Resume Format and Layout

There is no one right way to do a resume, just certain principles or guidelines.

  • There are usually 2 culls for a resume – 20 seconds and then an in-depth review.
  • Include enough detail and concrete examples for the second cull as well!
  • 2-3 pages are the average for graduate resumes (although shorter or longer are also OK).
  • Certain employers may request 1 page - if a length or format is stipulated – stick to it.
  • Use only one plain font – Times New Roman, Arial, Helvetica, Century Schoolbook.
  • Use bullet points starting with an active verb to indicate achievements.
  • One typo can reduce your chances of success by 70% - edit furiously.
  • Be consistent in formatting. Put dates, titles, full stops etc in similar places throughout your resume.
  • Format each section similarly if possible to help the reader digest your information.
  • Be consistent with your language throughout your resume.
  • Think about what the employer will value most.
  • Make the resume is as simple and easy to read as possible.
  • Make sure that your resume is well presented and well organised, so that an employer can immediately see the most relevant information - remember clear headings and lots of white space.
  • Balance the resume as to what the employer will consider most important / relevant (eg don't spend a page describing high school achievements and one line describing your degree)

The application

Your application should contain:

  • The covering or application letter which summarises your relevant achievements and links your application to the position and company. Remember, employers most interested in how your skills and experience relate to the selection criteria.
  • Your Resume
  • Academic transcripts from both your tertiary and secondary study.
  • A completed application form, if required.
  • For public service and university positions you will need a formal statement addressing each of the selection criteria.

Related tags: Careers