So, you’ve been happy in your nest nurturing the offspring, when out of the blue, you get a call from that old boss/dream organisation/cousin’s friend offering you a fabulous work opportunity. Can you send in your CV? You dig past the odd socks, recipes and bills to find it, rather happy with yourself, thinking, just a small tweak should do it, when realisation dawns. It’s 6 years out of date. You sigh and yes, almost give up the game…

You should always, always, keep your CV up-to-date, as you never know when opportunity can come knocking. As a skilled resume writer and business owner, I spend days taking care of my clients’ needs. Yet recently when I was required to submit my own CV, I realised it had been nearly a year since it had been updated!

Not only had my job changed in that time, but the whole focus of my CV needed to shift to my new business. I had to write my profile and skills sections from scratch. It needed to be submitted the following day for a volunteer role I was applying for, and it took me a good couple of hours to get it up to speed. And I’m a resume writer!

‘Be prepared’ is my motto! Writing, updating and tailoring CV’s is enormously time consuming. And more often than not you are required to submit your CV in a very short time period, given recruiters are working to tight deadlines.

I’ve found that several of my clients have either been made to reapply for their jobs or been made redundant while on maternity leave. I suggest setting calendar reminders 3-6 monthly to regularly review and update your resume. By having the bones of your CV and LinkedIn profile up-to-date, when you do have to complete a job application you can focus on tailoring it for the position. 

According to recruitment consultants the basics are often lacking when they receive a job application. So I suggest the following helpful tips to keep top of mind when applying for jobs.

1. Always include a cover letter

Not submitting a cover letter shows a complete lack of care and interest in the role. A cover letter is where you sell yourself, your enthusiasm for the role, and highlights how your skills meet their needs.

2. Tailor your application

An application should be tailored to the role. This means having a customised, well written cover letter and a slightly tailored CV. 

3. Always follow the application instructions

Demonstrate to the employer that you can read and follow instructions! If it tells you to submit a one-page cover letter with your CV, do it. If it asks you to respond to the Key Selection Criteria specifically, do this in a separate document. If the instructions are unclear, call them to clarify.

4. Make it clear and concise

There are typically 100-200 applications for most jobs. That’s a lot of applications for someone to read, so make it easy for them. Have all the important bits about you (your profile, skills, achievements, career summary) laid out clearly on the front page of your CV. Make sure the first paragraph of your cover letter is amazing! And don’t make the font so small it can’t be read.

5. Check your spelling/grammar

Microsoft Word can check your spelling and basic grammar, so use it! Then triple check it and get a friend to read it too. And most importantly, make sure you have addressed the application to the correct person and organisation!

Following these steps will allow you to submit a quality job application in a short time-frame that gets you an interview for your next dream job…whilst also avoiding stressful last-minute rushing around or all night endeavours!

By Emma Maslen. Melbourne mum and owner of Rescue my Resume. After many years in the policy, government and not-for-profit sectors, Emma took her love for resume writing for friends and turned it into Rescue My Resume. Emma helps her clients with all aspects of the job application process, including a tailored resume, cover letter, LinkedIn profile and interview coaching.