How to write a resume that makes an impression


Thinking about how to write a resume that will ensure a ticket to the interview stage? Here are some tips to help.

An good resume is an essential tool in the job searching process and everyone should know how to write a resume that's effective. But many people don't know the difference between a good resume and a great one and this could be the deciding factor in securing an interview for your dream job.

After reading this section, you will know:

  • How to write a resume that stands out in the crowd
  • The best format to follow
  • What to include and what to exclude in your resume
  • Importance of tailoring your resume to your audience

The format of a winning resume

  • The length of your resume should aim to cover 2 pages and no more than 3-4
  • The resume should provide a showcase of skills, current experience and achievements from which you should select material to reflect the requirements of the specific position
  • Always answer the most important requirements of the job description first, even if they are less important in your present job, or are skills or achievements that go back some time
  • A resume should begin with a short summary of who you are
  • Make sure the resume is objective and avoid all the clichés such as 'excellent self-starter', 'good team player', 'natural leader’ and ‘good communicator'. These qualities can be demonstrated through your tangible achievements which follow in the resume
  • Remember that your resume will form part of the script for the interviewer's questions so make sure you can attend to all the points listed
  • Do not allow gaps or unclear explanations to take up the precious time allotted to you so, try to neatly match their requirements
  • A resume should also give some idea of your career ambition. If you are presently studying for an additional qualification, make sure you mention it

Illustrate your achievements

  • It is not sufficient to simply state the posts and responsibilities that you have held. It is vital to illustrate how well you have carried out this work through your list of achievements.
  • How does an achievement differ from responsibility? An achievement is a statement of how you have added value to an organisation.

Make sure to sell yourself effectively

  • Always express your skills and qualities in the present tense - you may not be using them right now but you still have these facilities
  • Positive features need to be emphasised
  • Resumes should have a clean and clear design and printed copies should be kept on standby

Functional and chronological resumes

  • The most widely accepted style is the chronological resume
  • Career history is presented as a series of appointments with the achievements listed against each one
  • More space should be allocated to the recent positions, since these are where your most current achievements are found
  • In some situations, however, a functional resume is acceptable and may be more appropriate
  • A functional resume is where you group together your skills and experience under `functional' headings
  • It can be helpful to produce a functional resume, even if it is just for your own reference


  • List your professional, higher education qualifications and school results
  • Show recent vocational training that are strongly relevant
  • Include genuine foreign language skills
  • Include your interests and hobbies
  • Add a note of any publications and/or external positions you hold
  • Get someone independent to look at your resume when you have completed it - not a friend or family member


  • List every training course you have ever attended
  • Indicate race/nationality/political affiliation, etc
  • Put down a laundry list of interests and hobbies 
  • Include present or expected salary details
  • Do not add superfluous details about your marital status, children, religion or political affiliations, etc

These tips on how to write a resume may cover the more basic requirements but be prepared to go a step further to customise one to your interviewers' liking. 



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