What does a hiring manager look for in a resume?

There are certain things every hiring manager hopes to see in your resume, and certain mistakes they’ll hope you’ll avoid. There are so many types of resumes in the market today it can certainly become a very confusing place for the job seeker. What are some of the best things you can include in your resume to ensure you impress, not distress, any prospective hiring manager?

Be specific

One of the most common mistakes job seekers make is being too vague in their descriptions. If you saved the company $100,000 last year, then be sure to include this exact figure. Think in terms of numbers, dollars and quantities. There’s no need to inflate your statistics as they’ll likely be validated during a verbal employment reference if you’re seriously considered for the job. Including truthful and impactful statistics about your performance and achievements on the job will go a long way towards impressing recruiters and employers.

Be polished

This means shining your shoes, as well as your resume! Ensuring every point of contact contributes to presenting a polished and professional image will go a long way towards separating yourself from your competition. Surprisingly, not every candidate pays careful attention to the spelling and formatting on their resume, nor do they necessarily ensure their shirt is pressed. It’s these little bits and pieces that demonstrate how keen you are and how you will contribute, with the assumption that you take a similar detailed approach to your work.

Be unique

It’s easy enough to fill out a cookie cutter resume template online these days, but the end result will show. Prospective employers want to know you’re a real human, with a real personality to match. Your resume is the perfect place to tell your story in terms of experience and qualifications. Your cover letter is ideal for demonstrating the skills and abilities you can bring to an employer that are different from the next person. Also, tailoring your resume to each job is critical to demonstrate you understand the need to be unique. “I want to see a generic resume, written by a robot” said no employer, ever!

Be impressive

Your resume is the place to showcase your talent, so don’t hold back. Some people might feel embarrassed to list all of their accomplishments, especially if they are many and varied. Your resume and cover letter however, are the first opportunity you have to impress a prospective employer. Consider the types of information to include and highlight your greatest accomplishments in each of your roles, whilst ensuring to be specific about the details.

Contact Successful Resumes today to book your appointment to design a resume that will not only impress prospective employers, but will demonstrate your full potential.


Is your resume old fashioned?

We all know how often trends in fashion change but did you know the same also applies to resumes? A resume you submitted for a job just a few years ago may now be outdated. What are some of the popular shifts in recent times when it comes to the style, structure and format of your resume?

Contact Details

Given how the search for employment has shifted online in recent years, there’s no longer any need to include your street address on your resume. It’s also now essential to include your email address, despite the fact you’ve probably emailed your resume to the hiring manager directly. Once printed, your resume may end up in a pile with hundreds of other applications so why not make it easy for the recruiter to contact you? Also include your mobile number because including a landline number is now considered an outdated practice.

Font and Structure

When computers first became popular people were writing resumes with fancy fonts that looked a lot like actual handwriting. It’s far more preferred these days to stick to contemporary modern, stream lined looking fonts such as Arial and Helvetica.

Use bullet points to highlight significant points without over-kill. Avoid using slabs of text in paragraph format on your resume as this can be off-putting for your reader. Your resume is a marketing tool and not a novel!

Including an objective statement instead of a summary is the modern approach to resume writing. Previously employers were interested in what you wanted as a job seeker whereas today they’re more concerned about who you are and what you can do for them. They’re focused on how you can best add value so make it your job to tell them in 2-3 succinct sentences.

Skills and Hobbies

These days almost everyone knows how to use Internet Explorer or Google Chrome. A few years ago these might have been great skills to include, but nowadays they’re the expected minimum. Instead include skills that the broader population doesn’t necessarily have, for example if you’re a gun at Quark or InDesign.

It’s no longer necessary to include reference to extracurricular hobbies – at the end of the day, no one’s really interested! You waste valuable resume space by including facts that are not significant to the reader or to your application.


You will no doubt have a bunch of professional referees on standby to support your application, so there’s no longer a need to state “references available upon request” at the bottom of your resume.

Times have changed and so have the styles and format of the contemporary resume. Successful Resumes employ highly qualified staff who are each trained in the latest trends of resume fashion, and we’re here to help. One of our team can assist you to update your resume.


Does your cover letter need a refresh?

Your cover letter may have once won you lots of interviews but if some time has passed since you last used it, it’s probably time for a refresh. There are some things that no longer need to be included on your cover letter, and even if you once had a brilliant one, this may no longer be the case.

Jam-Pack it!

One of the biggest mistakes job seekers make is to include too much information. Your cover letter should provide a succinct introduction to yourself and your resume, and therefore you should refrain from telling your whole life story. Use bullet points to incorporate critical facts, and keep your sentences short and punchy.

Personalise it

Sending out masses of your cover letter and resume is also a thing of the past. Today, job seekers need to demonstrate a little bit more care and must tailor their cover letter for each job accordingly if they want to stand out from the crowd. A generic letter containing standard information no longer cuts it and you’ll need to show a lot more love to each of your applications than ever before.

Modernise it

Starting your cover letter with “Dear Sir”, is a big no-no but is a super common practice that still happens today. This method of introduction was used many years ago but given that many hiring managers are now female, it is an outdated practice of years gone by. Even “Dear Sir or Madam” is outdated. Instead opt for “Dear Hiring Manager” in the case you don’t have access to detailed information about the hiring manager. You could also ring the company to ask for specific contact information about the hiring manager and address your cover letter accordingly.

You may have previously focused on relaying your best features but now’s the time to focus on the benefits you can provide to an employer. We were previously educated to ask for what we wanted but times have changed and the job seeker needs to prove they can add value almost immediately.

There are a few catch phrases that have crept into cover letters in recent years that are now causing many a hiring manager to yawn and groan. Things such as “I’m writing to apply for the position of Mechanic” will get you in trouble if in fact you aren’t. This comes back to the tailoring piece mentioned earlier, in which it’s essential to tailor each letter to include each and every piece of correct information.

Another typical phrase is “I work well independently and as part of a team”. Yawn! This is getting to be an outdated phrase and these skills are expected as a minimum for most jobs. It’s far more beneficial to highlight your truly unique skills – the ones that will set you apart from your competitors.

If you’d like assistance with refreshing your cover letter, please contact Successful Resumes today. We’re here to help!


Tips to smoothing out a bumpy work history

You may feel like your resume is beyond repair if you’ve had gaps in your employment or held many short term jobs over the years. Smoothing out a bumpy work history is possible! There’s a variety of ways to take a rocky history and reimagine it to paint the picture you’re wanting to convey.

People chop and change positions, industries and qualifications like never before and although not necessarily a bad thing, it can cause your resume to appear “checkered”. Hiring Managers may question your stability and wonder about the choices you’ve made in your career. But like we said this movement is so common these days and there are plenty of ways to overcome it when creating or updating your resume.

Use resume bullets to your advantage

Summarising your accomplishments and work history by using bullets is a great way to effectively reduce the amount of information to include on your resume. Further to this and especially if you’ve held lots of short term jobs, use the final bullet of each job to provide a reason as to why you left the job. For example, “Quit and moved to XYZ” doesn’t sounds as attractive as “Was offered a position at XYZ which included a promotion and salary increase”.

Explain your story clearly

Your story may have many chapters and you might think some people will find it hard to follow. Explaining each scenario clearly will help the reader follow your journey. Under the name of the company and the job title you held, include a framing statement that relays the type of work the company undertakes and some outstanding points about your time there. Help the reader understand what the company does, what your role was and how well you completed it.

Use your cover letter to explain

Your resume provides a concise and succinct summary of your work experience and achievements as well as your qualifications and any other relevant information. Your cover letter on the other hand is just that, a letter, written to your prospective employer. This is the place to explain gaps and missing links ensuring that you’re mindful to use positive language that conveys the considered reasons for your movement.

There’s no need to apologise for decisions you’ve made in your career history to date nor is there any reason to make apologies for decisions that were ultimately made on your behalf, i.e., redundancy for example.

Gaps in employment are often the biggest concern to job seekers whereas employers are often comfortable provided an adequate explanation is offered. At Successful Resumes we specialise in creating efficient resumes that produce effective results. If you’d like assistance to design a resume that smooths out your bumpy career history, why not contact us today?


Top tips to capping your resume at two pages


Given your resume is your biggest marketing tool when it comes to hunting for work, it almost goes without saying that it needs to have huge impact! Prospective employers use your resume as a means to learn about your skills and experience, and they’ll make a judgement as to your suitability within seconds of reading it.

Don’t compromise quality for quantity

Trick number one is to ensure you only include quality information on your resume and trick number two is to cap the length at two pages maximum. Don’t waste time or space babbling on about each and every responsibility you’ve ever held, especially as time passes and you gain more and more experience.

Recruiters want to know exactly what you’ve been doing in recent times and will ask for additional detail about historical jobs if they invite you to attend a job interview. Depending on your age and work history, you may only have enough experience to fill one page. This is also fine because it’s far better to have one page of succinct and quality information, than two pages of gap filler.

Your layout tells your story

The way you format your resume is often interpreted as the way you will approach your work. If it’s squashed and messy or scattered with spelling mistakes, your work will also be perceived this way. Given that this is likely your one and only chance to impress the recruiter, make sure you get it right! Modern times call for a minimalist black and white layout, which includes clean lines that reflect your professional image. Use a contemporary but conservative font such as ‘arial’ for exam-ple. The style and size of your font can influence the amount of content you can include. Size 10 font is generally recommended as best practice. You can also save on some space by displaying your information using bullet points rather than slabs of text.

Hobbies and academic results

As times goes on, you’ll find yourself needing to “shrink” your information rather than trying to “fill” it. In this case, drop any mention of your hobbies and interests. At the end of the day and if we’re being perfectly honest, no one really cares about this anymore! Also, if you completed school many moons ago unless you achieved near perfect grades, ditch any mention of your academic results. The work accomplishments you’ve achieved since school now carry far greater importance that any school grades ever will. In a world where ageism does still exist, it’s also best not to reference the years that you achieved schooling, university or other qualifications if it indicates your age. That is, “Completed Certificate of Office Administration in 1982”, for example.

The combination of these tips will assist you to write a killer resume that seeks attention. If you would like additional assistance in doing so, please contact us today.

Is it better to position yourself as a generalist or a specialist?


When considering whether it’s best to position yourself as a generalist or a specialist, surprisingly, the answer may depend on the specific job for which you’re applying. If the job is one that requires skills that most people in that industry should have, then it’s probably best you stick to outlining your experience in a generalist way. However, if the job advertisement calls for particular skills, then it’s better to specifically demonstrate how you possess those exact skills.


Generalists usually have a broad range of skills and experience and are willing to get involved in a broad scope of work. They have a solid set of transferable skills and can hit the ground running in many environments.


Specialists have usually spent a number of years focusing on one particular area of their career. They have often spent time and money on study, qualifications and gaining particular work experience that will enable them to collect the necessary skills to become a specialist in that area.

Future demand

In the past, many people received career advice that being a generalist may not meet the needs of employers in the future. That being a generalist meant they wouldn’t have the right skills at the right time and that they’d therefore miss opportunities for work. Generalists were considered to know a little about a lot, which was sometimes not enough to excel in many roles.

Today, specialists are often warned about becoming too specific. A high level of competition in the market combined with limited job opportunities and rapidly shrinking company budgets has created new demand for the generalist worker. Workers are expected to do more with less. Instead of hiring two plumbers, one with specialist knowledge in sewage systems and the other in storm water drains for example, companies are now tending towards hiring one generalist who can work across both niches.

There are of course some fields in which specialists will always be incredibly necessary. Computer programming is one of these examples, where the future of our technology depends on dedicated specialists who know particular programming codes and the like.

There will always be a place for generalists and specialists but it’s just a case of determining how to pitch yourself for each job. Sometimes having two resume templates is the best way around this, so you’re ready to apply for a job no matter if it specifies a generalist or a specialist.

If you’d like assistance in designing a new resume or in refreshing an existing one, we’re here to help. Please make an appointment today and we look forward to assisting you with your job search.

How to use statistics to make your resume pop


Describing your skills on your resume is easily done, but you should also include supporting evidence of your work achievements. Rather than simply writing in text that you reached a certain goal or finished a certain piece of work, why not better emphasise it by including statistics? For ex-ample, instead of “Completed XYZ within agreed 6 month period”, why not say “Completed XYZ and attained a ranking of top 97%”. This demonstrates to the reader that you’ve not only reached the set goal, but you’ve exceeded the minimum expectations and blitzed it!

Using numbers in your resume

Use numbers in your resume to support your achievements and provide solid evidence that you’ve exceeded expectations. There’s no need to scatter numbers throughout your resume if they aren’t relevant but where you have a point to make that you can better prove by including a statistic, go for it!

Including statistics in your resume grabs the readers attention and quickly spells out your accomplishments. A reader’s eye will be drawn to text on the page that appears different to the rest and they’ll immediately see where you have included statistics. It’ll also help you to cap the length of your resume at two pages. As well as including numbers provide a brief explanation of how you achieved them. Using this method, you can also showcase some of your other skills at the same time.

Think money and time

Money and time are some of the biggest things employers are thinking about when it comes to hiring new employees. They want to know that the candidates they select understand the importance of working effectively and will save the company time and money. Include statistics in your resume that support the fact you’ve saved previous companies time and money and the employer will consider that you’ll no doubt do the same for them in the future too.


Depending on the nature of your work, you should also include figures that demonstrate how you grew revenue, calls or clients during your employment. Generally speaking, work isn’t just about showing up every day, but it’s also about making progress for the company for which you work. This includes such things as increasing your share of customers or making more sales or covering a larger territory. Prove that you are on an upwards trajectory in your career and make employers want to hire you!

If you’d like some help to transform your resume and would also like to learn how to include some glowing statistics, why not contact us today? We’re here to help and we would love to design a standout resume that’s specifically tailored for you.

Stay at home parents returning to the workforce – how to design your resume

Working at home as a stay at home parent can be tricky to explain on your resume. The biggest challenge you’ll face with returning to the workforce is how to sell yourself to prospective employers.  Should you mention your ‘Stay At Home Parent’ status or should you leave a gap in your resume?

Skills, skills and more skills!

Believe it or not, you’ve probably got even more to offer than a childless employee. You’ve now gained a multitude of life experience under your belt and have spent the past year or possibly longer fine-tuning your ability to multi-task, prioritise, communicate and no doubt you’ve also developed an incredible ability to stay organised. Why? Because you had to! You’ve likely also honed your exposure to logistical arrangements, your ability to run on time to a clockwork routine and your ability to work within a specific budget.

No gaps

A good resume should always be gap-less regardless of the scenario and it’s good practice to label your time raising your children as ‘parental leave’ regardless of whether you were paid or not. It’s also wise to label your time off as parental leave no matter if you were employed during that time or not. Rather than listing all the tasks of a stay at home parent on your resume, simply list ‘Parental Leave’, include the dates, and leave it at that.

Demonstrate currency

Pair your period of parental leave with relevant study in your field.  Clearly highlight on your resume how you’ve kept your skills up to date and the ways in which you’ve remained abreast of changes in technology or legislation that are likely to affect your work.  Study can include a lengthy qualification but also any variety of short course so long as it was run by an accredited training provider. Also include any voluntary or part-time work you completed during your time off.  Don’t disregard this experience simply because you weren’t paid or weren’t working in an office for example.

Use your squad!

Another trick is to network, network, network!  Leverage people in your network to source leads on positions. Some positions are never formally advertised. Others may be advertised but you may not get a look-in unless someone is able to put in a good word. Competition is high but employers may be keen to meet you if they hear about your brilliant work experience from a colleague or another person within your network.

Last but not least, celebrate! Landing the perfect position when making your return isn’t easy and it can take time. But just like for every other parent who’s been there before you, it will happen. So give your resume and job search the time and energy it deserves, and enjoy your success when the time comes.

Resume tips for stay at home parents returning to work

Six signs you’ve stayed in your job too long

Staying in a job too long can cause you to become stale and stagnant and can also impact your health. If you find yourself struggling to get out of bed in the morning or dragging your feet to work, it may be time to consider making a change.

1. Progressing your career

Sticking around too long in one job can hinder your ability to eventually move on. You could become complacent and find yourself thinking it’s easier to stay than face a new crowd and learn new skills. If you reach this point, it’s definitely time to move on before you get stuck in a career rut. Even if you make the switch to a new employer but undertake the same job, life will be different for the better. Mix it up, and you’ll find it easier to stay motivated over the long term.

2. Financial Gain

We all work for money, and many of us love the money more than the work itself! But…sticking around in a job purely for financial gain will eventually find you resenting your employer and you’ll become lethargic in your work. This could mean you miss out on opportunities for promotion or a pay-rise in the short term. It’s much better to stay engaged and in-line for promotion than simply working to maintain the same salary.

3. Passion is gone

Just like any relationship, if the passion is gone it may be time to consider your next steps. If you resent spending time in the office or can’t stand looking at your colleagues, this is not the environment for you. A good work environment should have you feeling positive at the end of each day and enthusiastic as to what the next day will bring.

4. Isolation

If you find yourself preferring to work on your own, take your lunch break solo or crossing your fingers that your manager is away each morning, there’s definitely better prospects to be had elsewhere. Negative feelings at work can directly impact your health and can contribute to anxiety and depression.

5. Lack of inclusion

You may notice that you’re no longer invited to the same meetings or asked to present at team meetings. If you’re not included as often as you previously were by your colleagues, they may have noticed a deterioration in your enthusiasm and may think that you’re not interested in attending.

5. Technology

Sometimes, if you stick around in a job long enough, you may find that technology races ahead and that computers are implemented to do the job you’ve always done. If you see this coming and are not prepared, you may become disheartened. Now is the time to consider up-skilling and retraining before technology gets the better of you.

If you’d like to discuss retraining options, or would simply like to update your resume in order to apply for a new position, please contact us today.

six signs you've stayed in your job too long

New graduates – are you enjoying your choice of career?

Young adults are forced to make career choices during the final years at high school. This is before many have even had the chance to hold down a job, let alone choose the type of job they want to do for the rest of their lives. What if you’ve finished a University Degree and have landed a so-called “good” job, but hate every minute of it? This is not an uncommon situation, so don’t stress!

Early career choices

Perhaps you chose your career based on the type of job your parents worked or perhaps you chose something that sounded glamorous or well paid. Whatever the reasons, once you start working in that career you may actually find that it’s not all it’s cracked up to be, or that it’s simply not what you were expecting. Lucky for you, in this day and age you have the opportunity to easily change your mind! It may come at some financial expense but what’s money when we’re talking about your long term happiness here?

Transferring your skills

The education and skills you’ve gained to date will hold you in great stead to transfer to another career. You can build upon your existing skills by moving from a generalist field into a more specialised one within your existing career selection or alternatively you might prefer to choose something completely different. To explain it more simply, maybe you undertook a management degree but you’d now like to specialise in accounting. Or perhaps you completed an apprenticeship but have since decided you’d like to pursue a completely different trade. Whatever you want to do is perfectly acceptable and perfectly possible! Simply keep the education and skills you’ve already gained, and work at building upon them.

Give your choice a chance

If you’ve only recently completed your qualification and are already wondering if you’ve chosen the right career, why not give it a shot before you make your final decision? You may be pleasantly surprised and find you actually enjoy the work. Perhaps it’s just the study that you don’t enjoy! Stick it out for a period of time, for example one year, before deciding to change careers or focus on a different niche. You might end up changing your mind over time because sometimes when people become more familiar with things they find they also become more comfortable and confident in doing them.

Surrounded by modern technology however, there’s absolutely no reason you can’t change careers or pursue further study in a different field. There’s never before been as many avenues for education and employment opportunities, so definitely spend time working out what’s right for you. Most importantly it’s important to work out what is going to bring you happiness over the longer term because that’s the stuff that’s going to change your life!


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