is comprised of three key achievements, carefully selected to support the claims listed in the resume summary. Note that they are both concise and specific, containing quantifiable data where possible.


Example 2: Sales Director.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 10+ years experience in sales and management
  • Builds and maintains good customer relationships
  • Proven success exceeding targets and goals
  • Strong leadership, managerial and organisational skills
  • Robust negotiation and influencing skills


Resume Summary:

Combining diverse sector experience and 15+ years in sales leadership roles, I bring a track record transforming underperforming sales teams to deliver significant upturns in revenue, enabling businesses to meet growth objectives.

Benefitting from legal training, I bring a logical, persuasive negotiating style to engage prospects and deliver high sales conversion rates. Structured and detail-oriented, I build sales management processes, procedures and systems from the ground up, empowering sales teams the right tools to optimise performance. Focused on building capability in teams, I create accountable but supportive cultures, driven to meet and exceed targets.

Highly adaptable, I bring a breadth of experience from start-up to large corporate environments. Able to get to the crux a product or service’s core value within the broader context of market dynamics, I develop solution-focused sales strategies that directly address customer pain points and create compelling propositions.

Career highlights include increasing revenue performance by 85% at AB Inc. by winning the largest sales deal in the company’s history with its largest customer. At EFG Ltd, I led a turnaround of legacy underperformance by professionalising the sales team, and negotiated a multi-year, multimillion-dollar commercial agreement with an enterprise client at CDE.”


Why This Resume Summary Works:

Again, the first paragraph establishes the applicant’s credentials, ‘diverse sector experience and 15+ years in sales leadership roles.’ It also moves straight to illustrating the applicant’s ability to meeting a commercial need, ‘deliver significant upturns in revenue, enabling businesses to meet growth objectives.’

The second paragraph starts with the applicant’s legal training, a unique skill as a sales leader, which has influenced a ‘logical, persuasive negotiating style’ and a ‘structured, detail-oriented’ management approach. This demonstrates the candidate’s ability to ‘exceed targets and goals’ and provide ‘strong leadership, managerial and organisational skills’ – all key criteria listed in the job ad.

The third paragraph highlights the applicant’s agility from a breadth of experience ‘from start-up to large corporate environments.’ It then moves on to how this experience that strengthens analytical and strategic capability, developing ‘solution-focused sales strategies that directly address customer pain points and create compelling propositions.’


Example 3: HR Director.

Key requirements from the job description:

  • 5+ years’ experience in HR leadership roles
  • AHRI or equivalent certified
  • Ability to architect strategy around people and culture
  • Customer-focused
  • Experience in L&D, talent management and succession planning


Resume Summary:

With 10 years experience delivering HR strategies that create customer-focused cultures in large, complex businesses, I enable organisations to pivot in line with rapidly shifting customer requirements, contributing to long-term, sustainable success.

An AHRI member with strong vertical experience in HR and a background in the retail and hospitality sectors, I work to instil a customer-first mindset at all levels of an organisation. Highly strategic with a commercial outlook from an early career in marketing, I look beyond my direct realm of influence to define and implement strategies that not only optimise employee and customer experience but contribute to improved commercial outcomes.

A qualified psychologist, I utilise a deep understanding of human behaviour to inform strategic HR development, identify talent and obtain buy-in for change initiatives. Driven to make a positive impact on people’s lives, I find deep, personal satisfaction in helping co-workers achieve their career goals by creating and delivering learning and development initiatives, developing talent pipelines and succession plans and championing talent.

Career highlights include defining and delivering a workforce strategy at NOP Ltd to align the customer team with a new group strategy. At BCD, I built a talent pipeline and training program to enable an aggressive retail expansion across the eastern seaboard and led the deployment of an HRIS system to automate various HR processes, reducing the time taken to produce reports by three days.”


Why This Resume Summary Works:

The first two paragraphs establish leadership and industry credibility by highlighting the applicant’s ’10 years’ experience delivering HR strategies’ and AHRI membership. More importantly, they link HR outcomes to business success, connecting ‘employee and customer experience’ to ‘improved commercial outcomes’.

The third paragraph positions the applicant’s psychology qualifications as a unique advantage in developing HR strategies and driving change. In line with the job ad, It then fleshes out the applicant’s skill set around L&D whilst elevating the summary with a sense of personal conviction – “I find deep, personal satisfaction in helping co-workers achieve their career goals”.


In Conclusion.

Writing a good resume summary is definitely not easy (trust me, we should know). I hope these resume summary examples can help you write a summary that best reflects your unique value and personal brand.

As a reminder, if you are still daunted by the prospect of writing your own resume summary, but want to put your best foot forward, consider using our resume writing service. We’ll help you navigate a competitive job landscape to reach the next stage of your career.



If you’re not 100% sure whether writing a cover letter is worth your time, here’s some food for thought. 83% of recruiters say that, although not absolutely necessary, a compelling cover letter gives you the opportunity to showcase your commercial value.

In fact, not only do most hiring managers find cover letters crucial to their hiring decisions, as many as 64% of HR professionals will interview a candidate based on a strong cover letter – even if they think their resume isn’t strong enough.

With this in mind, I’m going to show you how to write a cover letter that helps you stand out in a crowded job market and amplifies your value to your potential employer.


The Basics Of A Great Cover Letter.

Your cover letter has to be both concise and compelling. The ideal length is between 250-350 words and at most, a page. And yes, you need to tailor it for every role that you apply for.

Keep the design and format simple and in sync with your resume (related: my guide to writing a great resume). This will reinforce your personal brand and help hiring managers recognise your application.

Include your name, title, email address and mobile phone number. Don’t worry about a physical address or a landline.
Also, avoid using generic salutations such as ‘To whom it may concern’. Use the name of the recruiter or hiring manager – or simply delete the salutation if a name isn’t listed in the job ad.

Finally, include the role you are applying for. (Pro tip: there is no need to say where you originally saw the job listing – this is all tracked online).


The Structure Of An Effective Cover Letter.

A well-written cover letter is typically comprised of three or four paragraphs.

The first paragraph must capture the attention of a hiring manager. Ideally, it is where you combine your skills and experience in a way that demonstrates how you can solve a specific business problem. Refer back to the job ad – what is the role’s overarching mandate? How can you help the employer achieve this mandate?

For example:

‘I am an executive leader with 20+ years’ experience delivering rapid profitability uplifts in challenged markets. With a background in business development and operations, I optimise P&L outcomes by meeting ambitious revenue targets whilst maximising efficiencies through robust operational discipline.’

The middle paragraph expands on the first paragraph, confirming your suitability for the role. If you’re a manager, a team leader or an executive, this should include your unique approach to leadership and how this contributes to business success.

For example:

‘Passionate about data, I bring a track record establishing reporting frameworks that provide transparency over performance and enhance decision-making. Never content with the status quo, I build cultures of innovation where teams can ideate and test new ideas, helping businesses stay ahead of the curve.’

Next, it’s time to prove that you are a strong candidate for the role by listing 5 of your most notable achievements. These should directly align with the role you are applying for and offer tangible evidence of your capabilities.

For example:

‘Proven success in business transformation, e.g. leading a turnaround of XYZ from a loss to a $2M profit through product innovation, creating new revenue streams in mature markets.’


‘Champions data & analytics to enhance decision-making, demonstrated by deploying data visualisation software to provide real-time analytics for executives and board members.’

Finally, wrap up your cover letter by including any relevant qualifications, and thank the hiring manager for the opportunity.


Maximise The Impact Of Your Cover Letter.

To create a cover letter that pump up your value even more, follow the following tips and tricks.

Make it personal, but professional.

A good cover letter provides a mixture of your personality and your USP. Storytelling is still one of the best ways to capture the attention of a busy recruiter. If you have a unique story relevant to the role that you are applying for, do your best to subtly weave it in. But remember, it needs to be sincere and authentic.

Prove you’ve done your research.

Demonstrate that you’re serious about the role. Take the time to understand the employer’s current challenges, then subtly tailor the content of your cover letter to your discoveries.

Don’t make it all about you.

Although a cover letter is a marketing exercise, it is not a place to demonstrate how great you are. Instead, it is a tool you use to highlight what you can do for the employer within the context of the role. Be explicit in how your skills and experience can help the company achieve its objectives, and you will attract the right kind of attention.

Don’t rehash your resume.

A cover letter should complement, not parrot your resume. To avoid repeating the same information in two places, create a narrative that brings your professional story to life in a succinct, yet compelling way.

That’s all for today, folks. Go unleash your amazing cover letters on the world, and all the best in your job search.


Not all resumes are created equal.

It’s a well-known fact that out of 10 resumes that land on recruiters’ desks, about 7 get tossed in the bin immediately.

What is it, then, makes the remaining three resumes worthy of a second look?

  • Is it the design?
  • Is it the layout?
  • Is it the resume’s length?
  • Is it a list of impressive references?
  • Is it the profile section?

You may be surprised to find out that it’s an entirely different factor altogether.

Resumes that grab the attention of recruiters have one thing in common: they contain well-articulated, strong achievements that clearly showcase a candidate’s value.

Unfortunately, most resumes fall quite short of this mark. If you’re like most people, your resume probably contains either a list of dull, poorly written achievements or a list of duties and responsibilities instead.


In other words, it’s a generic listicle of what you’ve done, rather than a demonstration of value that you’ve provided.

Typically, achievements are things that you’ve initiated, built, executed or reached. These are quite different from responsibilities that are usually listed under your job description. An achievement is typically unique to your experience – and tells an employer that you have a track record of delivering.

Most importantly, it tells the employer that you’re results-driven and possess the capacity to deliver tangible value to an organisation.

Consider these two examples:

  • “I was responsible for the company’s CRM system.”
  • “I rebuilt the company’s CRM system, resulting in an annual cost saving of $130,000 in admin overheads.”

Which one sounds more enticing to you?


What Types Of Achievements Should You Include?

Here are a few guidelines you should follow.

First of all, resume achievements should be quantifiable and relevant to the role. They should succinctly and clearly communicate how you’ve had a positive impact on an employer’s business. Remember to include metrics and percentages to quantify your impact.

By the way, if you’d like a professional resume writer to articulate your achievements, you should take a closer look at bios of our resume writers here.

After your resume is written, to ensure that you can explain your achievements in an interview situation, watch this video:



If what you’ve achieved was part of a team, you should still include it – but you should indicate that this was a team effort. For example:

  • “Was part of a high-performance team which won the company’s Sales Team Of The Year award 3 years in a row”.


How To Identify Your Best Achievements.

Defining achievements in sales and marketing roles is pretty straightforward – you usually mention the number of leads you’ve brought in or a total amount of revenue you’ve generated.

Other types of roles can be more tricky. I think the best way to show you is through a few real-life examples:

  • “Stayed under budget for 10 years while exceeding targets by 15%”
  • “Have been promoted to COO after only 12 months on the job”
  • Increased customer satisfaction by 15%, beating company target by 200%”
  • “Digitised company’s medical record library of more than 120,000 files 12 months ahead of schedule”
  • “Ran monthly customer events, resulting in 855 NPS rating”
  • “Directed 25 events per year, which resulted in 1030 qualified leads”

I hope that you’re starting to see the pattern.

Do you find yourself getting stuck? Ask a former colleague or a boss for some examples of your achievements. Often, we’re quite bad at recognising our own accomplishments, so an outside perspective can ensure that you don’t neglect to showcase your true value.


Irrelevant Achievements.

Alright, so we’ve covered what constitutes as an achievement that is worthy of inclusion on your resume. Before we wrap up, let’s quickly discuss some things don’t qualify as achievements.

Knowing this will help ensure that you don’t waste any precious real estate on your resume on things that are of no significance to potential employers.

First of all, remember that you must tailor your resume to each type of role that you’re applying for. Because of this, you’ll need to omit certain achievements each time you create a different version of your resume.

I suggest that you create a “Master Achievement Document” which contains a comprehensive list of all your achievements. Use this list to cherry-pick the most relevant accomplishments for each job application. Don’t be afraid to omit those that are not relevant.

Finally, remember to list your achievements in the right order – from the most relevant to the least. Relevance, of course, is dictated by the role you’re applying for. For example, if you’re applying for a Marketing Manager role, don’t kick off your list of achievements with:

  • “Overhauled the office filing system, which resulted in a 130% efficiency increase within the back office team.”

While that is certainly beneficial to the business, it’s unlikely to be part of a Marketing Manager’s core mandate and will therefore not help you get a job.


In Conclusion.

When writing about your achievements on your resume, remember that it’s your opportunity to brag. This is not a time for false humility. Own your successes and let your wins shine through in a way that demonstrates a strong track record of success and a commitment to results.

A failure to clearly and boldly define your achievements will result in a weak, vague, bland resume. And that, in turn, will lead to unimpressed employers.

Great job opportunities attract a lot of candidates. This means, in order to have a fighting chance, you need a great resume.

Thankfully, the Internet is a great resource that can provide you with clear rules for writing a highly effective resume, as well as guidelines for impressing employers with standout achievements.

Those resources will help ensure that the content of your resume clearly communicates how just good you really are.

However, you may also be tempted to do a web search for some resume examples – and paste the contents of those examples straight into your own resume. Imagine the time you could save, right?

Well, maybe.

While using online resume examples to “inspire” your own resume is not necessarily a bad idea, you must know that most resume templates that you’ll find on the Internet are quite substandard – and do not have the power to impress potential employers. They may look fancy, and their wording may seem slick, but they tend to lack in a few important areas.

Which is what this article is all about.

I’m going to walk you through a few resume examples and explain why each one doesn’t work. My aim here is to educate you in aspects of resume writing so that you can make smart decisions about what information to include on your resume.

First, remember that a resume is much more than just a listicle of your job history. To knock employers’ socks off, your resume needs to show how you’re uniquely positioned to solve a specific employer’s set of commercial challenges.


Resume Example #1.

Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the following resume:

resume examples

Now, the resume of an Account Executive must be focused on his/her commercial achievements. An Account Executive is a key driver of revenue for a company; as an employer you’d want to be reassured of his/her ability to work independently while consistently producing results.

The above resume example certainly makes a decent attempt to position the candidate as a standout performer through his achievements. The big problem, however, is the resume’s profile, which immediately positions the candidate as a generic, me-too, unremarkable being.

It’s important to remember that kicking off the resume with  “a personable and trustworthy Account Executive…” is far from optimal.

The reality of the modern job market is that being personable and trustworthy is a minimum requirement for just about any job, including that of an Account Executive. This means that the statement in itself is redundant and a waste of resume space, as well as the reader’s time. It offers the employer no insight into why they should consider Calvin Harris above any other candidate.

A resume like this would be effective in only one instance – when the total number of applicants for this position is extremely low. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur in the job market of 2020; most positions attract at least 100 candidates. Some employers report well over 500 applicants per role.

By the way, have you considered hiring one of our resume writers to upgrade your resume? Our resume writing service can supply you with a brand new resume within 7-10 business days.


Resume Example #2.

Now, let’s critique another resume example:

resume example

Delia Martin is a General Manager whose resume describes her as “Experienced and self-motivated…”

Now that you know what to look for, it’s likely that you realise that the criticisms which applied to the first resume example apply here, as well.

There’s no such thing as an inexperienced and unmotivated General Manager, so pointing out that she is “experienced and self-motivated is simply an exercise in stating the obvious, while wasting space that could be used to sell Delia’s unique value).

Also, it must be mentioned that this resume does an extremely poor job of communicating Delia’s achievements. It lists her duties (and it does so in a rather generic manner), rather than blowing the socks off employers with razor-sharp achievements.

As a result, this resume pitches Delia at a lower level than a true General Manager; it diminishes her experience sells her short of her true potential.


In Conclusion.

Your resume has the power to set your career on an upward trajectory or to keep you stuck in a job you loathe. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll ever own, so make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time and resources into ensuring it’s as effective as it possibly can be.

Using resume examples for inspiration can certainly help you with this, but be aware that most examples you’ll find online are quite substandard, generic and well, boring. Use my critiques above to filter the wheat from the chaff and get yourself a resume that does justice to your career.


resume writing tips

Your resume is your personal marketing document.

No business will succeed without a smart marketing strategy that speaks to its target market. By the same token, no job application will succeed in the tough Australian job market without a resume that communicates the candidate’s commercial value to recruiters and employers.

Resume writing is both a skill and an art. As such, it follows a number of fundamental tenets that you can learn in order to immediately increase the strength of your job applications.

When written with these tenets in mind, a resume – combined with smart job search strategies – directly contributes to more interviews, better positions, bigger offers and a faster career transition.

So, what are these resume writing fundamentals? Well, professional resume writers know quite a few – and mastering them all would take years of your time. Thankfully, resume writing, like any skill, follows rules of the Pareto Principle, which asserts that 20% your efforts will account for about 80% of your output’s effectiveness.


resume writing rules
Today, I’ll share with you 20% of all resume writing secrets that will make 80% of the difference to your job applications.


1. Avoid Making Generic Statements.

For example:

“I am a self-motivated, ambitious person who thrives in dynamic environments…”

Look. I’m sure that you are self-motivated and ambitious. Thing is, your resume is not a place where you list your qualities. It’s a marketing document where you list your competitive advantages.

The difference?

A competitive advantage is a point of differentiation; it’s a reason to hire you instead of another person. In the modern job market, being self-motivated and ambitious are assumed requisites. In other words, no employer would hire an unmotivated, lazy person.

A sentence like this is a waste of precious real estate on your resume and – more importantly – a missed opportunity to provide concrete reasons why you should be considered for employment – above other candidates.

This mistake happens most often in resume summaries (read this guide to see some examples of excellent resume summaries).


2. Remove Unnecessary Graphics.

It’s perfectly OK to have some visual design elements on your resume. These can subtly improve the readability while guiding the reader’s eye towards most important parts of your pitch.

However, it’s NOT OK to go overboard with these. I’ve seen resumes that are filled to the brim with what I call “graphics for the sake of graphics” which overwhelm the reader with noisy background patterns, unnecessary graphs and photographs.

Finally, if you’re applying for roles in large and/or ASX-listed companies, keep in mind that graphics in your resume will probably never be seen by anyone other than you.

As soon as you push “apply” on your job application, the employer’s Applicant Tracking System (ATS) will suck your resume in, stripping away all design elements and presenting the recruiter with a simple text version.


3. Quantify Your Achievements And Accomplishments.

Your resume must present a story of your career narrative and back it up with hard numbers. Numbers provide empirical proof of your claims and add a necessary layer of credibility to your resume.

Unfortunately, it’s also a key area where most resumes fall short. Here’s what an unquantified resume achievement looks like:

“Improved sales through innovative outreach campaigns.”

A much more impactful, quantified version of the same achievement would look like this:

“Achieved 220% year-over-year sales growth through innovative outreach campaigns.”


4. Proofread Five Times To Eliminate Typos And Errors.

Yes, five times. It’s very difficult to catch your own typos within a single round of checks because your eyes are likely to skip over your mistakes.

By the way, an advanced spell checker like Grammarly will eliminate 70% of typos and grammatical issues. As for the rest, I suggest that you follow the following secret proofreading method; it’s used by magazine editors to ensure that their publications remain error-free:

  • Proofread your document on a desktop screen.
  • Ask a friend/colleague to proofread the document.
  • Proofread your document, at least 3 hours later, on a mobile screen.
  • Ask a different friend/colleague to proofread the document.
  • Proofread your document for the final time ( at least 3 hours later again), on a desktop screen.


5. Consider Hiring A Professional Resume Writer.

Resume writing can be a time-consuming and often frustrating process. Some people can benefit greatly from a resume writing guide like this; sometimes a few foundational tips is all that’s required to get someone unstuck and moving in the right direction.

That being said, some people are simply not wired to be writers and marketers. They find it impossibly difficult to write about themselves in a positive light and to sell themselves within a few paragraphs.

If that’s you, a professional resume writer can help you find the right wording and make the right impression on employers.

When looking for a professional resume writer to help you write your resume, I suggest that you don’t shop merely on price alone. Ask for resume samples and check reviews to make sure that the resume writer is capable of producing a document that will help you land your dream role.

Last, but not least – don’t forget to include a punchy, compelling cover letter.

Once your resume is ready, watch this video to learn how to deploy it as part of a smart job search strategy:

All the best.