How to prepare a killer resume

One that will take the bite out of the competition!

With the right direction and guidance, preparing a resume can be very simple and easy. It does not have to detail your complete life history, nor does it need to be too complex.

So stop putting it off and start by reading our guide on how to prepare a ‘killer’ resume – one that will work hard for you.

Things to remember when preparing your resume

  • Make a good first impression. Your resume must showcase all that is good about you, as the people reading your resume know nothing about you, and you will never get a second chance to make a good first impression!
  • It is a sales document about you; don’t forget this. You might not think of yourself as a salesperson however, be in absolutely no doubt – at this moment in time, you are a salesperson, and your product/service is you.
  • Bring forth your best attributes, qualities and skills; think in terms of what you have achieved that is measurable, such as increased accident and incident reporting, reduction in plant and asset damage costs, implemented integrated Management systems resulting in manpower savings of X, and so the list goes on….
  • Keep it honest and open, take the opportunity to demonstrate your achievements but do not take credit for other peoples.
  • Avoid copying resumes and using standard templates, as these will not differentiate you from the rest.

Tips to help you create a striking resume.

Use the clues in the job advertisement.

When applying for a job, you will find that there are key words; it is important to address these and the specific tasks in your resume. At all times, take every opportunity to demonstrate clearly that you have read the job advertisement; that you understand what they are looking for, and that your life to this point has positioned you perfectly to be exactly what they want to meet their needs.

Attention to detail.

All word processing programs have spell check, so there is no excuse for misspelling. Make sure that you up your chances with a well structured, concise and grammatically correct resume

Apply the ‘Less is More’ practice.

It is best to avoid lots of formatting effects; it is preferable to use between 9 and 12 point for the copy. It is also a good idea to keep your resume in black and white for mono printing and faxing purposes. Use colour IF appropriate and PDF protects formatting – ensure PDF is an acceptable format for the application.

Put your best foot forward

Be open and honest by using your very own information and highlight your achievements. Remember, HR Managers and Recruitment Companies see lots of candidates, so they can quickly identify the ones that are, at best, delusional, and at worst, faking it.

How to structure your resume.

There are two models, Chronological and Hybrid

The Hybrid model highlights your strengths by placing your skills, experience and abilities at the beginning and a chronologically ordered list of experience towards the end.

So, if you are applying for a specialist role, the Hybrid version showcases you quickly to the decision maker to get onto the “YES” to interview pile.

1. Start with your Personal Information, your name, address, contact details and e mail address. Consider placing this in the header field rather than using part of the main page.

2. The next section is an outline of your Career Objectives or a strong Profile Summary about you.

3. This naturally progresses to a snapshot of your skills and Core Competencies, allowing you to sell yourself quickly to the reader, for example;


  • Proven skills in strategic and operational leadership
  • Highly developed skills in mentoring and Coaching Lead team
  • Demonstrated success in managing organisational development
  • Strong leadership in highly politicised and unionised environments

Tip: Choose 5 or 6 key areas outlined in the Position Description or Advert to demonstrate your strengths for the role.

4. Career History

Start with your most recent job first and move in reverse chronological order to your first job listed last.

For each position, describe your responsibilities and work undertaken. Keep it short but not vague. Conciseness and brevity, whilst at the same time not omitting any crucial information will enable the reader to decide in your favour is key.

Include achievements and quantify them, for example, Following the introduction of a Fleet Management and daily defect reporting programme in April 2009, the number of accidents has decreased by 30% and has proven savings of $ 120K against 2009/2010.

Include at least one statement of accomplishment for each position. For your current and recent positions, you may want several points that list your most significant experience.

5. Education

6. Professional Memberships

7. Referees – list in full or advise to be supplied upon request

What not to include in your resume.

  • Avoid sarcasm, anecdotes and misplaced humour, as these may not read the way you want them to. It is important to remember that you don’t know the personality of the individual who is going to be reading your letter and resume.
  • Make sure your email address is appropriate. An email address such as, may be suitable for personal use but not for a potential employer.
  • Do not include unnecessary information such as; height, weight, state of health, children and their names and ages, your religious and political beliefs.
  • Exclude out-of-date and/or irrelevant qualifications as these will not contribute to your success.


Job Seekers, Tips & Techniques