FEATURED ARTICLES

Avoiding job search burnout

BY: Tracey Mesken05/08/2014

​Searching for a new job - even with the many tools and resources available - can be a stressful and overwhelming process. It is often made more so when a competitive or unpredictable employment market means it can sometimes take months to find work suitable to your skill set or desired career path.This lengthy search and application process, coupled with a sense of rejection from an employer or recruiter, can easily drive job seekers to experience job search burnout. It will leave you tired, frustrated, unmotivated and on the verge of giving up your search altogether. The flow on effect from throwing in the towel is lower workforce participation rates and greater stress on the economy due to lower productivity. Ensuring you keep up the fight and stay in the game is important for everyone. Avoid burnout by setting realistic expectations and approaching your job search in an organised and objective way. It’s easier said than done but they key is to simply not give up and keep learning from each experience.Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind if your job search is starting to get on top of you.Get organised and plan your approach.Develop a plan of attack. Allocate time for; identifying relevant jobs, revising your resume, going to networking events, and any other useful activities. Keep track of roles that you have applied for and follow up if you haven’t heard anything in a realistic timeframe.Avoid the “scattergun” approachKeep your search focused and targeted. Don’t take the desperate approach and apply for lots of jobs with no relevance to your experience in the hopes that one of them will work out. Stick to the direction you are trying to take your career and apply for jobs best suited to your demonstrable skills and experience.Use job search ‘alerts’Email alerts are readily available from most employers and job boards so set these up and jump on opportunities as soon as they hit your inbox.Don’t wait for the jobs to be advertisedJust because a company isn’t actively recruiting through the traditional channels, it doesn’t mean that they’re not looking to hire at all. Getting a job before it’s advertised can often be a case of right place, right time. Attend relevant networking events and talk to people, use your social media channels to as part of your job search strategy and even consider cold calling companies. Here are a few ideas.Don’t take it personallyRemember this isn't personal. Employers and recruiters receive many applications and select those that are best suited, on paper in the first instance, to interview or proceed to the next stage. It is a good opportunity to review your resume and cover letter to ensure it has what it takes to cut through the volume of applications and make the reader take noticeDon’t bottle up your feelingsIt’s easier to maintain your job search momentum when you feel supported. Talk to family and friends during the process or if you feel overwhelmed rather than bottling things up. It’s absolutely normal to feel stressed and defeated at times but bottling emotions will make it worse. Consider a mentor or coach to help navigate your emotions and actions when you feel clouded or lost.Remember healthy body, healthy mindThe best way to manage stress is regular exercise and healthy diet. At times when your stress levels are heightened, try to avoid excess alcohol, cigarettes or substances that deliver a short but false sense of relief.  Getting adequate sleep will also do wonders for keeping a level head and avoiding irrational behavior.It is normal for a job search to take time.  When you start to feel like you are on the verge of burnout, step away from your job search and see how you could be doing things differently or more effectively. Plan out your approach, consider if you are looking for the right jobs in the right places, and seek help when required.Remember, each ‘no’ takes you closer to a ‘yes’.  Keep calm, maintain self-belief and you will get there in the end.

Put the “buzz” in your resume by avoiding buzzwords

BY: Tracey Mesken24/07/2014

When trying to write a cut-through resume, it’s easy to resort to words that you think will impress an employer. But every time you include a ‘buzzword’ that isn't backed up by a substantial fact or evidence, your resume becomes less relevant and more like pages of hot air.There’s no doubt that certain words can drive home a point when used correctly. Too often though they are used without enough context, and that’s when they become white noise to the person reading your resume.Buzzwords are seemingly smart sounding adjectives that don’t say anything specific. Sure you may be “creative” and a “high achiever” but without backing this up with specific examples of why they are just empty statements.Examples of some of the most commonly used (and overused) buzzwords are:EnergeticConfidentCreativeEffectiveMotivatedHigh AchieverExpertResponsiblePatientOrganisedDrivenDynamicFocus on action words and measurable resultsAction words contextualise your achievements and do a better job of showing the ‘how’ instead of just the ‘what’. Tell the employer about how you created, increased, drove or influenced something.This is done by including measurable outcomes that resulted from your actions  (eg increased productivity by x%, generated $x in sales etc)Great action words to include in your resume:LedManagedEstablishedImprovedGeneratedInfluencedCoordinatedMotivatedResolvedDirectedSupervisedIncreasedIf you find yourself using certain words simply because they sound right, regardless of how they apply to you, you’re in buzzword territory.  Either ditch these buzzwords for more meaningful statements, or support them with examples that clearly explain how you work, your attitudes and achievements.

Top 10 social media mistakes that won't get you hired

BY: Tracey Mesken22/07/2014

​How far reaching do you consider your social media activity when it comes to your job or career prospects? If you thought it could potentially ruin a great opportunity would you think differently the next time you posted something?If a recent survey by CareerBuilder, is anything to go by then perhaps you should keep it in mind as 43% of employers use social networking sites to research job candidates. Of this, 51% said they’ve found content that caused them to not hire.  Add to this the 45% of employers who also use search engines such as Google to research a candidates’ online presence and it really starts to become hard to hide.Even if you think you have the most water tight privacy settings on your social media account, there is always a risk that you could end up on the world wide web in a way you could potentially regret. Always keep in mind that social media provides employers a form of informal background check.  It can take you from a hot career prospect to zero very quickly.  To make sure nothing comes back to haunt your career prospects, be sure to avoid these top 10 social media mistakes that cause employers to pass on hiring potential candidates:Posting provocative or inappropriate photographs or informationPosting information about drinking or drugsBad-mouthing a previous company or fellow employeePoor communication skills (spelling, gammar)Making discriminatory comments about race, gender, religion etc.Lying about qualificationsSharing confidential information from previous employerBeing linked to criminal behaviourUsing an unprofessional screen nameLying about an absenceTurn your social media profiles into career support tools, using them as a means to showcase all the great reasons an employer would want to hire you. Of course this doesn’t mean turning your Facebook into a wall of boasts and contrived posts, as forced content is as obvious and off putting as bad content. According the same survey, some of the most common reasons employers hire a candidate based on their social networking presence are:They get a good feel for personality and can see a fit with the company culture.Background information supports professional qualifications for the jobThe page conveys a professional imageThe candidate appears well-rounded, with a wide range of interestsGreat communication skillsCreativityAwards and accoladesPosts from other peopleWhere once it was drink-texting that led to trouble, it’s social media slip ups that are proving to be major barriers to not just professional, but at times personal progression and development.  Perhaps the best approach then is to remember, if you wouldn’t share it with your family or your boss, don’t share it on social media.

5 essential cover letter tips

BY: Tracey Mesken10/07/2014

​Cover letters are still considered a vital part of a formal job application and should be approached accordingly. It is generally the first point of contact you will have with a prospective employer, and plays an important role in highlighting to them the key skills and competencies that make you a strong candidate for the job.The goal of you cover letter is to complement, not replicate your resume. A quality cover letter when structured well and succinctly written, should provide an interesting summary of your achievements and encourage an employer to continue reading your resume.Here are a few essential tips to writing a strong cover letter.1. Structure the cover letter logicallyStart by introducing yourself, the position you are applying for and in a few sentences, clearly explain why you are interested in the specific role or company for which you are applying. An employer doesn’t want to see a generic cover letter. Use the body of the cover letter to demonstrate the suitability of your background to the experience and skills that the position requires, and succinctly identify your most relevant strengths and accomplishments. Close out your cover letter with a strong finish by thanking the reader for their time and consideration, and include your contact information. Keep in mind that your email address (and your phone voicemail message) should be professional.2. Know the position you are applying forBefore you even start writing your cover letter, read through the position description for the job so you understand the requirements well. While you shouldn’t regurgitate the position description requirements word-for-word, it will be useful to pick out the essential ones and demonstrate how your particular skills and experiences will help you meet them.3. Dot the i’s and cross the t’sA surefire way to have your resume ignored completely, is by failing to pay attention to the most basic of details. Clearly read through the application instructions and make sure your cover letter addresses everything that has been asked for. When writing out multiple job applications, mistakes tend to happen, so check that you have included the correct company name, addressed the right person and referred to the correct role.4. Keep it succinctRemember that a cover letter should only be a summary of the information you put in your resume, so keep it brief and no longer than a page. Use the limited space more efficiently - and also make it easier for an employer to scan through your qualifications - by listing them under bullets. Keep your cover letter format consistent by using the same font and style used in your resume. For easy readability, the generally recommend font is Arial (font size 11).5. Language, Spelling, GrammarYour cover letter is the first opportunity you have to make a good impression and set the right tone, so take the time to consider the language you use. Using buzzwords, acronyms or jargon can make your cover letter seem like more fluff and less substance, so keep the language simple and to the point. And as with your resume, triple check that the grammar, punctuation and spelling used in your cover letter is of the highest standard.Follow these basic principles and you will have a cover letter that gets you noticed.

12 ways to stand out in a job interview

BY: Tracey Mesken23/06/2014

​Your resume has done its job and gotten you through to a job interview. Now your ability to secure the role will come down to how you present yourself in the interview and whether or not you are able make a stand-out impression on the interviewer.While doing well in an interview may ultimately rely on how well you prepare and answer questions about yourself and your suitability for a role, your opportunity to make a great impression does not stop there.Take a little time to think about; your appearance, your body language and how you can connect with the interviewer, as it can all play a role in helping you make a greater impact in your interview.Here are 12 ways to stand out and make a good impression at your next interview:Dress to impress: Your appearance is the first impression an interview will have of you, so when you show up in neatly ironed clothing, scuff-less shoes and looking well groomed you’re already off to a good start.Instead of pulling out your phone while waiting…use the time to look over your resume or read a company brochure if there’s one lying around. Not only is this a good preparation tool, but it will help you look more professional.Smile often: A genuine smile is an effective way to build rapport immediately, and will make you seem approachable and generally more likeable.Maintain eye contact: Good eye contact shows that you are actively engaged in the conversation. On the other hand, looking down or around the room too often will make you seem insincere or distracted.Keep your body language positive: While it’s natural to be nervous, a few body language cues like keeping an open posture and sitting up straight, will help you present yourself confidently.Learn the interviewer’s name: Remember the interviewer’s name when you are introduced and use it during the interview (when it feels natural or appropriate). It is a nice personal touch, and shows a level of attentiveness and respectFind a connection: Engaging in a little small talk in order to find a connection of commonality with your interviewer, helps keeps the conversation flowing and more enjoyable.Keep pace with the interviewer: Listen to and mirror their conversational style and tempo. If they are friendly and chatty, assume some of the same characteristics. If the interviewer is more to the point and analytical, try to be more specific with your answers.Don’t just talk – listen: An interview is a two-way discussion, so let the interviewer complete their comments or questions fully, digest what they are really asking you, and respond accordingly.Be concise: Be able to talk about yourself and your experiences in a few clear but concise sentences. This will go easiest if you've done a bit of practicing.Be curious: Come prepared with some intelligent, insightful questions to ask the interviewer about the role or company.Be polite and courteous: Basic good manners are an important way to make and leave a good impression. A simple “nice to meet you” and “thank you for your time” are always noted and appreciated.These basic techniques may be the difference between a good interview performance, and a great one that will take you to the next stage of the hiring process.

7 tips for nailing a phone interview

BY: Tracey Mesken27/05/2014

​A phone interview is commonly used as an initial step in the candidate screening process. As people become increasingly time poor, it is used as a quick way to determine whether you are enough of a right "fit" to progress to a face to face meeting. Given this, it is important to approach it in the best, most professional manner possible.Without visual support such as your body language, facial expressions or attire, you are wholly reliant on content and tone, so understanding what to expect and how to approach a phone interview is valuable information.Here are our top tips for ensuring your next phone interview secures you a face-to-face meeting.​1. Take the call in a noise free locationSet yourself up in a quiet spot away from any background noise that could take yours, or your interviewer’s attention away from the conversation. A barking dog, office or street noise is going to provide potential distractions to thought processes and result in an annoying experience for your interviewer.Ensure that your chosen spot has reliable phone reception, access to all the information you need, a pen and paper, and the ability to stay as long as you need to. And, as crazy as it sounds, give your voice a short warm-up to get rid of any croakiness or coughs.2. Do your researchTreat the phone interview as seriously as you would an in-person interview. Do your research into the company and the job ahead of time, and make it known that you’ve done your research (for example, “I read that the company is involved with the business conference being held in Sydney next month…” or "congratulations on your fantastic result with...").3. Have all the relevant information at your fingertipsHave the job advertisement, your resume, a list of questions you want to ask, and any information about the company or the job that you want to have at hand, ready. It might also be useful to have some notes about your own experience, such as your strengths and weaknesses, to stop you stumbling over your answers.During the conversation, stay focused and take notes for your own reference during the call or at a later interview, as this will form part of the resources to draw on when you progress to the next stage.4. Relax and smile (yes…smile)How you are feeling will translate to the other end of the phone via your tone of voice. Aim for a pleasant and relaxed but focused impression. Always smile if appropriate while talking on the phone as this relaxed tone will come across clearly and make the experience for you and the interview all the more natural and enjoyable.5. Keep the communication flowingThe trickiest thing about a phone interview is the inability to see your interviewer and gauge their body language. Don’t be afraid to ask if they’d like more information on a certain point, or if you’ve given them what they’re looking for.Answer questions with full sentences not simply a few words. Ask questions along the way, as too much silence can be off-putting for both parties and create awkwardness. Find some common points to create a conversation and level of camaraderie. In doing so you will be more memorable and intrigue the interviewer once they have hung up the phone.6. Keep the end goal in mind: a face-to-face interviewAs the phone interview appears to be drawing to a close, ask about the next stage in the process and when you might expect to hear back. Make it clear that everything sounds great from your end and you’re keen to progress.7. Follow-up with a thank-youFollow-up by sending a thank you email within 24 hours of your phone interview. Personalise the email with some notes about things you spoke about that really resonated with you to reinforce your desire to move forward. This is great professional etiquette and will help strengthen a positive impression.Nailing a phone interview is the only way to progress to the next stage of meeting the employer or agency in person so keep these tips in mind and you will find yourself in that second interview in no time.

How to get a job BEFORE it is advertised

BY: Tracey Mesken20/05/2014

​You have probably heard or read somewhere before that the best jobs often aren’t advertised. Just because a company isn’t actively recruiting through the traditional channels, it doesn’t mean that they’re not looking to hire at all.Given the close attention being paid to productivity in business today, companies are continually looking to add to their talent pool so that when opportunities arise the time to fill is greatly reduced. Referrals can also often carry significant weighting when someone is looking to fill a vacancy because it can often reduce the risk associated with a new hire.So how can you make sure you are meeting the right people, and having the right conversations, to get one of these jobs?It is all about stepping outside your comfort zone and proactively meeting new people and making new professional connections. The next person you meet might just be able to direct you to an exciting opportunity waiting around the corner, or know someone else who does.Here are our tips for finding and applying for a role before it’s advertised for everyone to see:Networking EventsGetting a job before it’s advertised can often be a case of right place, right time so the more you put yourself out there, the more likely you get that timing right.The key here is to attend suitable networking events on a regular basis and securing meaningful introductions at these (that is, ones relevant to your career aspirations). While working the room handing out business cards might get your name in front of lots of people, this isn’t going to make you memorable to any of them.Focus on setting a target for how many people you want to introduce yourself to in a networking session and make your approach friendly and engaging. Explain what you do and what you have to offer as well as genuine interest in their job or business. Be sure to ask if they wouldn’t mind you getting in touch in the future or to connect with them on a professional social network like LinkedIn.Expand and leverage your social media networkYour social media networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can prove valuable for reaching connections with career potential so they should form part of your proactive job search strategy.These are incredibly efficient resources that allow you to quickly reach far and wide with professional audiences. Actively participate in industry group discussions to share your knowledge in the field you wish to work in. If you are not currently employer, leverage your network and communicate the type of opportunity you are looking for. Your contacts may be able to direct you to opportunities within their companies.A top tip for using social media is to ensure you’re networking with the right people, not just many people. Quality of connections trumps quantity of connections any day.Contact a company directlyA traditional yet effective approach is cold contacting. This approach can take a lot of guts and a good ability to sell yourself so before emailing or picking up the phone, think about your next ideal job or employer, and how best to approach them without coming off as a nuisance.Start by finding out who may be the right person to speak with (a particular manager or the head of the relevant department). Rather than intrude on their likely busy day with a call out of the blue, think about how to structure a proposition that presents you as an employee that would deliver value to their business. Email is probably the less intrusive means to make initial contact so you can opt to email them your resume with a well written, short and succinct message about your interest in their company, and what kind of role you might be suitable for.At best you might snag a face to face meeting, at worst you make a new connection and develop confidence in proactive job sourcing. Even if nothing is available at the current point in time, it may put you on the radar for when something does come up. But be careful not to be too pushy – you need to make an introduction and sell your skills without being forceful.So when looking for a job, make sure you’re not missing out on a whole host of job opportunities by not casting your net a bit wider than traditional job advertisements or postings. Putting yourself out there and making new connections through proactive approaches, could open new doors for your career advancement.

10 great questions to ask in a job interview

BY: Tracey Mesken16/05/2014

​Whilst a job interview often makes you feel like you are under the spotlight, remember it is a two-way street. Yes your interviewer wants to know as much as possible about you and your suitability to a role, but you also want to learn more about the company to ultimately determine whether you see yourself being happy and successful in that role.To help with this, always have a short list of open-ended questions prepared before your interview so that when asked (and you certainly will be asked) “do you have any questions for me?” you don’t sit and stare back blankly. Being prepared with some insightful questions will present you as a candidate who is interested, thoughtful and intelligent.​Some quality questions that demonstrate your genuine interest in the role/company are:1. Can you give me some insight into your company’s culture?This will give you an idea of what it is like to work as part of the team and whether this aligns to what you are looking for in your next role. It also demonstrates to the interviewer that you are keen to learn more about the day to day interactions in their business.2. What would a typical day or week in this role involve?Knowing daily or weekly task highlights is a really important precursor to accepting a job. This is always good to hear from your potential employer’s mouth versus a written job description as they are likely to summarise the most key/important tasks expected to be delivered.3. What is the team structure?If the role sits within a team, it is useful to know which other members make up the team, what their respective roles are, and how the team fits into the bigger picture. This will give you a better understanding of how you are likely to be interacting and working with other team members, in your role.4. What opportunities are there for professional development or career advancement?This shows you are looking for long-term growth with a company and keen to develop to the best of your abilities. If the company has nothing to offer you in response to this question, then that is a warning sign that they may not be the type of employer you are looking for.5. If I were to start tomorrow, what would be the first priority?Whether a position is vacant or a new role has been made, the company will have one pressing reason to be recruiting right now. What is that reason? What will they need you to get right on top of as soon as you start? Asking this will show that you’re results-orientated and ready to dive straight in.6. What sort of improvements could you see me to bringing to this role?Regardless of the current job design, there are likely to be some additional hopes for what you will bring to the role. You need to know what they are, and you need to show your potential employer that you’re ready to impress.7. How is performance measured in this role?Ask your interviewer about both the strategic goals and the day-to-day items that they see success in the role being measured against. This highlights that you are focussed on delivering these to the employer.8. Why has this position become available?This can give you great insight into how the company operates or where they are in their growth plan. Perhaps the person previously holding the position has been promoted, showing that there are opportunities available for you, or they may have left and the company might be willing to share their reasons for doing so. If it’s a new position, this question will open up a conversation about why the role is being created.9. Is there anything else you’d like me to expand on?Find out if your interviewer still has questions about you or if there is anything they would like further clarified.10. What’s the next step in the process?Save this one for last: it’s perhaps the most important question, and one that will close the interview on an active note. Find out when you are likely to hear back, whether there is another interview involved, or if the decision will be made shortly. Then, be sure to follow up on the dates you’ve been given.Remember a job interview is as much about a company selling itself to you as you to it. Be assertive and ask questions as you feel appropriate, to keep an interview a two-way flow of information. If all your questions were answered during the interview process, simply let the interviewer know what questions you had, and that they've already been answered.

Dress to impress: 5 tips for appropriate interview attire

BY: Tracey Mesken13/05/2014

​First impressions always count. The way you dress for a job interview is a surefire way to portray the message that you are professional and mean business.Consider how you dress for a potential employer as how you want them to perceive you - your personal brand. If you dress in clothing that is dirty, unironed or a bit too revealing, what sort of impression are you possibly creating and is it the one you want?Not getting this important visual part of the interview right can ultimately spell failure in an employer’s search and selection process.​Dressing for an interview can be a bit stressful if you are unsure of what is deemed suitable. Should you go for the full suit or dress down a little? It all comes down to the type of job you’re applying for, the company involved and – to a point – what fits your own personality and the impression you want to create.Here are essential tips for dressing appropriately for a job interview.1. Do your researchWhat you wear to the interview will be the first clue as to how much you understand the company and its culture. Read as much as you can about the organisation for direction on the type of attire you might be expected to wear day to day.If the company is highly corporate and serious, a suited look is best, while if the culture they’re publicly presenting has a more laid back, modern feel to it then you might be able to ease back to something less formal (but never jeans). This is your chance to show you understand the organisation’s personality, taking you one step closer to being a natural fit.2. Prepare your clothes ahead of timeTry on the clothes you’re planning to wear to make sure it all fits and looks professional. Take care of any washing, ironing or shoe cleaning ahead of time so your look is polished not rushed, and  if you’ve never tied a tie before, then get onto Google or ask someone you know for help.Your attire isn’t something to leave until the last minute as this can create additional, unwarranted stress in an already stressful situation.3. If in doubt, don’t underdressIf you’re unsure whether to wear a suit (and tie, for men) or simply a shirt and pants, simply err on the side of caution.It is far better to be overdressed (and make a joke of it) than underdressed (and make an excuse of it) for a job interview. It takes more effort to look professional and that shows you are taking the opportunity seriously.No matter what position you are being interviewed for, there are some definite no-nos, such as jeans or sneakers. This also applies for whether to stay safe with more muted colours or get a bit daring with bright patterns and hues. Again, when in doubt, opt for the more conservative option.4. Don’t forget groomingWithout doubt grooming also plays a significant role in how you come across in an interview. Men: should you have a shave? Is your hair looking neat and presentable? Is your tie straight? Are your fingernails clean and an appropriate length?Women: are your accessories suitable? Is your nail polish chipped? Is your perfume overpowering? Is your lipstick and nail polish colour suitable? Are your clothes too revealing? Is your hair presented neatly?5. Dress for the job you wantIt is simple but true: dress for the job you want, not necessarily the job you have. Use your clothing to help deliver your ideal impression about not only who you are but who you want to be. As they say, perception is reality.The way you dress will go a long way to helping creating a strong, meaningful impression that could make the difference between progressing or missing out.

Essential do's and don'ts for great resume writing

BY: Tracey Mesken06/05/2014

​Getting the fundamentals of good resume writing right is a guaranteed way of ensuring that your job application doesn’t immediately get passed into the “not this time” bin.Remember the main purpose of your resume is to get you to the next step in the hiring process, that is an interview. This means providing a logical and well-structured overview of your experience and skills that makes it easy for an employer to see your suitability for a role.The average employer or recruiter only spends a few seconds looking at a resume for information relevant to the role they are hiring for so you need to understand what they want to see – and in some cases, what they don’t want to see.Here are the basic do’s and don’ts for great resume writing.DO: Tailor your resume to suit the positionTake time to ensure that the person who will be screening your resume understands why you are applying for the role. Highlight transferrable skills and experience/achievements that are relevant to the requirements of the role. DO: List your experiences chronologicallyList your jobs in reverse chronological order with your most recent job or experience first. In most cases your recent experience will be the one that will interest the employer most so give it the most weight. For this and every other position ensure you include key tasks and measurable achievements.DO: Use action words (and back it up with evidence) Tell the employer about when you "grew", "built", "increased", "drove" or "led" something and evidence it with figures. Action words contextualise your achievements and reinforce your level of responsibility and suitability.DO: Proof read your resume Incorrect spelling, grammatical errors and information inconsistencies are some of the most common mistakes seen in resumes. These oversights are certainly picked up by an employer and demonstrate a lack of attention to detail and effort. Check your resume thoroughly, check it again, and then get someone else to check it.DO: Include a cover letterA cover letter is still considered an important part of a job application.  It is the first opportunity you have to make a strong case for why you are the best fit for a position. A cover letter should introduce you, mention the job your applying for and clearly match your skills and experiences with those required by the job.DON’T: Lie or embellish the truth Quite simply, don’t lie about anything on your resume. Don’t embellish the truth around your experience, qualifications or skills to draw an employer’s attention as it is a major risk to your credibility when (not if) you are found out.DON’T: Overstate your value or achievements Employers certainly want to know about the positive impact you had in your previous jobs but they don’t want arrogance. State facts and provide evidence. If you can’t back a big statement with measurable outcomes then don’t include it. Take a step back and think about how what you write might sound to someone else.DON’T: Use long winded sentences or paragraphs Be specific about your previous responsibilities and related achievements.  Use bullet points and keep the message short and to the point.  Remember you only have a few seconds to grab attention so keep it succinct.DON’T: Use fancy or unusual fontsDecorative or bright fonts add absolutely not value to your resume, if anything it detracts.  Use professional, easy-to-read fonts (eg Arial, Tahoma, Times New Roman).Use these simple pointers as a checklist when next updating your resume. Doing so will help ensure you are left with a logical, strong resume tells an employer exactly what they want to know in the initial five to ten second screening process.