Helpful tips and guidelines for writing a successful resume!
- Format Your Resume Wisely
No matter how well written, your resume won’t get a thorough reading the first time through. Generally a resume gets scanned in 25 seconds. Scanning is more difficult if it is hard to read, poorly organized or exceeds two pages.
- Use a logical format, wide margins, clean type and clear headings
- Selectively apply bold and italic typeface to help guide the reader’s eye
- Use bullets to call attention to important points (i.e., accomplishments)
- Identify Accomplishments not just Job Descriptions
Hiring managers, especially in technical fields like engineering, seek candidates that can help them solve a problem or satisfy a need within their company. Consequently, you can’t be a solution to their problems without stating how you solved similar problems in other companies and situations.
- Focus on what you did in the job, NOT what your job entailed, there’s a difference
- Include a one or two top line job description first, then list your accomplishments
- For each point ask yourself, “What was the benefit of having done what I did?”
- Accomplishments should be unique to you, not just a list of what someone else did
- Avoid using the generic descriptions of the jobs you originally applied for or held
- Quantify Your Accomplishments
A resume is a marketing document designed to sell your skills and strengths rather than just portray a bio.
- Include and highlight specific achievements that present a comprehensive picture of your marketability
- Cater Your Resume for the Industry
Be conservative do not put your picture or fancy doodles on your resume.
- Err on the side of being conservative stylistically
- Your accomplishments, error-free writing, grammatically-correct, clean, crisp type and paper will make the impression for you
- Replace your Objective” with a “Career Summary”
A Career Summary is designed to give a brief overview of who you are and what you do. Most objectives sound similar: Seeking a challenging, interesting position in X where I can use my skills of X, Y, and Z to contribute to the bottom line. Not telling at all.
- Grab a hiring manager’s attention right from the beginning, remembering you
have only 25 few seconds to make a good impression
- Spend time developing a summary that immediately gets their attention, and accurately and powerfully describes you as a solution to their problems which means you have to do some homework on the company.
Ten Things Not to do on your resume
- Typos and Grammatical Errors
Your resume needs to be grammatically perfect. If it isn’t, employers will read between the lines and draw not-so-flattering conclusions about you, like: “This person can’t write,” or “This person obviously doesn’t care.”
- Lack of Specifics
Employers need to understand what you’ve done and your accomplishments.
- Worked with employees in a restaurant setting.
B. Recruited, hired, trained and supervised more than 20 employees in a restaurant with $2 million in annual sales.
Both of these phrases could describe the same person, but the details and specifics in example B will more likely grab an employer’s attention.
- Attempting One Size Fits All
Whenever you try to develop a resume that fits all positions to send to all employers, you almost always end up with something employers will toss in the recycle bin. Employers want you to write a resume specifically for them. They expect you to clearly show how and why you fit the position in a specific organization.
- Highlighting Duties Instead of Accomplishments
It’s easy to slip into a mode where you simply start listing job duties on your resume. For example:
- Attended group meetings and recorded minutes.
- Worked with children in a day-care setting.
- Updated departmental files.
Employers, however, don’t care so much about what you’ve done as what you’ve accomplished in your various activities. They’re looking for statements more like these:
- Used laptop computer to record weekly meeting minutes and compiled them in a Microsoft Word-based file for future organizational reference.
- Developed three daily activities for preschool-age children and prepared them for a 10-minute holiday program performance.
- Reorganized 10 years’ worth of unwieldy files, making them easily accessible to department members.
- Going on Too Long or Cutting Things Too Short
Despite what you may read or hear, there are no real rules governing the length of a resume, however, most should be 2 pages unless the position requires you to put lots of accomplishments and education. But don’t feel you have to use two pages if one will do. Conversely, don’t cut the meat out of your resume simply to make it conform to an arbitrary one-page standard.
- A Bad Objective
Employers do read your objective but too often they plow through vague pufferies like, “Seeking a challenging position that offers professional growth.” Give employers something specific and, more importantly, something that focuses on their needs as well as your own. Example: “A challenging entry-level marketing position that allows me to contribute my skills and experience in fund-raising for nonprofits.”
- No Action Verbs
Avoid using phrases like “responsible for.” Instead, use action verbs: “Resolved user questions as part of an IT help desk serving 4,000 students and staff.”
- Leaving Off Important Information
You may be tempted, for example, to eliminate mention of the jobs you’ve taken to earn extra money for school. Typically, however, the soft skills you’ve gained from these experiences (e.g., work ethic, time management) are more important to employers than you might think.
- Visually Too Busy
If your resume is wall-to-wall text featuring five different fonts, it will most likely give the employer a headache. So show your resume to several other people before sending it out..
- Incorrect Contact Information
Double-check even the most minuscule details. Double check phone numbers, home address and email address.
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Resume Do’s and Don’ts