Writing an Effective Resume

More than just a list of your past duties and achievements, your resume should be strategically written to highlight the most relevant information for the potential employer’s specific hiring requirement.

Identify your reader

A resume that creates a lasting impression is one that matches what you can offer to the company’s requirements. Focus on the prospective employer’s needs by leaving out the irrelevant parts, and by constantly asking yourself what you are trying to convey to your reader.

If you are an engineer looking for an opportunity with an engineering firm, check out the projects that the company has been recently awarded or has completed in recent years.

Use this information to focus on your achievements, skills and employment history that are relevant to their line of work.

If you are a sales manager, examine the specific industry that your prospective employer serves, and highlight your past clientele to make you an ideal candidate for the role.

Highlight what is important

Take a good look at the job advertisement.

The key requirements stated in the job description tell you what you should address in your resume, and you should write them in a readable way that shows your understanding of the prospective employer’s business and industry.

Although tailoring a resume for each job may seem very tedious, it is important to make sure that your resume brings out the skills that make you fit the requirements of the job, so that in the first few rounds of selection, your resume will stand out from the crowd.

Discover your uniqueness

Every one of us is shaped by our experiences, and your experiences in each stage of your career differentiates you from the other candidates.

By discovering what is unique about yourself, you are able to identify what you offer through a combination of your personal qualities, skills, achievements and values.

Use examples in your previous employment to reinforce your personal brand, and to prove that you will be valuable to your prospective employer.

The more relevant these examples are, the more effective your resume.

Top 3 things to avoid putting into your resume

#1 General Phrases

Phrases such as “good team-player” or “results-oriented” should remain as requirements in the job description.

When writing your resume, try instead to identify specific requirements and address them with examples to show how you demonstrate these abilities.

#2 Problems in Previous Job

“Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions” – this is not the best way to resolve problems at work, but definitely your prospective employers will not be keen to interview seemingly “problematic” candidates on the outset.

Your personality and attitude towards conflicts are very important, because prospective employers are definitely looking for people who could work well in their culture.

The same goes for the interview. Avoid criticizing your previous superiors or work environment, but focus more on how you managed to work with a diverse team to make difficult decisions on the job.

#3 Old / Temporary Jobs

Listing temp jobs or jobs from more than 15 years ago on your resume would usually make your resume too lengthy and irrelevant.

Instead of writing a wordy resume that covers everything you have ever done, take the time to decide the relevant parts and delete those that are unnecessary.

You can do so by grouping similar temp jobs together, or by reducing your old jobs to a list of notable achievements instead of a full description of your role.

Your Personal Statement

A personal statement is useful as a means to summarize your resume by outlining your skills, experience and aims. If written well, your personal statement or profile may allow a recruiter to identify the value you can add to the organization.

A) Who?

This part describes who you are and what skills you possess that could be a great addition to the team.

“As an experienced sales manager, my tenacious and proactive approach resulted in numerous important contract wins.”


“A recent business economics graduate with a 2:1 honours degree from the University of X, looking to secure a Graduate Commercial Analyst position to use and further develop my analytical skills and knowledge in a practical and fast-paced environment.”
B) What?

Here you show what skills and experience you can contribute to the organization.

“My excellent networking skills have provided my team with vital client leads, and my ability to develop client relationships has resulted in an 18% increase in business renewals for my current organization.”


“Proven track record of success, including managing the top performing store in the region, and having the lowest staff turnover rate of all UK outlets.”
C) Why?

This expresses your reasons for applying for the job and your career goals.

“After eight years in sales, currently seeking a new challenge which will utilise my meticulous attention to detail, and friendly, professional manner.”


“My career goal is to assume a role which allows me to take responsibility for the analysis and interpretation of commercial data for a well-respected and market-leading leading company.”


“Currently out of work due to company closure, looking for the right opportunity to bring my expertise to a well-established fashion brand in an upper management position.”