While everyone one understands the importance of a resume, only a small percentage actually take the time to educate themselves on how to properly construct one. A great source to begin with is Wiley Brothers – “Resumes For Dummies”. In it you will find plenty of good advice. For now though, below you will find some of the common tips on how to put together a sound resume.
There are many people who make a resume but do not know its purpose. You should be very clear with the purpose of your resume, and add an objective to it. This will help your potential employer understand what you want. With the technology available today, you should have multiple versions of your resume with each being specifically tailored /focused upon the opportunity you are applying for.
2. Strengths and qualities
Do not create a long (and probably boring) list of your qualities. Instead, connect these qualities with your real life experiences to back them up and to show your potential employer that you actually possess the strengths you are mentioning. Also, when mentioning your strengths and qualities, go a step further and explain how they translate into benefits for the employer. Remember, most resumes go into a database and are initially read by someone from HR so make sure you make it clear on the benefits you will provide if they hire you. Also, pay attention to what the resources tell you about proper resume format and resume font. Having the wrong resume font and format can corrupt your resume inside the company database and do more harm than good thereby working against your efforts to find work.
Use efficient and working titles. When someone goes through your resume, they will form an impression in about 10 seconds. You need to make an impact in that short duration. For example, instead of writing ‘Platoon Commander,’ you should use ‘Manager’ or ‘Supervisor’
Nothing portrays a more negatively than a resume with spelling or grammatical errors. Make sure you go through your resume once before handling it out to employers.
5. Bulletized Resume Format
Long paragraphs are boring. You don’t want to read them, and neither will the person reading the resume. Make sure your skills are mentioned in a concise and to-the-point method. Additionally, organize your resume so that your best characteristics are towards the top. Most times the impression left on the resume reader is made by the time the reader get’s half way through the resume – so go strong early! Also, proper use of resume font is important. The right mix of bold resume font with normal text can really help you point out your strengths that might otherwise be over looked.
Again – the most important information should be at the top. If you have a special skill set or won some special awards, then they should be mentioned before the other skills so that the employers can take notice of them first. I also like when a candidate puts a special educational achievement or certification (like MBA or CISSP or MCSE etc..) next to his / her name at the top of the resume.
Getting back to resume format and font. Make sure you do not use fancy fonts or too much formatting. Keep it simple and don’t use too large or too small of fonts. Too small fonts are hard to read and too large will make your resume look unprofessional. Don’t assume the reader has great eyesight. Many resume readers are over worked and have tired eyes from reading so many resumes. Make it easy for them. It’s better for your font to be slightly larger than too small just so you can squeeze everything onto one or two pages. I want to point out again, when uploading your resume to a job board or online application, make sure it is in simple text format. Many times a word document gets distorted in the database and becomes useless to you and the company you applied to.
8. No Negativity
Do not add any negative details about your past employer. Keep the tone of your resume positive. Even if you had issues with the previous employer, do not mention them in the resume.
9. No pictures
No matter how good looking you are, pictures don’t go on the resume (unless you are applying for a job where physical features are important, like modeling)
10. No lies or distortion of facts
There are a lot of people who lie on their resumes, but if the potential employer is experienced, he will get to know it, and it will lead to nothing but embarrassment. Solution? Be honest and be safe.
11. Professional Contact information
And finally, all too often you’ll see an email address like Sexygirl12@hotmail.com or Crazyman11@Spike.com or something inappropriately personalized that doesn’t portray the professional image you should be portraying. With all the email services available today, it is very easy to get an email account like email@example.com or something like that. It is very easy to then have that email account forwarded to your main email account. Additionally, what is your voicemail like? Does it go to music? Does it have a personal greeting? Make sure you have all that tweaked to present the professional image you want.
12. References on Resumes
I for one am not a fan of providing personal references on a resume and blasting your references contact information across the universe. Use common sense on this and if you add a section for References, then add “Available Upon Request”.
13. Cover Letter
Everyone thinks of the importance of a resume and many forget how a cover letter can help them. Cover letters are very important in that they are the initial impression you make on the reader. The resources are loaded with examples of cover letters and how to write a good cover letter. Remember to keep it brief and focus on your three main qualities so that the reader will look forward to reading your well written resume with the right resume font and proper resume format (text and no lines if uploading to a database or job board).
These strong resume building tips will help you create a positive first image in the mind of potential employer.