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Resume Tips

Resume Tips

From presentation to content, there are many things to consider when building a successful resume. With a little extra effort, you can create a resume that makes you stand out as a qualified candidate for the job you are seeking.

Guidelines for Better Presentation

  • Visual appeal — A clean and simple document that is very easy to read, that looks symmetrical, balanced and uncrowded. Use as much white space between sections of writing as possible; sections of writing that are no longer than six lines and shorter if possible.

  • Uniformity & consistency — The use of italics, capital letters, bullets, boldface and underlining should be the same everywhere within the resume. For example, if a period is at the end of the job's dates, a period should be at the end of all jobs' dates. If one degree is in boldface, all degrees should be in boldface.

  • Zero errors — No typographical errors, no spelling errors, no grammar, syntax, or punctuation errors and no errors of fact.

  • Ensure all the basic expected information is included — Much of the information people commonly put on a resume can be omitted but these basics are mandatory.
    • Include at the top of the page: Full name, address, phone number, email address.
    • A listing of jobs held (in reverse chronological order).
    • educational degrees including the highest degree received (in reverse chronological order).
    • Additional information targeted to the job you are applying.
  • How to list jobs
    • Title, the name of the firm, the city & state of the firm and the years worked.
      Ex: Sales Associate, ABC Company, Los Angeles, CA, Jan 2012 – Dec 2013.
    • Jobs earlier in a career can be summarized, or omitted if prior to the highest educational degree.
    • Extra part-time jobs can be omitted.
    • If no educational degrees have been completed, it is still expected to include some mention of education (professional study or training, partial study toward a degree, etc.) acquired after high school.

Principals of Effective Resume Writing

Every resume is a one-of-a-kind marketing communication. It should be appropriate to your situation and do exactly what you want it to do. Instead of squeezing your talents and work history into a bunch of preformatted rules, apply these basic principles of writing a highly effective resume.

  • Eye on the prize — The resume is a tool with one specific purpose: to win an interview. Everything in the resume should be geared to that goal.
  • Make A Great First Impression — The first few lines of your resume should point toward why you are the right candidate for one specific job or job title. After all, it may be the only thing a perspective employer will read before placing you in the interview or rejection pile.
  • Toot your Own Horn — Focus on accomplishments and results rather than routine job descriptions.
  • Tool Your Resume to Your Employer — Ask yourself: What would make someone the right candidate? What does the employer really want? What special abilities would this person have? What would set a truly exceptional candidate apart from a merely good one?
  • Be Relevant — Provide information throughout your resume that is relevant to prospective employers, supports your candidacy and focuses on the skills needed to do the job you're applying for.
  • Mind the Gaps — Be conscious of the continuity of your work history. The reader will be looking for reasons to eliminate as many resumes as possible, so a resume with gaps that have time unaccounted for.
  • Be Concise, Factual and Positive when recounting of your education, experience and accomplishments.
  • Use power words — For every skill, accomplishment or job described, use the most active impressive verb you can think of (which is also accurate). Begin the sentence with this verb, except when you must vary the sentence structure to avoid repetitious writing. For examples, see Admin Secrets list of Action Verbs and Power Phrases.
  • References — Keep a separate list of professional references and make them available only upon request. Be sure to make your references aware to expect a possible phone call
  • Social Networking — Career networking sites such as LinkedIn are a powerful and easy way to represent yourself at the click of a button. Be sure you're being consistent with how you represent your work history on your resume versus your online profiles.

Cover letter

Finally, always send a cover letter (on matching paper, if applicable) referencing the company's needs, and your qualifications for the job. A personal letter is always best, so make an effort to get the name/title of the individual in charge of hiring. Remember, your resume is only a door opener. Your ideal goal is to get the in-person interview!

Want to Learn More About Resume Writing? Check out the Rockport Institute's How To Write A Masterpiece of a Resume

Article edited from the Rockport Institute's How To Write A Masterpiece of a Resume.