How Personal Should a Professional Resume Be?

Professional Resume and resume writing

When it comes to writing a professional resume, it can be difficult to know exactly what personal details you should include and which you should leave out.

While it’s obvious that you need to include things like your phone number and email address, how personal should your professional resume really be? And are employers even interested in your personal pursuits?


Should you include a photograph in your professional resume? Most of the time, this is not recommended. If you’re thinking something along the lines of, “it will be great for the employer to put a face to my name,” save this for the interview.

At the initial application stage, employers are not interested in what you look like, and unless you’re applying for a modelling or acting job, there’s no reason they should be. In addition to this, photographs can be rendered irrelevant if the resume is printed on a poor quality paper, photocopied or scanned into a database. Your face could end up distorted, or absent all together, and the photography efforts will be wasted.

Hobbies & Interests

Unless you are a graduate with little or no work experience, it is generally not relevant or advisable to include hobbies or interests.

If you do choose to include them, ensure they are tailored to suit the position. If you’re applying for a job in a design company, for instance, you may want to include hobbies like, “blogging about web design” or “attending art and design exhibitions” etc.

Email Addresses

If you don’t have a professional email address, get one. Having addresses with Google, Yahoo, Hotmail and other web-based companies is acceptable (though Service Provider addresses can be more reliable), as long as your email prefix is professional. Email addresses that use your name, for instance, are ideal (, but if you have an address like “” this is not going to make a very professional or mature impression.

Resume Designs

Ever heard the expression, “less is more?” At all times, the design of your resume should be professional not personal. This means staying away from colours, fancy fonts, animated designs and other decorative images and graphics. Even a border can detract from the formality and professionalism of your document. Instead, stick to black and white, and remember that simplicity is best.

Do you require someone to write your professional executive resume?

At Resumes Australia, we specialise in writing executive and professional resumes for hundreds of candidates across Australia each year.


kylie hammond

Easy Ways to Impress at an Interview


Every once in a while, I meet a job candidate who swears they love interviewing. Extreme introverts tend to fall into this camp. They love talking to people and feel confident in their ability to present themselves well, so the interview process isn’t a stressful one for them – it is actually fun and enjoyable.

For most people, though, there is at least some level of anxiety involved in interviewing for a job. Even for job seekers who are otherwise confident in their abilities, it can be scary to put yourself in front of a hiring manager for judgment and consideration. Especially when you really need that job.

Practice and preparation is key. The more you practice your interview skills, the better prepared you will be for any question that may come your way. But beyond that, there are a few things literally every single job seeker can do to improve their chances at an interview. These don’t require you to drastically change your personality or join Toastmasters to improve upon your public speaking – they just involve thinking ahead, and implementing a few simple tactics to garner the attention of the hiring manager in front of you.

Dress To Fit In

Everyone knows you should dress nicely for an interview, but what most people may not realize is that what constitutes as “nice” may vary from corporation to corporation. Finding candidates who can fit into the corporate culture is becoming more important to hiring managers every day, with a focus on building companies people actually want to work for and teams that are productive as a byproduct of their ability to work together.

So what does that mean for you, as the interviewee? Well, it means that taking some time to learn about that corporate culture could help you to pick out that interview day outfit.

Consider visiting the corporation prior to your interview and paying attention to how current employees are dressed on any given day. Do most of them seem pretty decked out, or are jeans and button downs more commonplace? Does this seem like a trendy company to work for, based on the attire of their employees, or do they appear to veer more towards the conservative in work apparel?

Once you’ve made your observations, you can begin to select your own interview outfit. Strive to dress a step or two above what you witnessed (avoid actually wearing jeans to an interview, even if that was all you saw anyone else in) without overreaching (wearing a three-piece suit to that casual office, for instance, would be overkill). You still want to look nice, and as though you have taken this interview seriously, but you don’t want to appear to be so stuffy that you wouldn’t actually fit in.

Show Up Early

It is always better to be early for an interview than late. So strive to show up 15 minutes ahead of your interview time, check in at the front desk, and then wait patiently where you are instructed. Consider bringing a book along with you – one that might spark a conversation with the interviewer, and that you can actually provide commentary on. People almost instinctively ask, “What are you reading,” when they begin interacting with someone who has a book in their hands. This opens the door for a true connection with the interviewer, as opposed to being caught staring at your phone when you are called back.

Know the Company

Spend some time researching the company, looking into recent press releases and innovative new programs they are launching. If you can bring these things up in an interview, and comment on why you see them to be so exciting and how they increase your desire to be a part of the company, you will be showing the interviewer that your passion and excitement is actually about this job – not just any job you can get.

Formatting Your Resume for the Job You Want


I’m going to let you in on a little secret: no one enjoys working on their resume. It’s a boring task to take on, and requires a lot of focus on selling yourself on paper – which isn’t something that comes naturally to most people. You want to know an even bigger secret? Nobody enjoys reading resumes either. Okay, so maybe that’s not a secret. In fact, you probably already knew it. But knowing that most hiring managers loathe this part of their job, and understanding the statistics that point to how little time they actually spend looking at specific resumes before making a decision (studies pinpoint anywhere from 8 to 30 seconds) is not an excuse to take a lazy approach with your resume. In fact, it’s even more reason for your resume to be perfect – you want something formatted to catch a hiring manager’s eye in those brief few seconds you have their attention. That’s right: formatting matters. What a lot of people may not realize is that there are three main ways to format a resume, and the format you choose should absolutely take into consideration the job you are applying for and the skills you have to offer.


A chronological resume is the standard format you probably learned from your high school guidance counselor. It involves listing out your previous employment in a reverse chronological format at the top of your resume, ending off with things like education and awards received. Under each job, you might also list some of the duties you fulfilled in that role. You would want to use this resume format if you were applying for a job in the same field you have always worked in, as your previous job titles likely serve as proof of your experience and background.

Functional & Skills Based

If, however, you are looking to make a job change or have had a gap in your employment history, a functional/skills resume may be the way to go. This resume format starts by listing out your skills, and sometimes applicable experience, rather than your previous job titles. Depending on the job you are applying for, you might divide those details up into two or three specific skill sets, listing out previous applicable experience you have had under each of those headers. This is a way of highlighting what you are capable of, above what your previous titles have been. It is a good way to show hiring managers that you have what it takes to do the job, even if your previous job history doesn’t automatically make that clear. An example might be if you were applying for a job in sales and had only previously worked in clerical positions. Instead of listing out your job titles, you could list out the skills and experience you had that might be applicable to a sales job – focusing on your customer service skill-sets.


A combination resume is basically just a hybrid of the chronological and functional resume formats. You would start by listing out those skills and focusing on what you are capable of, ending with a basic reverse chronological listing of your previous job titles and companies you have worked with. In this resume format, you would preserve your actual experience for the skills section, and leave the job titles list to just that – a simple list of previous job titles, without further delving into what each of those jobs entailed. This might be the right resume to use if you are hoping to advance in your career and want to highlight your capabilities, but also see your previous moves up the ladder in your field as being proof of your experience in the industry.

Weathering the Storm

stepping stones






The last 10 years have seen a lot of changes within the job market. 2008 marked an economic downturn that found far too many people without jobs, or afraid to leave jobs they hated for fear of being unable to find a new position.

While the economy has bounced back, there are still some industries, companies and geographical locations that are struggling, or that will in the years to come. Layoffs, pay freezes, and restructuring are far from being things of the past, and it is always possible you could be facing tough times in your current job.

Nobody wants to find themselves unemployed or awash amidst a terrible job situation. But how do you weather the storm and make it through those career struggles relatively unscathed?


Boost Morale

When a company is struggling, everyone working there feels the pain. Fears of being laid off can poison a work environment, making it difficult for everyone to perform at their best; which is, of course, especially unfortunate when a company clearly needs their employees working at 100 percent to get back to a successful place.

Employees who are able to push past that fear, and encourage others to do the same, can quickly become irreplaceable. You can be the company MVP by finding ways to boost morale around the office. Even just maintaining a positive attitude and being pleasant to be around during times of strife can make a difference. But if you are able to keep spirits high, especially when there are plenty of reasons for morale to be low, the difference you make won’t go unnoticed.


Be a Team Player

If you are hoping to avoid the next round of layoffs, one of the best things you can do is make yourself invaluable. Beat your deadlines, pay attention to detail, focus on producing quality work, and… be the team player your company needs you to be right now.

When companies are struggling, they tend to reduce down to a skeleton crew. Which means that some jobs aren’t getting done, and others are being done only superficially. It is during these times, especially, that you don’t want to be caught playing solitaire at your desk. Instead, capitalize upon any free time you may have by offering to help your co-workers and taking on extra tasks that need to be done. Genuine team players tend to hold on to their jobs longer when those layoffs come around, and their hard work and dedication is remembered when things start looking up and promotions become available again.


Hedge Your Bets

Yes, you want to remain loyal to your company and do what you can to help them stay afloat. But sometimes, you also have to be willing to recognize the writing on the wall. If things seem to be heading south, now is the time to brush up your resume and start reaching out to your networking connections.

It doesn’t mean you have to jump ship right away, but putting feelers out and remaining open to what else might be available could mean the difference between transitioning smoothly into a new role, and being left out in the cold. So don’t be afraid to keep an eye out for openings elsewhere, or to submit an application when something else worthwhile comes along. Just remember to be discreet about it when you do.

It is almost always easier to find a new job when you are currently employed – so don’t wait until you find that pink slip on your desk to start looking for new opportunities.


Five Reasons You Didn’t Get the Job

interview coaching

You found what seemed to be the perfect job. It was at the company you have dreamed of working for, a title that you were sure you were meant to hold, and offering a benefits package you were totally coveting. Everything this job was about, was what you have been looking for since the start of your career. So it really sucked to find out someone else got the gig. Look, rejection is brutal, no matter what form it comes in. But when you are literally sitting back and watching someone else sail away on your dream job, it hurts that much more. Which is exactly why it helps to figure out why you didn’t get the job this time – so that you can at least start making changes today that will hopefully give you a leg up the next time a perfect opportunity arises.

They Promoted From Within

More and more companies are starting to recognize the benefits of promoting from within, which is great if you already work for the company you see yourself still being at in 20 years. But if you are hoping to make a change, it can be a little harder to find your “in”. The good news is that if you were bypassed for an internal promotion, that isn’t really about you. There wasn’t much you could have done to change their minds – they likely had their candidate selected before ever posting the job. But the bad news is, if your sights really are set on this specific company – you may have to consider starting a few rungs down the ladder, getting your foot in the door and working your way up.

You Weren’t the Right Fit

Just because a job is your “dream job”, doesn’t mean you are the “dream candidate”. Companies tend to have very specific hiring criteria, and they make those criteria readily available to candidates. If you don’t possess the combination of experience and education they are looking for, you probably won’t get the job. Consider using that list as a starting point for improving upon your resume, though. Just because you weren’t the right fit this time, doesn’t mean you can’t position yourself to be next time.

The Background Check Hurt You

Is your Facebook page set to public, with pictures of you drinking, complaining about your job, and making less than PC remarks readily available for all to see? Did you lie on your resume about your education or work history? Do you have a long list of criminal infractions that are easy enough for anyone to find on the states criminal database? Sometimes, the background check really can hurt you. So lock your social media settings down, be cognizant of what you post, tell the truth on your resume and – address information up front that a recruiter is likely to find with a basic check.

You Blew Your Interview

Most people know when they screw up an interview, but if you’re the oblivious type – brushing up on your interview skills might be worth committing some time to. In general, you should always be researching the company and role before showing up for an interview. Arrive on time, don’t bash your previous job or boss and respond to questions in a confident and professional manner.

Another Candidate Had More to Offer You can’t win them all, and sometimes – there is just another candidate who has more to offer than you do. You may have had all the experience and education they were looking for, but someone else had more. Instead of taking that as a reason to pout and mourn the loss of your dream job, use it as motivation to continue improving upon what you have to offer. You may not have been the top candidate this time, but other opportunities will come around, and you want to be ready when they do!

Knowing When and Where to Apply








Let’s be honest: job searches are stressful. Whether you are currently gainfully employed and just looking for a better opportunity, or have been out of work for months and are worried about how you will pay your bills, scouring help wanted ads and putting yourself out there for work is time consuming and anxiety inducing. Nobody really enjoys this part, but it has to be done if you are hoping to find yourself in a new role soon.

Still, there are ways to reduce some of that stress, starting with how you go about making your application decisions.

Quality vs. Quantity

One of the mistakes a lot of job seekers make is in thinking that they are better off applying for as many openings as possible. They convince themselves they are hedging their bets by throwing their hat in the ring for any and every opportunity that might potentially be something they could see themselves doing. The problem is that this approach often means losing a lot of quality in the application process. They are haphazardly sending copy and paste cover letters and failing to pay complete attention to the requirements of the job at hand.

Applying like this creates two problems. The first is that you waste your time applying and interviewing for jobs you may not actually want, and the second is that you send out subpar applications for jobs you might actually be perfect for. Instead of applying for every opportunity you come across, be discerning about where you send those applications to – focus on customizing your cover letter and resume to the jobs you are truly interested in, and on passing over the opportunities that probably wouldn’t make you happy in the long run.

Find Your “In”

Networking is forever important when it comes to working your way up the career ladder, but it is easy enough to argue that it serves its greatest purpose during a job search. Making and maintaining those connections with others in your industry can mean getting a heads up when new openings are around the corner and having an internal recommendation for position that might have a lot of competition.

Obviously, if you are currently employed, you want to be careful about who you let know that you are looking elsewhere. But good networking means knowing who your friends are and being able to find your “in” to corporations where you would really like to get your foot in the door. Even if you aren’t currently looking, you should always be trying to make those ties – because you never know when they could come in handy down the line.

Follow Instructions

Pay attention to job postings and to a company’s preferred method of applying. A lot of job seekers make the mistake of thinking that all they have to do to get an interview is turn in a really great resume and cover letter. In some cases, this is absolutely true. But if a job posting dictates filling out an application as well, you need to be sure you are doing so to completion. Don’t write “see resume” on every line or skip the application entirely, purely because you believe your resume covers all the questions asked. Follow a company’s protocol and show you have respect for their way of doing this by applying with their preferred method. This includes paying attention to deadlines and filling out those applications online when requested – many companies today like to maintain online databases of applicants for future job openings.


When a Lateral Move is the Right Move

interviews nerves

Job changes are a part of life. It’s human nature to always be looking for something new; a new challenge, opportunity or space to grow in. People master the jobs they are in, and then they start looking towards the future. To whatever the next step may be.

What a lot of people don’t realize, however, is that the next step doesn’t always have to be up in order to be beneficial. Sometimes, the roadmap from here to wherever you want to end up includes a few linear steps along the way. Job changes that may not mean an increase in pay, or even a change in title, but that still open doors you wouldn’t have found your way to otherwise.

Every once in a while, a lateral move can be a strategic way to position yourself for that next step up.

Diversified Experience

Occasionally, job opportunities will come along that don’t necessarily mean any more prestige or money, but that do mean expanding upon your experience in ways you wouldn’t be able to in your current role. This may mean an opening in another department for someone who essentially does your job, but in relation to an entirely different aspect of the company. These moves can help you to become more educated in the various elements of your business and will allow you to boast a wider range of experience in the future. The more you know about your industry, and the greater your capabilities in the various elements of that industry, the more likely you are to be considered for leadership roles in the future. And the better your resume reads.

Increased Exposure

Another great thing about lateral moves is that they typically occur in-house, so you aren’t burning any bridges by leaving one job behind for another. But you are exposing yourself to leaders in a different department or area of the company, creating even more allies to turn to as you work on your goals for the future. If a lateral move allows you to increase your team of supporters, it is almost always a good thing. The more people in your company who come to know what you are capable of, the more likely you are to be considered for true promotions in the future. This obviously only works if you are able to put your head down and truly prove yourself, but a strong work ethic will carry over into whatever department you are working for – and if you believe in the work you are putting in, your supervisors in every department will see that, and begin to form a positive consensus of what you are capable of.

Impressing the Bosses

Everyone wants to be considered for promotions and steps up, but not everyone is always willing to dive right into those lateral moves. In fact, when it comes to job changes, most people want to know they are at least going to be due an increase in pay before shaking things up. It is precisely for this reason that the higher-ups pay attention when someone is willing to take on a position that doesn’t really mean anything more than challenging themselves to learn a new aspect of the business. It speaks volumes to ones work ethic and loyalty to the company when they are open to these lateral moves, particularly when they seem excited about the new challenge, despite the fact that this new challenge doesn’t come with any tangible benefits. Supervisors are almost always impressed by those willing to make these moves, and it can be a great way to position yourself for consideration when it comes to promotion opportunities down the line.

How to Blow an Interview in Three Words or Less








Interviews are stressful. I get it. It feels like this small chunk of time in which you have to prove yourself, and that can be overwhelming for everyone. How do you sum up everything you are capable of into a 30-minute timeframe? How do you convince a hiring manager that you are the one they want, with your competition sitting right out in the lobby waiting for their chance to do the same?

You’re not alone in thinking that interviews are stressful. But the truth is, there is an art form to successful interviews – a reason why some people just seem universally better at interviewing than others. Yes, some of that has to do with their ability to keep their cool in stressful situations. But the rest comes from the knowledge that what they don’t say is just as important as what they do.

So in case you weren’t aware, here are the key phrases you should never utter in an interview.


I Don’t Know

The vast majority of the questions asked in an interview will have to do with you and your work history. So if you find yourself reaching for the phrase, “I don’t know,” in response to any of the questions you have been asked, pull back and reevaluate. Not all of us think quickly on our feet, and that’s fine. But if an interviewer is asking you to reference a time in your past when you helped your company solve a problem, for instance, ask for a moment to think – and then take that moment. Don’t default to “I don’t know” because you’re nervous and can’t think of something on the fly. Breathe, contemplate, and then respond with an answer that will truly impress them.

This also applies to questions about the company and job at hand. Do your research, and be ready and willing to prove you have done that research. If you’re answering “I don’t know” when asked about specific job duties pertinent to this opening, you’ve already talked yourself out of this position – and likely any others that might have one day had you sitting in front of this same hiring manager.


How Much?

“How much vacation time are you offering?” “How much money does this opening pay?” “How much does the company contribute to 401k’s?”

Whoa. Hold your horses. There is a time and place for questions of the “how much” variety, but during the interview? You should be focused on getting that job offer first – not on assuming it is already yours to accept or deny. When “how much” comes up in a job interview, there is an implicit arrogance that most hiring managers won’t respond well to. So take a step back and remember that they are interviewing you for this job, not the other way around.


I Really Hated…

Any time you catch yourself starting to complain about a previous job or supervisor, stop. Even if it feels relevant to the discussion. Remember that this employer doesn’t yet know you, and so if you are negatively reflecting upon past experiences, they will be inclined to at least consider the possibility that you were as much a contributing factor to that negativity as the employer you are complaining. Instead, find diplomatic ways to phrase your reasons behind leaving previous positions, and always turn the conversation back to what you have to offer this company, not what you found lacking in the past.


Sorry I’m Late

Sure, life happens. But when it comes to job interviews, you don’t ever want to start off by being the one late into the room. Plan your day around being at least 15 to 20 minutes early to the interview. You can always use that time to brush up on your notes about the company as you wait. This is one of those situations where a bad first impression is almost impossible to recover from, so just don’t put yourself in that position. Show up early and prove from the moment you walk into the door that landing this job is important to you.

Trust me, hiring managers are paying attention!


Getting Seen as Leadership Potential








Getting that first job right out of university is usually an exciting and uplifting time. For most of us, it is the moment when we begin to truly visualize the rest of our career path. Not only where this job will take us today, but where it might lead us five, ten and fifteen years from now.

Sure, there are those who find a job they love and stick to it. But far more often, people have aspirations that go above and beyond that first real job. For many, those aspirations are paving the way into leadership. They see themselves one day running a department, division or company; not just being one of the worker bees keeping that business afloat.

If that’s you, currently one of those worker bees with your sights set a little higher, know that even if achieving those dreams is years down the line – how you conduct yourself today can open those doors for you in the future.


Providing the Assist

Do you know what impresses supervisors? Team players. They know that the leaders of tomorrow are the employees who are invested in working with their co-workers, not just in forever competing with them. If you want to make your mark as a future leader, you need to prove that you are committed to the mission of your company and to helping those you work with achieve their goals as well. Because you understand that working as a team will always provide better results than being a solo-contributor. So if you see a co-worker struggling with their aspect of an upcoming project, or you know a member of your team is dealing with some family issues and isn’t as focused as they might normally be, offer to lend a helping hand. It’s what a leader would do.


Ever the Volunteer

Occasionally projects will come up that no one really wants to work on, or travel opportunities to less than desirable locations. This happens at every job, no matter what you do – there are those tasks that everyone kind of wishes they could avoid. Instead of being one more person cowering in the corner and hoping your boss doesn’t look at you when those tasks come up, though, be the one who volunteers. At least every once in a while. You don’t have to become the punching bag who forever takes on the tasks no one else wants, but voluntarily taking one for the team here and there proves that you are committed to getting the job done – even if that sometimes means a bit of sacrifice.


Making Friends

Future leaders know how to make friends with the right people, but they also know how to endear themselves to everyone else around them. Being a good leader often means being capable of making friends and investing yourself in others. If you’re the kind of person others don’t really like to work with, for whatever reason, upper management will notice – and it will play into what they think of your capabilities for the future. So exercise your charm and be the kind of co-worker who is friendly and pleasant to be around.


Expressing Interest

Sometimes the right answer is also the most obvious. If you have dreams of working your way up the ladder, you have to be willing to express that interest now and again. Let your supervisors know you are interested in opportunities for growth, and seek out a mentor when appropriate. Show your commitment by pursuing chances for continued education and attending leadership seminars and events. Always keep an eye out for chances to expand upon your resume, and maintain an open line of communication with your supervisors when it comes to your goals and what you can be doing to achieve them.

Most importantly, understand those goals yourself. After all, you can’t ever get anywhere unless you know where it is you want to go!


Making a Career Leap

Career Objectives







It used to be that people would choose a career field early on, do what they needed to do to pursue that field, and then  remain in the same job for most of their lives. But Millennials have changed that, pursuing a variety of different jobs  and careers over the years and rarely ever just settling into one thing.

The good news for you is, if you are considering a big career change – a lot of other people are doing the same. Which  means that unlike 20 years ago, these changes are no longer looked down upon. Hiring managers are more  understanding of the fact that it can sometimes take a little longer to nail down what you want to do with your life, and  they care more about your performance in the jobs you have had in the past while you were there, than whether or not  you remained for 10 or more years at a time.

Still, when making a career change it becomes all the more important to present yourself as a valuable employee. If you don’t have a decades worth of experience in the field you are trying to transition into, you need to find ways to prove your worth compared to those applicants who do have that experience.


Doing Your Research

The first step to making a big career leap is learning more about the field you want to enter, including the basic education and experience requirements that are typically required. The best way to accomplish this is sometimes finding a person in the field who is doing exactly what you want to be doing, and enlisting their help in learning more. Consider this person a mentor of sorts, and work on forging a relationship where you can go to them with questions and for guidance about how to best position yourself for entry into the field. Remember that people often have a lot on their plates, and not everyone will be interested in serving in a mentorship capacity, so how you approach those you hope to learn from is important. Be professional and humble when expressing your desire to enter the field and to one day become as successful as they are.


Proving Your Commitment

Making this switch doesn’t end with finding a quality mentor. You need to be willing to put in the work, and to prove your commitment to this career leap. Pursue any additional coursework that might help to improve your chances, and be willing to consider internship opportunities that could help to get your foot in the door of an organization you would like to work for. It is also important for you to recognize that making a career leap may mean starting from the bottom once more. You won’t necessarily be able to retain your current rank or pay grade when starting off in a new and unfamiliar field.


Converting to a Functional Resume

A traditional resume presents your experience in chronological order, highlighting your job titles and companies you have worked for in the past. But if you are making a career leap, you need a resume that instead highlights your skills and experience, pushing those job titles further down the page. A Functional Resume format (otherwise called a Skills Resume) accomplishes just that, arranging your information so that your skills are at the top of the page and your job titles are at the bottom. This type of resume puts a great focus on what you can do, and eliminates the need for listing out your job duties at each and every position you have ever held.

The goal here should be to highlight anything that proves your capacity for excelling in this new field, because while you already know you are perfectly capable of making this switch – you need to show that to hiring managers.

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