What does the word ‘resume’ mean to you?

  • A snapshot of yourself?
  • A sales tool?
  • The opportunity for recruiters to see what you can offer?

It’s all the above and more, therefore you have to have your resume up to scratch, professional and engaging.

Did you know the average resume is only scanned for 6 seconds before a decision is made about you! How do they read everything in such a short time you wonder? They don’t… recruiters scan your resume for the key criteria matching their role, this will be different for many companies, however for graduate positions, typically key criteria will be quite similar.

Recruiters will typically look for:

  1. Your qualification type, (ie: bachelor, post graduate, diploma etc), your major/ minor as well as where & when you completed your course
  2. Your transcript and grading average (if listed)
  3. Your work experience
  4. Any internships or vacationer programs
  5. Listed extracurricular or leadership related activities
  6. Any outstanding achievements listed
  7. Volunteering/ Charity work

IF recruiters see a resume that really catches their eye, they may spend another 30 seconds reading in more depth, so if you want that to happen, you need to ensure your resume is the best it can be. The below tips will start you on the right path:

  1. A graduate resume should be no longer than two pages. Ensure your name and contact details are on there, you won’t believe how many we have seen that do not have a phone number. In addition, ensure you have a professionally worded email address.
  2. Avoid coloured or fancy fonts. All fonts should be in black basic text such as Arial or Times new roman size 10 or 12. It should be easy on the eye to read and follow.
  3. Avoid adding images or pictures, especially of yourself. A common thought is head shots are good, visual and help people see how ‘trustworthy’ you look, however, unfortunately we are all human and visual bias will often come into play, therefore please don’t add a picture of yourself.

*Exception to the image rule is if you are in an arts/ graphics/ design student where images or portfolios are expected as part of your resume (still do not add personal images here).

  1. Ensure you check grammar, spelling and tense. Your resume should not have past and current tense, pick one. Ensure your sentences are short and succinct, no long paragraphs explaining what you did in your current role. Please get someone such as your parents, careers adviser or lecturer to read your resume to ensure it makes sense and check for errors.
  2. Your resume should be in date order, your most recent role or studies at the top of the list and work downwards in date order. Ensure each role or course you have completed is accompanied with a date, as often this is missing on graduate resumes and we don’t know if you have 1 month of work experience or 1 year.
  3. When listing your work experience, use success words where relevant such as ‘reduced or grew’, for example “I grew my stores revenue by 20%” or “I reduced stock wastage in my area by 12%”.
  4. Don’t use jargon or acronyms, not everyone knows what you are talking about.
  5. List your achievements. Often this is a great selling point on graduate resumes where you don’t have much other experience to draw upon.
  6. Referees – in an ideal world the recruiter would ask you before they contact your referees, but you never know. Instead of putting contact details, simply put “Referees provided upon request”.

Remember students; be succinct, honest and well communicated. Always have someone review your resume prior to sending it out.

UC Grad Recruiter