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How to write a CV that gets you the job

Are you applying for one of Beam’s career-worthy part-time roles? Brill!

At Beam, we see a lot of CVs. And sometimes we see doozies. Think 6 pages of dense text with no sense of the most important information. The thing is, a poor CV isn’t necessarily an indication of the candidate’s quality — but it does make it MUCH harder for a prospective employer to see that.

Here are some of the tips we give Beamers to make sure that their resume is a real asset. After all, your CV is a marketing tool and the product is you.

How to get started

Put a plant next to your laptop

Kidding! But definitely set yourself up with a drink, a clear space and some uninterrupted time.

A little help from LinkedIn and friends

If it’s been a while since you’ve updated your resume, sometimes it’s easier to update LinkedIn first — the format is a really helpful prompt to gather key information. It also helps you stay focussed on what’s important. Simply copy and paste once you’re done — then build it out with more detail.

If you have colleagues or friends who are amazing at applying for jobs and getting hired, ask to see their CVs.

Aesthetics are over-rated

Don’t worry too much about making it crazy-beautiful (unless that’s relevant to the role you’re applying for). Just make sure it’s professional, neat and a delight to read.

You don’t need to start from scratch. Use a template — Google Docs is a good source of free, easy-to-use resume templates. Canva is too (if you want to get a bit fancier). Stick to a neat format that is easy to read and comes across as professional. And make sure it’s a cinch to edit and update too.

Writing the best CV for the job

Show an employer what’s important

Think of it your CV like a newspaper article — would you leave the juiciest details until the end? Or make the article so long it was difficult to work out what was important and what wasn’t?

So don’t bury the lede. Put your major achievements and skills up the top where they can’t be missed. And keep your CV as tight as possible — it projects confidence. If you have 4 or more pages, you might have too many (in fact you really probably do!)

Get the order right

List your career from your most recent role backwards. In most cases, more detail should be given to your most recent roles.

Tailor your CV to the role

You knew we’d say this, but it’s true!

You may need to tailor your resume for specific roles to highlight your skills in the areas listed in the job ad. In fact, don’t be afraid to weave in some of the key requirements directly from the posting. This makes it super easy for an employer to see you’re a fit for the role.

Things to include

  • An executive summary up the top to explain who you are and the kind of role and challenge you are seeking. This summary should outline your top achievements and demonstrate how you can provide value to an employer. Don’t write your resume in the third person — it should be as if you’re speaking directly with the employer.
  • A list of your key skills and proficiencies — to make it easy for the employer to quickly see you’re a fit for the role.
  • List your achievements in each role. Employers like to see career advancement, deals closed, projects delivered, budgets achieved. Think: measurable impact. Tangible facts and figures.
  • Link to any relevant online profiles or portfolios – hiring managers will often look you up before an interview.
  • Contact details! Include at least one phone number with a voicemail option to leave a message and at least one email address. It can be good to include a mail address, but if not, make sure it’s clear where you’re based.
  • Any volunteering, board memberships or associations you’re an active member of — these round out your CV and fill out your personality while keeping things professional.

Things to leave out

  • Unless it is a graduate level position you (really) do not need to include high school achievements. Only include your academic/education achievements at the end of your resume — and focus on qualifications relevant to the role.
  • Reference details — you don’t want your resume to be unnecessarily lengthy.
  • Photographs. They’re not necessary and most Australian employers do not expect this on a resume.
  • Interests, unless they’re particularly relevant to the role you’re applying for.