What makes a good resume?

According to recent research, recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume before they make their initial decision on it. That doesn’t leave you with much time to sell yourself does it?

So what makes a resume great, eye-catching that sells YOU, for the job you’ve just applied for?


1-  Keep things consistent – Your name on your resume needs to be the same as what you use on LinkedIn and what you are known as. Use one name, one phone number with a professional voicemail and one email address –  if you haven’t changed your email address from your first high school address of bigdaddy69 – now is a good time. Go, change it before you even read any further!! If you have a LinkedIn profile, include the URL, we’re going to look you up anyway. 

2 – Get rid of that generic ‘objective statement’. Being a driven, friendly, hardworking person, with a strong ability to work within a team, or individually on projects, makes you the same as every other person to ever write a resume and apply for a job.

Instead – include whats known as an executive summary. In a nut shell this is your elevator pitch. Sell yourself in less than 30 seconds ( 3 sentences max). Who you are and what you’re looking for (basically your strengths, interests and how you can provide value).

3 – Key words. Remember you get a 6 second scan, THATS IT! Whatever key words have been common throughout the job advert, are the ones that need to be in your resume. These are the employers HOT BUTTONS, use them. If they say strong, you put the word strong in your resume – NOT powerful or passionate, but the exact word you’ve seen this prospective employer use. But, do make sure you actually possess these skills, attributes, and key words. You can’t lie of course, but you can tailor your resume to point out your ability using THEIR terminology and HOT BUTTONS.

4 – Provide company descriptions – you have to assume the person looking at your resume has no idea what this company is. It’s helpful to know the size of the company you used to work for. Being a director of a huge company means something very different from a director of a small company.

5 – Don’t use capitals or constant bold and avoid large blocks of solid typing. They’re very difficult to read and concentrate on. You do want the recruiter to be able to read your resume after all. Arial Tahoma or Calibri are best.

6 – Do use bullet points instead of long-winded paragraphs. Use the bullet points as your bragging points. SO many people miss this off. Aside from turning up every day, what did you actually achieve and how did you contribute to this company, to make it better than it was when you joined? Quantifiable, quantitative facts. Do not use any more than three to five bullet points.

In saying that – there is a specific way you should list said achievements.Its classed as ‘result-then-cause’. EG.Saved $1.2b by creating a categorising and inventory system.

7 – White space draws our eyes to important points. Remember what I said before about no bulk blocks of text, bold, or capitals? This is why. So the more white space around the important information the better. Don’t write in 3rd person or use pronouns, we know you’re writing the resume and the extra words just clog up that white space. Getting the most out of your white space is done by formatting your resume.

Well that’s enough for day one. There are some more small points to add in to make the finishing touches but I’ll leave this to sink in first.

Until next time, Resume Mentor.


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