So, you’ve just joined or are about to become part of an elite family of passionate, driven and entrepreneurial young men and women; welcome to life as a Le Cordon Bleu graduate!
It’s time to think about the most important first impression you will make on a future, potential employer, your resume.
It is vitally important that your resume is professional and free from any mistakes. A perfect resume tells a story to the person reading it, likewise a resume that has mistakes in it, even just one, sends the wrong message.
Here are some of the most important things you need to consider when compiling your resume:
“Typos” and grammatical errors
Your resume needs to be perfect in this sense and contain no spelling or grammatical errors of any kind. If it is not, an employer may come to unflattering conclusions about you or assume you don’t care enough about your application with their organisation. If they believe you don’t care, why would they bother even interviewing you, let alone hire you?
Tip - Always spell check and get a second person to ‘proof read’ your resume.
Make sure your formatting is neat and consistent throughout your entire resume. If you bold one heading, make sure all similar headings are also bolded. Ensure fonts and font sizes are consistent, likewise that your indentations are all aligned properly, insert rules (horizontal lines) to separate major sections, and use a 10-to-12-point conservative font for the body text of the resume. Aim for 1-inch side margins and slightly smaller top and bottom margins. Once again, a lack of attention to detail will send the wrong message to any prospective employer.
Tip - Use one colour, preferably black; this will give your resume a professional appearance. Using colour(s) in your resume can be confusing and hard to read.
About you, your career history, skills and objectives
Have a ‘Career Objective’ or goal, and keep it realistic. If you have little experience in the industry but state that you are seeking a position as the General Manager of a five star hotel, then chances are a potential employer will think you are being unrealistic; they will know you don’t have the skills, knowledge and abilities (and relevant experience!) they seek – yet. Then chances are an international luxury brand is probably not where an employer sees your current abilities/skills fitting into their organisation. Having said that, have ambition, be passionate about what you want in the future and reach for the stars!
Tip - Outline your career (or employment) and educational history in reverse chronological order. For your employment history, list your most recent experiences first - job title, employer, dates (including starting and finishing months), what you did and for whom. When writing your achievements and job duties don’t use more detail than you need to convey your successes. Keep it brief; dense, paragraph-sized bullet points make for tough reading. A good rule of thumb is to limit each bullet point to one to two lines of text with six to ten accomplishments for each position, give the most significance to your most recent position.
Finally, tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. Do not use a “one size fits all” resume. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
Remember that skills are transferable! You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you've taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you've gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.
Ideally you will have two or three people that you can list as references. When including someone as a reference there are some golden rules that should always be applied:
- Never use family members or friends; of course your mum and dad, brother, sister, auntie or uncle will say nice things about you (hopefully!) however these people are not the most objective references and employers know this. Likewise, your friends are not appropriate references for the same reason - even if you have worked with them. Ideally you want non-partisan colleagues or, better yet, managers/owners you have previously worked for listed as your references.
- Always ask. Whenever you want to list someone as you reference, ask them if it’s ok for you to do so first.
- Make sure your reference will say positive things about you. If in doubt, ask them. Having worked with them before you should know the kind of relationship you had with them and whether or not they will be a positive reference for you.
- Always contact your references and let them know when you are applying for a position and what the position is. This is the professional, polite thing to do and ensures your reference is ready when they receive a phone call from a prospective employer - it also makes you look more professional!
Last but not least, edit, edit and edit again. Make sure your resume is perfect before sending in your application. Good luck with your future endeavours and remember: only you can make things happen!
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