31-Point Checklist to Follow for a Successful Resume
The team at CS Executive Group Inc ChemSkill have edited this article to outline a 31-Point checklist to follow for a successful resume for candidates within the Scientific/Technical fields. This may not apply to all employers/recruitment agencies.
Creating a successful resume involves a lot of hard work and attention to detail. Small errors could have a big impact – and create a negative impression! It also requires a strong understanding of how recruiters search for candidates. Make sure you use this checklist before you circulate your resume.
Logical Structure and Flow
1. Make sure your resume is well organized.
2. Each section must have a header like – summary, work experience, personal data, skills, publications, research, etc.
3. For the text, use short, succinct and technical bullet points only – avoid long paragraphs.
Updated Contact Information
4. The top of your resume should contain your basic contact information – your mobile number, email, LinkedIn address, and suburb/city.
5. Don’t give multiple contact details as it gets confusing to choose from.
6. Check that all contact details are updated.
Overview / Summary
7. The content of your resume should begin with a brief overview/summary of your areas of expertise and your industry background to give recruiters a glimpse of who you are.
8. Add your objective in the overview/summary of your resume rather than have it floating by itself.
What work you handle – the ‘Work Experience’ section
9. As well as adding in routine job functions, add what sets you apart. For example, if you are in sales, focus on the products you deal with and the territory you handle.
10. Clearly show which areas you specialize in and what are the areas that you actually handle for the company.
11. Make sure your work experience is in reverse chronological order.
12. Clearly spell out your expertise through your accomplishments. Ensure you have separate “Achievements” sections corresponding to each job you have included in your work experience. Try not to create one huge section with all your achievements all put together.
13. Quantify your achievements. Show figures! It’s not enough to say ‘Increased sales substantially’ instead you should say ‘Increased sales by 25%’
14. Numbers must be mentioned in numerical form- not text form – ’70’ instead of ‘seventy’.
15. Make sure your “Skills” section only includes specific details: Like for example, knowledge of professional software, or a particular type of instrumentation or handling some specific tool, equipment, or a type of research area.
16. Avoid listing soft skills, such as leadership skills, communication skills. Instead, weave your soft skills into your job description itself by using examples that show that you possess these skills. For example, “led a team of 10 people…” shows your leadership and team management skills.
17. Depending on the job requirements, this section may be placed before or after the work experience.
18. Remove your early education as it is understood that you have passed school if you have done a Ph.D.
19. If you are applying for a job that asks for a specific education qualification, also mention that qualification in your summary at the start of your resume.
Personal information Must Be Brief
20. You can add your photograph on your resume if you like, but be sure it is a professional shot. Something like you would expect on LinkedIn.
21. You should definitely add hobbies and interests. It helps humanise your profile and gives us an understanding of how you may fit within the workplace culture.
22. Remove marital status, parents names, details of your family background or dependents.
Reference Section / Declaration
23. Do write references on request – It lets us know that you do have some available and ready to be contacted.
24. After you have finished with the above, make sure your resume is at least 2 pages long. Depending on the amount of detail you add, you may even have 4-5 pages by the end.
Neat Appearance and Professional Finish
25. Keep your resume well-spaced out, grammatically correct and without too much clutter of heavy text. There must be plenty of white space between the different sections and elements of the resume.
26. Use black text on a white background.
27. Avoid graphics pie charts or bars, flow charts, symbols, and pictures. It is distracting.
28. Use a single font. Font size 12 preferably.
29. PROOFREAD extensively. You cannot afford any spelling or grammatical mistakes. It gives the impression you lack attention to detail.
PDF & Subject Line of Emails
30. When applying for a job unless directed otherwise – send your resume in Microsoft Word format.
31. Check the subject line of your email – don’t leave it blank or just say resume or job application in the subject line. Instead – Your Name – Job you are applying for – and reference code if any, should be mentioned