Resumes are one of the most important tools to assist you in getting that job.  Your resume needs to stand out so that your prospective employer chooses to select you for the next step of the hiring process.

Your resume should be a summary (2-4 pages maximum) of your qualifications, experience, employment history, and referees.

Include the following headings in your resume:

• Personal details

– Include your address, telephone number and email address

Tip:  Ensure your email address is professional.  Also, ensure the telephone number you provide has a professional business-like voice message

– It is not necessary to include your marital status, nationality, date of birth or a photo

– Provide citizenship and residency status if requested by employer

• Career objective or overview (optional)

– This is not necessary. If you wish to include, new graduates might consider adding a career objective.  For others, a career overview is preferable and is a summary of your career to date with key strengths/achievements.  The career overview should be no more than a few sentences

• Employment history

– Start with your current or most recent position

– Followed by previous positions in reverse chronological order

– Include the position title, dates of employment, a summary of the duties performed and/or responsibilities, and whether the position was full-time or part-time and permanent or temporary contract

– Include key achievements in each position

– If you have gaps in employment, briefly explain the reason eg travel, maternity leave, study or family commitments

– Also include any volunteer work here

Tip:  You may wish to include non-dietetic related employment history if the skills gained are transferrable to dietetics eg if you have been a retail supervisor where you used conflict resolution skills

Educational qualifications

– Include the degree, educational institution, and course dates

Tip:  You may like to include your grade point average/university results if this will differentiate you from other applicants

– Start with your highest or most recent qualification first

– It is not necessary to include high school qualifications

• Awards and achievements

– Include any awards, prizes, scholarships you have received relevant to the position you are applying for

– Include dates

• Professional memberships

– Include any organisations that you are a member of

– Include duration of membership

• Professional development

– Include courses and workshops attended

– Include dates

• Other skills

– Include other languages spoken

• Hobbies and interests (optional)

– If you have hobbies and interests related to the position you might include them here.  If not, suggest leaving this section out.

• Referees

– Include name, position title, organisation and contact details for at least 2 referees

– Also include their relationship to you eg current manager

– Where possible, it is preferable to include your current or most recent manager

– Ensure your referees are suitable for the position you are applying for, where possible. For example, if applying for a clinical position as a new graduate include your clinical supervisor

– Remember to ask your referees first before using their names and ensure they will be available if contacted

– Provide your referees with a copy of your application, and the role description of the position you are applying for

Tips for a stand-out resume

• Ensure there are no spelling or grammar mistakes, and that the tense is consistent throughout the resume.  Your resume is an example of your written communication skills

• Write your resume in the third person ie avoid the use of I, me or my

• Use the same font (preferably 10-12 font) throughout the document and make sure the layout is easy to read

• Use subheadings and bullets

• Include your name in the header or footer and include page numbers

• Ensure plenty of white space ie don’t try to cram in too much information

• Keep your resume concise

• Highlight skills and experience relevant to the job you are applying for; therefore you should adapt your resume for each job you apply for

• Avoid generic statements such as I am a good team player and have excellent communication skills.  Instead provide examples on how you have demonstrated these personal attributes ands skills

• Provide examples and demonstrate outcomes wherever possible eg 80% of my patients experience an average weight loss of five percent in six months

• Use action words eg led, chaired, evaluated

• Consider including quotes or statements from other people to substantiate your statements

• Make certain that all of the information you provide is accurate

• Ask someone else to read your resume and provide feedback for you

• Create a website to showcase your skills and experience

• Create a linked-in profile

Remember, to think about how you are different to all of the other applicants, and focus on highlighting your individual key skills, strengths and unique experience.

Good luck!

By Maree Ferguson