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Candidate Resource Centre

Building a Resume

Your resume is the very first impression a potential employer will have of you.

The average time a potential employer will spend reviewing your resume will only be six seconds before deciding to keep reading or not. This means it’s essential for you to get it right the first time.

Here are a few tips to help you build a lasting impression.

Profile Summary

    • This is prime real-estate on your resume. It’s your opportunity to sell yourself, list quantifiable skills, provide key information and say what you can do for the company.

    • Don’t waste this space on a long-winded, self-serving promotional paragraph.

    • Ensure that you do not refer to a key objective that is not relevant to the industry you are applying for.

Work Experience

    • Employers are interested in the skills you have gained, the achievements you have made, and your true responsibilities.

    • It’s important to include dates to help them understand the tenure of your roles.

    • If you have held short term positions, list the reasons for these – were they on contract? If you have had breaks between jobs provide the reasons – were you travelling?

    • There is no need to provide detailed position descriptions that cover the last 20 years, mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers isn’t going to be relevant to the Management position you are applying for. The past 10 years in detail is sufficient.

Things to avoid:

    • No pictures, unless you are applying for a role where physical traits are essential or it is requested, it really should be avoided. You may think that beauty shot is great but to someone else, it may look tacky!

    • No lies, please. With access to such a large variety of background checks nowadays, it can ruin your chances with a business for good.

    • Hobbies and interests. We know that you may be proud of your swimming team but these are best left on Facebook or with your close social network.

    • Your age. You don’t want to be a victim of ageism even before you get your chance to demonstrate who you are.

Interview Tips

Be prepared

It’s important that know yourself and your resume. What are achievements and what are your challenges? What are you looking for and what motivates you?


Understand the company that you have applied for and how the position fits in with the business. You don’t need to know the last 12 months stock rates, but the key information around their products and services.

Arrival times

You should always be early for an interview, but not too early! 10-15 minutes is sufficient. If you’re early, grab a seat near the office and go in at an appropriate time. No matter what excuse you have, don’t be late! It’s always hard to claw back that first impression and all your preparation will go out the window if you are flustered.


The receptionist is part of the business so make sure you smile and are engaging. There is no need to make small talk unless they initiate it. When you meet your interviewer shake hands – but don’t squish them! Be confident but not cocky, no matter how good you think you are – they still make their own decisions.

Dress for success

First impressions are lasting impressions. Most businesses have moved to corporate casual, though check with your contact on what’s appropriate. Even if the business has casual attire, it’s always best to leave the stubbies and thongs at home!

Practice Interviewing

Understand how to answer a behavioural interview. These consists of questions that require you to reflect on your past experiences and present specific real-life examples to demonstrate your skills.

What do behavioural questions sound like?

They will generally begin with the following types of phrases:

    • Tell me about a time when

    • Give me an example of

    • Walk me through a situation

    • Explain an instance

How do I prepare for a behavioural interview?

    1. Review the key selection criteria, position description or the job advertisement. Highlight the key skills required for the position.

    2. Prepare examples. Using the skills as a guide, think of examples from your past experience that demonstrates each skill. Try and think of a different example for each skill so that you have a variety of responses prepared for the interview.

    3. Practise responding to questions. Out loud if possible! This will help you become confident in using your examples.

STAR Structure

The star method involves these four steps:

    1. Situation

      Outline the problem or instance you were faced with.

    2. Task

      Explain what your task was within the situation.

    3. Action

      Explain in sequential steps what your response was to the situation. What did you do?

      You should include as much information within this section while still being concise.

      Don’t forget to use ‘I’ and not ‘We’ these are YOUR actions not the teams!

    4. Result

      Explain the outcome.

Assessment Centres

TactiCall’s Assessment Centres consist of a mix of individual and group activities which are designed to allow you to demonstrate the skills and behaviours specifically related to the role you have applied for.

Each assessment is designed to establish how you would cope with the tasks or demands of the role, and how you interact with others. You are assessed against a predetermined set of criteria, and not against any other participant.

What to Expect:

At the beginning of the Assessment Centre, you will receive an initial outline of the structure of the session and what to expect. You will also be given a thorough overview of the role you have applied for and some information about the company. Most assessment centres last for around three hours, with a short break between activities.

The most common activities you could expect are;

Team exercise– We facilitate a group discussion which is a problem-solving exercise designed to assess various behaviours and ensure you can work effectively in a team situation.

Aptitude testing– We conduct various tests which are designed to find out how you would cope with the tasks and demands of the job you are being considered for.

During each activity in the assessment centre, you will be observed by our consultants and rated against a range of competencies. On completion of the assessment centre the observers meet to discuss the results and reach a decision as to who will progress to the next stage in the assessment process.

Tips for a successful session:

    • Dress professionally.

    • Be yourself, and interact positively with other participants.

    • Take the exercises seriously and do not try and guess what is being measured.

    • Consider the process of a positive learning experience.

    • If you are unsuccessful – ask for feedback on how to improve for next time!

What to bring:

    • A copy of your updated resume

    • The name and contact details of two referees. These referees MUST be immediate supervisors from your most recent positions.