The Resume Checklist

The only checklist and resource sheet you’ll need to prepare a resume from scratch.

How to Use

Read through the whole checklist first before beginning work on your document. As you perform each task, tick them off. If you get hung up on something, don’t waste your time on it, move on and return later. Some action points have resources linked to them in the appendix to help you perform them. Repeat this process every time you are applying, because your CVs must be tailor-made for each opportunity.

Preparation

  • Research to see if there is a person within the hiring team you can acknowledge.

This goes regardless of whether you are responding to a hiring call or reaching out proactively. A letter addressed to a person will have a higher chance of being seen than a “To Whom It May Concern”.

  • Read the job description and pinpoint responsibilities and requirements for which you have a direct qualification or experience. We will highlight these later in the CV.
    See Resource 1
  • Identify 1-2 points for projects or changes you would undertake if you got this job.
  • Use a pre-set template to make the CV. Don’t be afraid to use a bold design, but keep it professional and sleek.
    See Resource 2

Cover Letter

  • Cover Letter will include the following prompts (in this order)
    See Resource 3

Name, contact information (header)

Purpose of the letter (1-2 lines)

Breakdown of your skills and qualifications (3-4 lines)

Short summary of your work experience (3-4 lines)

Why you are a good fit for the role (2-3 lines), and 

One or two ideas you would be excited to implement or explore in the advertised position (1-2 lines). 

  • Try to wrap up within 300 words
  • Check formatting and grammar
    See Resource 4
  • Re-edit at this stage if the cover letter is still too long.

Resume

  • Add a 1-2 line bio under your name. This will be like a tagline for yourself - make it catchy, compelling and short. Avoid using this as a space to list skills.
    See Resource 5
  • Write in first person
  • If you are using a photo, make sure it is clear and professional.
  • Make a separate list of your work experiences. Rank them in order of relevance to the role.

If the ‘experiences and education’ part of your resume exceeds one page, use this list to remove the least relevant ones (usually these experiences are the older ones or ones not in the same domain as the position).

  • List your work experience in reverse chronological order, i.e. the latest experience is listed first.
  • Under each experience, mention in no more than 3 bullet points the highlights of that job. You may divide them into responsibilities, activities and impact.
  • Avoid unexplained gaps in your work experience.

If you have a significant amount of time unaccounted for – add a positive spin by mentioning personal projects or skills you acquired. If you took them for health purposes, mention that too.

  • Avoid lying in your CV - about work experience, time periods, or skills. Most things today are easily verifiable.
  • List your academic and work achievements in single bullet point per achievement.
  • Mention transferable skills.

Especially important if you are a fresher with no work experience or applying to a job not similar to your previous work profile.

  • Mention soft skills.
  • Mention hard skills.
  • Research to see if there is a person within the hiring team you can acknowledge.
  • Mention certifications and training outside of traditional education.
  • Go back and ensure you’re not listing things for the sake of listing them.
    See Resource 6

Depending on the organisation you are applying for – spoken English proficiency will be expected, Microsoft proficiency will be expected. These can often come across as empty placeholders for other skills.

  • Feel free to add a fun, personal touch to the resume but avoid sharing too many personal, or quirky details that are not related to the job.
  • Make sure to share working and updated contact details and Linkedin information. If your social media contains samples of your work and experience, link them too.

If not, lock your account to avoid judgement (jk).

  • Avoid mentioning references in the CV, unless asked for. These will usually be asked for further down the recruitment process.
  • Edit and run a check for grammar. Ensure the formatting is clean and readable with proper indentations.

Run a print check in advance if you’ll need a hard copy of the CV. Documents can often need re-formatting for print.

  • At this stage, re-check to see if you’ve used cliche terms often (passionate, goal-oriented, self-motivated, team player etc.). If yes, switch them out.
    See Resource 7
  • Your final CV should not be longer than 2 pages at most (1 page if your total work experience is less than 5 years).
  • Check the application requirements to see if you’ve added all required documents.
  • Export the file as a PDF. Always share PDFs unless otherwise stated.
  • Ask someone else to read your CV and provide their feedback.
  • Never disqualify yourself from an application call, that is the hiring team’s job. Be confident and hit send. Good luck!

Resources

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