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Section 2: Writing your resume

This section provides information on how to write your resume.

What is a resume?
Your resume, or curriculum vitae (CV), is a personal marketing tool. Think of it as an advertisement of you. It should convince your prospective employer that your skills, experience and abilities are transferable to the advertised role and make you a competitive candidate for the position.

It is also a summary of your contact details, work history, qualifications, achievements and professional memberships.

It is not a ‘career obituary’. It should concentrate on your key selling points – not a detailed history of your past. Think of your resume as a series of carefully chosen highlights about your work history that present a snapshot of your ability to succeed in a particular position or role.

What makes a good resume?
A good resume:
  1. Captures the reader’s attention
    Make sure your resume is:
    • visually attractive and uses a clear and consistent format
    • relevant to the job vacancy
    • between three and five pages
    • easy to read and uses headings, and
    • gives examples of relevant achievements and capabilities.
  2. Covers the five Cs
    Make sure your resume is:
    • Clear – Is it easy to understand? Use plain English.
    • Concise – Does it contain only relevant information? Make every word count.
    • Correct – Are the facts right? Is it error free? Check your spelling and grammar.
    • Complete – Are the needs and criteria of the job addressed? Do your research.
    • Courteous – How would you feel if you read the resume?

Preparing your resume
Before writing your resume you should complete a self-assessment on paper. Think through your career and ask yourself:
  • What are my most marketable skills?
  • What have I done that proves that I have these skills?
  • What are my achievements?
  • What skills/capabilities are most relevant to the advertised position?
Use your self assessment to build a picture of your current role:
  • What are the skills you demonstrate in your present job?
  • Which ones are your best selling points? For example, very high level verbal communication skills or excellent project management skills.
  • Are you a big picture person, interested in how things fit in with the whole organisation? Or are you more interested in particular areas where you can demonstrate attention to detail?
Next you might like to list what you have most enjoyed about your current role:
  • Do you enjoy client contact, or are you more interested in technical and legislative interpretation?
  • Perhaps you really love research, and would be more comfortable in a role allowing you to access research tools.
  • Do you want to manage people and get involved in staff development, or are you a person who likes to have work allocated and perform your own tasks?
You now have a starting point to begin drafting your resume and placing these points into sections.

What to include in a resume?
Some suggested sections to include in your resume are: Additional information (optional)
You may wish to include the following information in your resume:
  • languages (include level of proficiency)
  • computer languages and software packages (if relevant to the position), and
  • awards that you have gained which relate to your profession, job or studies.

General resume formatting tips
  • Aim for brevity (between three and five pages).
  • Ensure your resume is adapted each time to relate to the job for which you are applying.
  • Choose a businesslike font in a reasonable size, for example Arial 11/12 or Times New Roman 11/12.
  • Make the resume visually attractive with white spaces, by using a consistent style and by using headings.
  • Restrict use of bold or underlined text to the section headings (this is a personal choice).
  • Check your spelling and grammar.
  • Have at least one other person read your resume before submitting.

Action words
A list of action words is provided below to assist you in writing your achievements.

achieved conducted formed negotiated sold
acquired constructed founded obtained solved
adapted converted generated operated spoke
addressed coordinated guided organised staffed
administered created headed oversaw streamlined
adopted drafted implemented planned suggested
advised demonstrated improved prepared supervised
analysed designed increased presented tested
anticipated developed initiated prevented trained
arranged discovered innovated produced transcribed
assessed doubled invented promoted translated
assembled edited joined published tripled
assisted eliminated judged recruited uncovered
audited enforced launched reorganised unified
budgeted engaged liaised reported used
calculated established maintained resolved widened
centralised evaluated marketed reviewed would
changed exhibited managed settled wrote
collaborated expanded measured selected -
completed forecasted minimised separated -
condensed formulated motivated simplified -

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