Project Return

Get your resume to the top of the pile

Our top tips and tricks for getting your resume in shape.

By Future Women

Project Return

Our top tips and tricks for getting your resume in shape.

By Future Women

Writing your resume can be daunting, overwhelming, and… well (let’s face it) a bit of a chore. But it’s necessary. It’s your first chance to make an impression on a potential employer and your primary tool in booking that ticket to a job interview.

From first steps, to resume and cover letters basics, communicating career breaks and real life examples, we’ve got you covered. Let’s dive straight in!

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Research shows that women will hold back on describing their skills and achievements until they are overqualified and over-prepared. While this isn’t our fault (blame social conditioning), it’s important we focus on the language we use to promote ourselves and communicate our abilities with impact.

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You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.

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You’ve hit the glass ceiling. And our paywall.

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Four things you must include

 

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Your cover letter is your chance to make a strong first impression and show your personality and passion.  It is just as important as your resume, so take the time to write something you are proud of.

Your cover letter is not a summary of your resume in paragraph form. It should share more of your personality and how you would be a valuable addition to the company. This means it should be tailored to each application, using our tips on language above.

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Selection criteria are used by employers to assess applicants against what they consider the essential skills, knowledge and qualifications for a role. Selection criteria is also used to assess candidates more consistently – so be conscious of answering them directly, as strict marking criteria may be in place.

Before you begin writing a response to selection criteria, dissect the requirement and make sure you answer it fully. For example, the criteria ‘well developed interpersonal skills’ includes working in groups and teams, managing relationships and effective verbal communication.

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What if you don’t have a cookie-cutter career history? How do you address breaks in your employment and time out to care for children or adults? These are common and confusing questions for many women trying to return to the workforce.

In fact, A 2019 Australian survey found that around two-thirds of women and half of men have taken a career break. They do so for a whole range of reasons – from parenting and caring, to travelling, studying and volunteering. As a result, employers are increasingly recognising candidates with career breaks as an untapped talent pool.

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We don’t all have linear career trajectories. There are countless reasons many of us choose to change careers or industries in our lifetime – and it’s increasingly common. In fact, a recent Australian study indicated that young people today will potentially have 17 different jobs over five careers in their lifetime. So how do you sell the benefits of a career transition? Again, with the help of resume writing expert Emma Hall, here are our tips.

Acknowledge the transitionThe opening paragraph of your cover letter, as well as the ‘Profile’ section of your resume are good opportunities to acknowledge that you’re changing careers. The key is to frame this positively. Weave it into an explanation of how you are an experienced and highly desirable candidate.

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Read each example and reflect on whether there is anything you can apply to your own resume.

In all three examples, the candidates have taken breaks from the workforce and in two examples, are seeking to transition to a new career. They don’t make apologies for their career breaks or highlight any potential shortcomings. The focus is on demonstrating how their skills and experience make them the best person for the role.

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Download Emma’s selection criteria responses here.

Download Emma’s resources from her Future Proof presentation, including her slide pack and bonus handout.

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