How to Write an Effective Resume in 5 Simple Steps

Writing a resume can be hard as people often don't know where to start and what to include. So how do you write an effective resume to stand out and make an impression in a competitive job market? Well, to make the task a little easier on you, we have summarised what we believe to be the most important aspects of a resume into 5 simple steps.

1. Focus on the job objective

We often get asked the same question about whether or not it is ok to submit the same resume for different jobs - our response? Well, it depends. When applying for a role, it is important to ensure that your resume and cover letter is sharply focused on the job objective.

The job objective is the desired job you are applying for and the industry it sits within. Therefore, if the job you are applying for is the same type of role (ie Operations Manager) within the same industry (ie Construction) then it would be fine using the exact same resume (with some exceptions - which we will get to shortly). However, if the role and industry is entirely different, then we recommend making the relevant adjustments to each section of your resume. When writing your resume, keep in mind your reader and ensure that you address the eligibility requirements throughout the document.

2. Use varied action words

Do you like hearing and reading the same words over and over again? No? Then chances are, neither is your audience. When crafting resumes for our clients, we always ensure our language is professional and diverse. Action words are a useful tool, particularly in your Professional Summary, Skills & Attributes, and Responsibilities sections. Here are some of our favourite action words: 'negotiated', 'generated', 'led', 'collaborated', 'managed', and 'implemented'.

Not only do these verbs sound good and read well, they can also be used to reinforce job level, seniority, and/or experience. Your chosen language is powerful, so use it wisely.

3. Include keywords

Keywords in resumes have never been more important than in this day and age. Remember our first point where we touched on the common question asked about using the same resume to apply for different jobs? Here is when and why a customised resume matters!

Including keywords from job advertisements that you're applying for is not only great for highlighting suitability and eligibility, it also increases your chances of getting shortlisted. In a society like today, most recruiters and hiring managers use an automated shortlisting recruitment tool known as an Applicant Tracking System (ATS). Once a candidate applies online and submits their resume, these programs determine eligibility and shortlist candidates based on keywords included in their resume.

Mind-blowing right? Therefore, tailoring your resume to include and address all the keywords included in the job advertisement you apply for will really work in your favour!

4. Choose a modern yet simplistic format

Imagine being a recruiter or hiring manager, reviewing more than 250 applications for a single position. We have been there and done that, and can say from our own personal experience that most resumes are dull, convoluted, and downright boring. Similar to the templates we use and some of the best resumes we have seen, the ones that really stand out are modern yet follow a simplistic format. We recommend experimenting with a bit of colour (ie navy, olive green, dusty pink, beige etc) and shapes to engage your reader, as well as position certain sections in a way that will appeal to an audience.

For some inspiration, check out a few of our templates below:

5. Quality vs Quantity

Do you have a resume that's 4 - 8 pages long? It's time to get culling and cutting. No one likes a lengthy resume. Our clients' resumes are short, sharp and straight to the point. Industry practice in today's market is 2 - 3 pages maximum for length of a resume, depending on career level and experience. When writing your resume think, 'quality over quantity'. Only list responsibilities and achievements for 2 - 3 of your most recent roles, and remaining positions can simply be listed along with the applicable company name and dates of employment. Responsibilities listed should be relevant to the job objective and your achievements outlined should be measurable by using numbers, dollars, percentages, or any other concrete measures.

Feeling more confident and motivated now? We hope so! Time to land your dream job with an effective and memorable resume.

For more information about our resume critique, design and rewrite services, contact us via our website: