Resume Tips

What is a resume?

A resume is your marketing tool for selling.....yourself! Creating an effective resume will help you get in the right door for the job. Your resume is the best way to get the attention of those who are hiring. Your resume is the first impression the employer will have of you so make it count! Here are some tips for creating your resume:

Keep it short!

Your resume has to sell you in short order. The employer needs to be able to glance at your resume and in 30 seconds or less know whether they want to take a second look. The employer will receive multiple resumes and their time is valuable. They need to be able to tell at a glance whether you have what it takes to contribute to their workplace. Keep your resume to one page and make sure every word counts!

Make it look professional!

Format your resume properly. Make sure the margins and indentations line up. Use the same type style for the entire resume. Make sure there are no misspelled words. Make sure it is grammatically correct. A few minutes proofing your resume can make the difference in being considered or not. Make your headings bold. If you are presenting a hard copy of your resume, use good quality paper for printing. Take an objective look at your resume when finished and ask yourself, "Would I want to interview this person?"

What should be included in a resume?

Heading: The heading should include your name and contact information including address, phone numbers and email address, if applicable. If you have a personal website, include the URL only if the site shows off your skills or applies to your career goals.

Objective: The objective section gives potential employers an immediate sense of who you are and what you are looking for, without having to read the entire resume. Use a job objective if: 1) you know exactly what job you want or 2) your career goal isn't obvious on your resume. If you decide to include an objective, stress what you will add to the company.

Experience: List your experience chronologically, with your most recent job listed first. Include the company name, location, your title, dates of employment and your job duties. Emphasize your most important responsibilities even if they weren't your primary duties. Use cause-effect relationships and tangible results. Quantify your achievements with percentages and numbers like, "increased sales 30 percent" and "managed four-person sales team". Use concise words instead of long, drawn-out descriptions.

Skills: Your skills can be anything from typing and ten key to job-specific skills. Make sure you list your technical and computer skills. List programming languages, software programs and operation systems, if applicable. List any certificates you might have earned. Include memberships in professional organizations, which shows you're serious about your career. Here are some keywords you might want to include: 'Teamwork', 'Flexibility', 'Detail-Oriented', 'Self-Motivated'.

Education: List your most recent education first and work backward. State your degree, major, minor, dates of attendance and the school's name and location. You may also want to add your GPA but only if it is 3.0 or higher.

References: Don't waste space on references or on letters of reference. Employers assume you'll provide them upon request.

Finishing Touches:

  • Create several versions of your resume, each tailored to the type of position for which you are applying.
  • Read, edit and re-read your resume to make sure it's well written, clear and typo-free. Do it again. Then, ask your friends and family to do the same.

With some self-evaluation, careful organization and good choice of words, your resume will rise to the top of the pile on any potential employer's desk.