A resume is very important in the job search. It is the first impression a potential employer has of you. It sells your unique package of education and experience. The purpose of the resume is to get an interview. There is no right or wrong way to write a resume. However, many employers are overwhelmed by resumes, so you have between 15-30 seconds to capture their attention. Despite many conflicting opinions on resume writing, follow these major “rules.”
- DO center the heading at the top.
- DO use an “Objective” if the reader can’t figure out your focus.
- DO list education first unless you have been out of school for many years.
- DO describe your experiences with action verbs.
- DO list dates on the right side.
- DO use standard fonts like “Times New Roman.”
- DO laser print on 25% bonded paper.
- DO use ivory or off-white paper; never gray or blue.
- DO keep it concise with 1 page for every 10 years of experience.
- DO leave space between experiences for easy reading.
- DO write it with the employer’s needs in mind.
- DO back up all items on the resume in an interview.
- DO qualify and quantify your resume experiences.
- DO “frame” it on paper with either .5″ or .75″ margins.
- DO tailor it to your purposes.
- DO expect to write at least 2 drafts.
- DO spell check and proofread it carefully.
- DO have it critiqued by a professional
- DO bring extra copies to the interview.
- DON’T include everything on your resume.
- DON’T provide any personal information (e.g. race, age, religion, etc.)
- DON’T state salary expectations.
- DON’T “pad” or lie on your resume.
- DON’T list professional references.
- DON’T have any typos or misspellings.
- DON’T guess at dates; be accurate! (Employers will often check.)
- DON’T use any computerized resume programs.
Updating your resume annually should be part of your long-term career development. Consider meeting with a career development professional, a mentor, or anyone that would be willing to give an objective critique. Resume building takes time and careful preparation. Analyzing it annually will make you competitive in the marketplace. If you have any thoughts or questions feel free to email me.
Copyright 2011, Dr. Thomas J. Denham, Careers In Transition LLC – Albany.com – Friday, January 28, 2011