Back to Basics – Creating & Updating Your Resume
Whether you’re brand new to the world of work, have been looking for work for a while, or have recently decided it’s time to find something else, having a good resume is an important first step towards getting where you want to go.
More often than not resumes are left idle, sometimes for years, until of course, we go on the job hunt! Having an accurate, updated, and readable resume is essential and just adding your latest experience to an aging document is not a recommended approach. As the job market becomes increasingly more competitive this needs to be the best document it can be. Your resume is YOUR history so be sure to double and triple-check everything on it – especially spellings!
Creating a ‘Master CV’ (which you can then tailor for specific roles if needs be), will ensure you have little editing to do. Here are some basic universal tips on how to write an interview-winning doc:
Formatting & Fonts
- Word and PDF are the most commonly accepted doc types – Pages, Excel, and screenshots of physical documents are not what companies are looking for.
- Keep things simple – use plain fonts such as Arial (no comic sans or italics) and align your text (to the left and/ or justified but not centered for main body content).
- Don’t write in the first person or in paragraph, storytelling form. Bullets are your friend!
- Use headers and bold to draw the eye to key points of interest such as employment dates, company names and job titles.
Timeline & Temping
- Your most recent experience should always be at the top of the document then work backwards. Depending on your years in the workplace, consider removing old summer jobs and the like to save on space.
- Always ensure your dates are accurate and give months so companies can see the full breadth of your tenure. January 2018 – December 2020 is two full years of difference to December 2018 – January 2020.
- Include temp jobs, this experience is valuable and DOES count. If a role was temp or contract just say so, this will show a HR manager at glance any shorter-term work.
- Explain gaps where you can – if pre-pandemic (sigh) you went travelling for a year or took time off for full-time academic study this is worth explaining. If it is due to redundancy/ unemployment that is ok, we will explain this for you when presenting you to our clients.
Education & Courses
- Education should include any courses that will appeal to employers from university degrees to professional qualifications, courses and tech certificates.
- Your education can and should take centre stage on your resume especially if you are relatively new to the workplace as it’s more likely it is your education will get you a job. So get that on the top of page one.
- If you’ve been working and perhaps not got much further education then lead with your work experience.
What about all the other stuff?
We’ve now got to the back end of your CV. Here’s the place to list out any tech skills and systems you are experienced in. If you have ViewPoint or QuickBooks or are an Excel superuser be sure it is listed in black and white. Companies are keen to see this info.
Think about what else will appeal to someone reading your resume…
Are you Caymanian?
Are you bilingual in English and Spanish?
Do you type 85 wpm?
Are you a volunteer for Meals on Wheels or a member of a board?
Don’t be shy – say so adn spell it out! These are all things that employers will be interested to know and add another layer (and in the case of hobbies and charitable endeavours) a more personal element to your resume. Oftentimes, these are the very things that catch an employer’s eye and make a convivial conversation piece at the end of an interview after all the heavy lifting.
I could go on and on with this topic but overthinking it is what makes approaching resume writing daunting and often leads to complicated and unclear resumes. So just follow the basic guidelines above and most employers will be more than happy with what’s been presented to them. Expectations around resume lengths differ across industries and countries but Cayman has a relatively relaxed approach and 2-3 well thought out pages will be fine for most.
We often need a second pair of eyes. That’s where we come in! When you work with The Agency we will advise you of any tweaks or changes you should make to your resume to ensure what hits the market is the best version it can be.
If you have decided to commence a job search get in touch with us. We have a dedicated team working on lots of exciting opportunities in Cayman right now and we are always on hand to assist you with that CV should you need it. Check out all our live roles right here: https://theagency.opalstacked.com/job/