Managing your own career is vital these days and keeping your r?sum? up-to-date and ready to roll is the very least you should be doing.However, rushing your r?sum?s update is not a good idea. This is the first impression a prospective employer will have of you so make sure it’s not also their last impression of you.

To make this important job easier, CareerOne asked Tara West of Aussie R?sum?s to provide her expert tips. Aussie R?sum?s is a professional r?sum? writing service. It also carries out an annual survey of major employers to find out what they want to see and read on a candidate’s r?sum?.

What style should candidates follow when preparing their r?sum??

Tara West says that for most candidates, simple is best. While graphic artists, art directors and other creative roles might require fancy fonts and stand out tricks, most of us should avoid these along with graphics and photos.

“Fonts should be easy to read, information correctly aligned and full justification used,” advises Ms West.

She suggests using good quality white paper for hard copy r?sum?s that will be posted or hand delivered. R?sum?s delivered online should use popular formats such as Word or PDF.

“When emailing your application, keep in mind that certain fonts may be on your computer but not necessarily on another.

“Arial font is widely accepted, is ‘open-faced’ and looks professional. Ensure your font size is readable by viewing your document at page width. Generally 11 point is sufficient.”

How long should my r?sum? be?

For most roles, no more than four pages is required, says Ms West. For senior roles, a r?sum? can be up to six pages.

“It is very rare for an employer to request a one to two page r?sum?,” she says. “From comments received by employers in our survey it was stated that one to two pages does not adequately demonstrate (a candidate’s) skills and qualifications.”

“Of course, an exception to this would be a recent school leaver or TAFE, college or university graduate with limited experience.”

What should I put in my r?sum??

Your r?sum? should contain information relevant to the job application such as employment history, education, training, memberships to industry groups and any industry or work-related awards you have won.

Ms West says candidates can also provide “personal” information they wish the potential employer to know.

“Many employers responding to the Aussie R?sum?s Employer Survey stated that they liked to see a pertinent mix of an applicant’s work and personal life,” says Ms West.

“This provides the employer with the opportunity of not only identifying a candidate’s skills, but also gaining an understanding of the person behind the r?sum?,” she says.