There are lots of different ways to write a resume and in this fierce market it’s important you stand out from the crowd. Your resume needs to represent who you are and why you are the best person for the job.

Whether you’re new to the workforce or you have decades of experience, writing a resume can be intimidating. And you’re probably asking yourself questions like, what should I include? What shouldn’t I include?

Here are our tips to help you stand out from the crowd.

How many jobs on your resume is too many?

There are a few different answers for this depending on the industry you are in. But, rule of thumb is that you should only go back around 10-15 years on your resume. Here’s why.

It keeps your resume relevant

Your resume is only looked at for a few seconds so you want to make sure it’s clear and relevant. Employers don’t care what you did more than 15 years ago, and it’s better left off your resume.

Start with the most recent job and work back from that. Irrelevant information will usually land your resume in the do not interview pile.

It gets rid of clutter

Including every job you have ever had will make your resume looked cluttered and messy.

If you only add your most recent work experience, you’ll keep your resume to only a few pages long. This is what most HR experts recommend, because employers just don’t have time to read a 10 page resume.

Keeping it short and relevant, and including key words, will help an employer make a quick decision about whether you’re the best match for the position.  

lots of post it notes with images of people on each. Next to them is a pile of blue post it notes with the selected figures.

How long should a resume be?

Some experts say 1 page, others say 2 to 3 pages and some say it depends? Are you confused yet? I sure am! Let’s break it down a bit more.

A 1 to 2 page resume is pretty standard for students, new graduates and people with 1 to 10 years of work experience.

You can use 2-3 pages if you need to communicate more of your key experience, achievements or projects you have worked on.

Don’t forget, you can add your LinkedIn profile to your resume. That way, you can make a note in your cover letter or on your resume to employers know they can see your entire work history on your LinkedIn. It’s also a good way to build your professional networks.

But what’s more important than the length of your resume is that it’s relevant and easy to read.

resume on a table that is 100 pages too long

What not to put on a resume?

Some things just don’t belong on your resume. Including them can get your resume kicked to the curb before it’s even reviewed.

There is such a thing as sharing too much information. While you might think you're giving more reason for an employer to hire you, you could be doing the opposite if you overshare.

Employers may look at hundreds of resumes and they’ll take every reason to screen out applicants. By including personal information, you could be damaging your chances of getting selected for an interview.

Here what you shouldn’t include on your resume.

Man looking at a wall full of CVs that all look the same

Don’t make it personal

Employers may base their decision on your personal data. To avoid this don’t include things like:

  • a photo of yourself
  • date of birth
  • gender
  • religion
  • sexual orientation
  • street address

You don’t need to share this information and employers don’t need to know this about you to work out if you can do the job.

Typos, be gone!

When writing your resume you must check for spelling errors. Re-check and check it again before submitting your application.

Here are some ways to avoid spelling errors: 

  • print out your resume and check it on paper
  • use spell check on your computer 
  • always have some else check it for you 

RePaul saying the words begone!

Bending the truth

Everyone adds a little sparkle to their resume and that’s okay. But, avoid going overboard. Don’t lie on your resume and say you have completed a degree when you haven’t, or say you were a director of a company when you have no experience at all. 

Always be honest because the lie will catch up to you and you may end up in hot water.

Final thoughts

The bottom line is, it's hard to streamline your entire career into a few pages.

But ask yourself this, if an employer is only looking at your resume for a few seconds, what do I want them to see about me?

Employers only care about your relevant work experience, not your high school Maccas job from 20 years ago. Employers will always pick candidates that stand out, so keep your resume short, relevant and clutter-free.

Best of luck!

Images: iStock, giphy

Author: Clarissa @ jobactive