Guidelines for developing your resume

As there are no rules set in stone about how to develop a resume, the following resume guidelines will give you some thought-provoking information to help you understand the stages to work through.

Big picture

…keep your target audience in mind. Your goal is to build a resume that sufficiently showcases your professional value to an organisation that the reader wants to meet you.

Proofread the final product. Remember you are developing a standout resume so you may re-work it a number of times.


… company name and a brief paragraph about the company / division. If you reported into a senior level, show the title of the position. That is followed by the title of your role and the specific responsibilities. This can be represented as a paragraph to scope the role or if there are multiple areas of responsibility that you feel are important to list bullet point them. Then you follow with itemising your achievements. Achievements need to be an advantage to the organisation therefore substantiate them with supporting facts.

Do not list referee details. Your referees are to be protected from unsolicited callers. They are making themselves available as a professional courtesy to you. Under the heading for Referees, make the note they are “available upon request”. That way you release the contact details to the Hiring Manager / HR Consultant / Recruitment Consultant at the appropriate time in the recruitment process. It also provides you the opportunity to confirm your referees will be available to take the call at their nominated time.

Here are a few other guidelines you should keep in mind:

  • If you have gaps in your career, leave those gaps and manage the situation as part of a discussion in interview.
  • Your educational background does not need to include school if you have more than 5 – 6 years’ experience. No need to include transcript of results either.
  • Personal information eg age, marital status, children, home address are not necessary.
  • Do not use first person ie “I”. Your resume is a statement of facts.
  • Use present tense for language around your current role, and past tense for your achievements and earlier roles.
  • Short and descriptive sentences have more impact and easier to read.
  • Photographs are personal choice, but not recommended.
  • Be mindful of using industry acronyms ensuring the reader will interpret accurately. Again, it is all about your target audience.
  • Make sure your contact details are on each page and each page numbered – in case it is printed off, it makes it easier for the reader.
  • Resume length can vary: between two and four pages is acceptable.