You know that your resume / CV is pretty critical, as it is one of the key ways to get an interview. But getting a professional resume written from a top career expert can be pretty expensive.
Now, I personally think the investment is worth it and I’ve previously outlined in detail how to select the best resume writer. But if your budget does not stretch to an expert resume writer, I’ve listed some top resources that you can use to write your own knock out resume.
I’ve read a ton of resume writing guides, but the one that stands out is Susan Britton Whitcomb, ‘Resume Magic’. This is a seriously good guide, as it literally provides a step-by-step guide for creating a phenomenal resume. No other book, in my opinion, explains so clearly all the techniques that expert resume writers use to transform the ordinary into the extraordinary.
It is comprehensive and will take time to digest all the content, but if you want to know how to position yourself above the competition, find out what top human resources managers say is the most important resume feature that they’re looking for and how to prepare your resume for the multiple formats required for the modern job search, then this is the resource for you.
I know I’ve personally used the resource to help my clients identify achievements and I know other career professionals use this as their ‘go to bible’ when starting out their career on resume writing.
A second great resource is Resumes for Dummies, 7th Edition by Laura DeCarlo. This resource, covers all the steps, including formatting and style, how to focus on achievements and skills, how to write a resume for a career change and ways to improve your current resume. Highly recommended.
Finally, if you are in Australia, then you can’t go past Gayle Howard’s ebook PS.. You Need a Resume . Now Gayle Howard is a legend in Australia and globally, for creating top-notch resumes. I know when I started my career I used to look to Gayle for inspiration and I know many in the global field, still look to Gayle Howard for inspiration.
In Gayle’s book, she covers the 7-steps required to write a knock out resume, as well as how to turn a dull set of job tasks into strong achievements. As a bonus, you get real-life resume examples of her work (which alone is worth the cover price).
Review the Work of the World’s Leading Resume Writers
From a professional perspective, the bulk of resumes published online are cringe worthy and I would not recommend copying. Stay away from free resume sample sites.
But there are some hidden gems across the Web and if you are curious as to what a brilliant resume looks like, than you can’t go past Career Directors International TORI Winning Resumes.
Every year, Career Directors International hosts their global resume writing, Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) resume writing competition. Resume writer and career experts across the globe submit their best work across each category, with winners being selected by a blind panel of global industry experts. The result – the TORI is the equivalent of the Oscars and you get to view the best resumes in the English-speaking world.
You can find a collection of TORI Award winning resumes and CV’s on Career Directors website. Once you see these samples, your own resume will look ordinary, but it gives you an idea of what you can strive for, or why are a paying a pretty penny to work with a Certified Master Resume Writer.
Make sure your resume / CV is ready for Application Tracking Systems
If you are not certain what an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) is, then you can find out more about how to prepare your resume for robots in the article I wrote, ‘Everything you need to know about Applicant Tracking Systems’.
There is also a great new tool Jobscan.co in which you can optimise your resume keywords against specific job descriptions and increase your odds of being shortlisted. Just keep in mind when you use such a tool, your resume, once it gets past a robot, will be viewed by a human being and all the key words in the world, won’t help you, unless you have successfully presented your achievements and outshone your competition.
This is one area I can’t specifically help you on. As a professional, I’ve always created my own templates for clients. However if you undertake a Google search, you will find lots of templates to choose from. When picking one, keep in mind the following:
- You need a word document for the older Applicant Tracking Systems (not a PDF version). Unless you can download a word version this is not a good option. For example, I noticed Canva.com had resume / CV templates but the file version was PDF, JPEG etc.
- Avoid templates with 2 columns.
- Avoid templates that use vivid colour or too many colours, unless you are applying for a job in the creative sector.
- Avoid the MS Word Templates – as recruiters see hundreds of these everyday and you won’t stand out from the crowd.