Preparing a Resumé


Commonly Asked Questions

Points to Remember

Format of the resumé

Sample resumé


Interview Preparation

Recommended Reading

Maverick! - Ricardo Semler

The Welch Way - Jeffery A Krames

The Leader Within - Drea Zigarmi, Ken Blanchard, Michael O’Connor, Carl Edeburn

Preparing a Resumé


A well prepared resumé is an essential part of the job search process. Many very skilled and talented people never get to an interview because their resumés have inadequate content and are poorly presented. Whether you are applying for positions in the newspaper or on the Internet or have been 'head hunted', at some point you will need a well prepared document which tells 'your' story and presents you in the best possible light. In many cases you may be competing against upwards of 50 - 100 other candidates, even in senior executive roles.

A resumé is a marketing document. It represents you and tells the reader about you and your capabilities. Its presentation and content also tells the reader a lot about you as an individual. The information contained in the resumé needs to be concise, factual, descriptive and relevant to the position you are applying for.

There are many different resumé formats you can use, but essentially a prospective employer needs to know some key information relevant to the vacancy they are trying to fill i.e. skills and qualifications; general experience; specific industry or job related experience and achievements. Achievements are very important..

The covering letter which is attached to your resumé is also important, however it must not be too verbose. It is essentially an introduction and can be used to draw the readers attention to specific skills or experience that you may have which are relevant to the role as advertised.

Resumés should ideally be between 1 - 2 pages of relevant information and only longer if necessary. Length will depend on number of roles, experience and relevant technical data. Supporting data can be taken to meetings if requested.

Remember: you are 'promoting' yourself to a prospective employer. Why would they want to hire you ? What are you offering them as a prospective employee ?

In preparing a resumé you cannot afford to be modest or assume the reader can read between the lines or will know what you do. The content and functionality of similar roles varies enormously between different companies and industries. Also remember, your resumé may initially be read, reviewed and evaluated by someone not directly associated with the role and who will not be making the final hiring decision, so 'spell out' who you are and your capabilities in a concise manner.

Experienced employees and managers and executives in their 30s, 40s and 50s need to emphasise the extent of their responsibilities and accountabilities and what they have achieved.

Commonly Asked Questions

1. How long should my resumé be?
Preferably a maximum of two pages. The information must be relevant, so for less experienced people it may be less than two pages and for very experienced people it may be slightly more. Interviewers may require more supporting documentation be taken to interview.

2. What personal information should I put on my resumé?
Marital status and age are not necessary. Marital status will come up in an interview and if you have family commitments which would make it difficult to be away for long periods, you need to be upfront. Some employers like to know what a person’s interests and hobbies are, so think about the role and whether it is relevant. Interviewers will ask if they want to know. Religious beliefs should not be included. Whilst it is not necessary to put medical details in your resumé, issues which will knowingly encroach upon normal working hours or impact your ability to perform the role need to be divulged at interview.

3. What contact information should I put on my resumé?
You should only put your preferred contact details in the resumé i.e. your mobile telephone number and email address and an after hours number. If you are currently employed it is not advisable to use a work email address and contact number. Make it as easy as possible to be contacted. Put your contact information under your name at the top of the resumé.

4. Should I put my address on my resumé?
It is not necessary to do so but you will be asked where you live. One possible drawback of including your address is distance from the job. Although you may be prepared to relocate or commute, if you live far away, it may count against you during the initial screening process. On the other hand, close proximity could work in your favour. If in doubt, leave it out.

5. Where do I put qualifications and should I include courses attended?
Qualifications are important. Relevant qualifications only, should be placed after or under your name at the top of your resumé or in a Section headed ‘Education and Training’. This section should be at the bottom of your resumé.
Include all relevant courses in the ‘Education and Training’ section.

6. Should I list all my jobs and employers in my resumé?
It depends on your experience. If you have had a number of roles and / or employers, have a section which says ‘Employment History – last 10 years’ or ‘Career Summary – last 15 years’, whatever you think is relevant. Use reverse chronological order and include the year and month and job titles for each role.

7. Do I describe each employer company I have worked for?;
It helps to position the role and the company by giving a brief description. There are many companies out there which are not ‘household’ names but which are significant players in their market. Describing what they do, their operating market and turnover gives perspective.

8. Should I have a ‘Personal Summary’ or ‘Objective’?
At the moment it is the trend to have a ‘Personal Summary’. If you include one, make it meaningful. Describe who you are, your skill base and what you have achieved. A one line objective going forward, could be included at the end of the summary.

9. Should I include a photograph?
No, not unless it is asked for, such as with an overseas role you are applying for.

10. Should I use bullet points or paragraphs on my resumé?
Use bullet points for one line sentences and paragraphs. Keep paragraphs to 3-4 lines.

11. Which fonts should I use for my resumé?
Arial or Times New Roman

12. Should I include referees in my resumé?
No, not unless they are specifically requested and even then you should question why they would need them before you have even had an interview. Indicate at the bottom of your resumé ‘Referees available upon request’.

13. Do I need a covering letter to accompany my resumé?
Whilst not absolutely necessary, a covering letter does give you an opportunity to draw attention to your experience, skills and achievements which specifically relate to the requirements of the role as advertised. Be positive but not verbose.

 Points To Remember

1. Don’t understate yourself and be too modest. Describe and emphasize your responsibilities and achievements. Achievements can include a number of things such as results you have achieved, promotions, successful projects you have managed etc. Always be honest and truthful. Do not exaggerate.

2. Prepare your resumé yourself. You know better then anyone what you have accomplished. Avoid 'Professional' resumé writers other than for structural guidance.

3. Plan the layout and content of your resumé. Prepare a draft and keep changing and editing it until you are happy with the content.

4. Based on experience gained at interview and questions asked, you may choose to change or add certain information.

5. Be prepared to change the content of your resumé according to the role you are applying for. You may need to emphasize specific experience according to the requirements of different vacancies.

6. In your resumé place most emphasis on your responsibilities and what you have achieved.

7. If you feel the need, have your resumé reviewed by someone you believe can give you constructive feedback. Ask for constructive, honest feedback.

8. Do not be paranoid about confidentiality and end up leaving out significant information in your resumé. If you have concerns about confidentiality then either emphasize the need for confidentiality in your covering letter and / or contact the person shown in the advertisement. Find out more about the position before sending your resumé in.

9. Structure your resumé using reverse chronological order.

10. When listing past employment always include dates and always include months as well as years i.e. June 2007 - June 2011.

11. For each relevant position ensure you describe your key responsibilities and accountabilities and all achievements.

12. Whilst you need to be concise, do not be too brief, factual and bland. Do not use single words to describe what you do. Use powerful words and phrases which describe to the reader what you do, what you are responsible for and what you have achieved.

13. If there are one or two key activities or projects with which you have been involved and which are highly confidential, indicate broadly what they are and that you will be prepared to elaborate at interview.

14. Do not criticise present or past employers or make any derogatory comments about a company in writing.

15. It is not necessary to follow up emailed resumés with faxes or posted originals.

16. If for some reason you need to post a copy of a resumé, send it without expensive binding or plastic folders. These are a hindrance.

17. Do not include the names of referees in your resumé and do not attach copies of references. At an appropriate time you will be asked for referees.

18. Ensure referees you intend using are relevant i.e. boss, peers, key subordinates and customers. At reference checking stage ensure you contact the referee prior to the prospective employer undertaking the reference check and brief them on the role you have applied for so that they can answer questions constructively. Remember referees you consider appropriate may not be appropriate to a prospective employer.

Format Of The Resumé

1. Resumés can take many formats. Candidates with years of experience should focus on more recent functions, responsibilities and achievements. Do an Internet search for guidelines and see the resumé below.

2. Ensure your name and contact details (preferred contact number and email address) are clearly visible at the top of the page. This may include your address and qualifications or these can be at the end of the resumé.

3. In a resumé it is not necessary to put in all your personal details such as marital status, number of children, interests, clubs etc., however many people do include this information at the back of their resumé.. Relevant courses attended, which may be numerous and should also be shown at the end of the resumé. Note: only include relevant data.

4. Experienced candidates should concentrate on emphasizing their relevant experience when describing the roles they have performed within the last ten years.

5. Often it is a good idea at the beginning of the resumé to put in a summary paragraph which describes your relevant experience as it relates to the role you are applying for, or which sums up your career as a whole. If you are not applying for a specific role then the summary paragraph will highlight specific relevant experience and skills.

This information could be in point form rather than a paragraph. A summary paragraph draws attention to the information you want to emphasize, but is not an absolutely necessary part of the document. This information can be mentioned in the covering letter or both. Some people will also include a ‘Career Objective or Goals’

6. Structure your resumé using reverse chronological order.

7. When listing past employment always include dates and always include months as well
as years i.e. June 2007 - September 2010, particularly for more recent roles. There is a
big difference in time between Jan 2008 and Dec 2008. Just saying 2008 is too vague.

8. If you have held various positions within the last 5-15 years, you should list them in
reverse chronological order whether they are with one company or with different
companies. Provide the name of the company, your role title and the dates only. Elaborate on each position later on in the resumé.

9. For each relevant position ensure you describe your key responsibilities and accountabilities and all achievements. It is often relevant to give a very short description of the company and / or your functional area, if it is not obvious. It may not be necessary with well known companies unless you performed a specialized function or worked on a special project. This information gives perspective to the reader.

10. Whilst you need to be concise, do not be too brief, factual and bland. Do not use single words to describe what you do. Use powerful words and phrases which describe to the reader what you do, what you are responsible for and what you have achieved.

11. If there are one or two key activities or projects with which you have been involved and which are highly confidential, indicate broadly what they are and that you will be prepared to elaborate at interview.

Sample resumé

                                                                             Jonathan M. McLaren (B.Com)
                                                            14 North Lake Drive, Chelmsford, Surrey. KT11 1EF
                                                        Telephone: 0202-432-6745 (AH); 07766521294 (Mobile)

Personal Summary:
A results orientated senior manager with a successful background and track record in the achievement of growth and profitable results. These have been achieved through the development and implementation of successful business and sales and marketing strategies and through the effective leadership of teams. Experienced in negotiating with suppliers at the highest level and working with leading market brands in the competitive retail, pharmaceutical and FMCG markets. Possess excellent communication and interpersonal skills with the ability to develop and maintain mutually beneficial internal and external relationships. Enjoys managing and developing individuals and teams, works well in pressurized situations and thrives on challenge.

Career Summary:
November 2008 to present Chemspot UK CEO
July 2005 – October 2008 Metway Products Managing Director
April 2003 – July 2005 Metway Products Marketing Director
June 1998 – April 2003 Metway Products National Sales Manager
Sept 1995 – May 1998 Solo Bio Group Business Development Manager February 1990 – August 1995 Elders Technical Sales & Marketing Manager

Nov 2008 to present: Chemspot UK CEO
CHEMSPOT is one the UK’s largest pharmacy marketing groups representing 450 retail stores nationally with a combined turnover of £900 million

  • Primarily responsible for increasing ROI without a significant increase in the cost base
  • Overseen the development and implementation of a new retail sales strategy across the UK market which has lead to significant business performance improvements
  • Actively involved in the development of a new retail store concept and in drafting and negotiating new supplier contracts
  • Initiated and lead the development and implementation of a very successful B2C eBusiness website
  • Facilitated the scoping and development of a standardized national franchise selection and training function for all employees.
  • Has lead to a significant improvement in productivity and a reduction in staff turnover.

July 2005 – October 2008 Metway Products Managing Director
Metway Products is a manufacturer and Distributor of a wide range of animal health care products. Company’s turnover was ± £210 million with distribution throughout the UK and markets in a number of European countries.

  • Oversaw the development and implementation of the company’s strategic plan with the full approval of the Board
  • Successfully restructured the business which included a significant outsourcing programme which lead to substantial savings in manufacturing costs
  • Have overseen a significant increase in turnover and profitability. Details can be discussed

April 2003 – July 2005 Metway Products Marketing Director
Introduced a multi-faceted marketing mix program that has been acclaimed by the industry as differentiating Metway from competitors as the UK’s premier animal health care supplier.

  • This has been accomplished through refining existing programs and the introduction of key new initiatives to the mix particularly Television, Public Relations and Relationship Marketing campaigns.
  • Developed and implemented a major regional media image campaign that has benchmark studies showing a shift over the last two years where Metway now dominates brand awareness throughout the UK.
  • Produced Metway’s most successful retail campaign for 2004 with a sales increase of 28% over the previous year.
  • Facilitated the establishment of a new Buying Department to harness group buying power to improve the bottom line. This has added a new dimension to Metway and over time, will provide a major income stream for the company.
  • Re-negotiated printing contracts resulting in savings of £520,000 per annum.

June 1998 – April 2003 Metway Products National Sales Manager

  • Developed and implemented a national sales strategy which consistently over four years
    lead to average sales increases of 18% pa with significantly improved profit performance
  • Restructured the sales team nationally. Recruited new sales professionals and introduced
    a stringent training and product knowledge programme. This directly lead to significant
    improvements in ROI
  • Appointed a number of qualified European Sales Agents which significantly increased

Sept 1995 – May 1998 Solo Bio Group Business Development Manager

Solo Bio is a manufacturer and distributor of an expanding range of bio-degradable household cleaning and washing products. Company commenced business in 1992 and has a turnover of ± £115 million.

  • Identified and developed a number of new retail and wholesale customers
  • Consistently exceeded sales targets and in recognition by management, received various awards
  • Worked closely with large retailers to develop ‘own-branded’ product range
  • Expanded European market sales by an average of 28% pa for three years
  • Recruited and trained a successful sales team which was expanded to five people within the last 12 month

February 1990 – Aug 1995 Elders Operations Manager
Elders is a producer of animal care and bio-degradable agricultural products. Commenced as a management trainee, progressed to Assistant Operations Manager and then Operations Manager.

  • Lead, direct and managed inbound and/or outbound site operations to ensure that the operations staff executes service agreements at or above the customer's standards
  • Maximized profitability through effective customer service, and prompt communication and follow-up on all pending matters with the customer
  • Maintained a clean, professional and safe working environment by inspecting and scheduling maintenance, and ensuring that all office and warehouse equipment was properly accounted for and in safe working condition
  • Planned and monitored daily staffing schedules and adjusted accordingly to ensure adequate staffing levels that support operational demands and business objectives
  • Managed revenue and expenses to reflect budget constraints
  • Managed and oversaw administrative functions to ensure all paperwork was processed efficiently and in a timely manner and met all compliance requirements

Education and Training:
Bachelor of Commerce – University of London 1991 (Majors: Marketing and Economics)
Management Development Programme - Stanford University 1995
Strategic Marketing Programme – International Marketing Institute 1997
Brand Management – Graduate School of Management 1998
Business Power Programme – Focus Marketing 1999