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Q& A Session – Everything You Need To Pull A Resume Together Like A Pro

What are the top skills employers look for on resumes?

It depends on your industry, but unless you are trying to change industries, it’s best to focus on hard skills over soft skills for this section. For example: Flexibility is a soft skill that can be applied to pretty much any industry while Taxation Accounting is a hard skill and going to be mostly relevant to accountants. It’s best to focus on the skills most related to your industry if you have them.

How do I tailor my resume to the job description? In the old days we mostly left the resume generic and targeted the cover letter for the specific role. With the job market becoming more competitive, it’s a good idea to target your resume as well – provided you know the kind of role you are going for. For example, if you are an Administration Officer you might be applying for a wide variety of jobs that fall under this umbrella including Accounts Payable Clerk, Payroll Officer or Receptionist so you should ideally have a separate resume for each. You don’t need to change the whole resume though – just tweak the professional profile and the skills section. Your qualifications, career summary and references will stay the same.

What are the do’s and don'ts of resume design? You don’t need a graphic design masterpiece to win at resume design. Sometimes, this can be more of a distraction, and it will make editing it on the fly a challenge. You just need a clean, modern style with some colour highlights in corporate colours of greys, blues, dark greens etc. Your main focus should ALWAYS be the content (text) of the resume. The best design in the world won’t save you from bad content.

What is the importance of keywords in your resume? Many employers use ATS to screen resumes but some people put WAY too much focus on keywords. Keywords should be an afterthought. If you have listed all your qualifications, tickets, licences, job titles and highlighted a few of your main skills – the keywords most related to your industry will already be in there.

What are the most common resume mistakes to avoid? It’s a tie between putting a photo on the resume or listing your date of birth. The only time your DOB should be listed is if you are a junior and eligible for junior rates – otherwise it opens you up for age discrimination. The same goes for the photo. A photo can open you up for all kinds of discrimination including age or nationality. If you do use a photo, make sure it is a professional headshot and not a selfie you took in your backyard.

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