When applying for jobs, you will be asked to submit your resume. If you don’t have one already written (or if you do, and want to freshen it up), check out these resume writing tips to help you market yourself to future employers.
Before you begin
When you are preparing to write a resume, you need to set objectives. What is the job position? What are the objectives of the company for the person they hire? What are your objectives in obtaining that position? In your resume, you will need to clearly state what you want (the job position) and how you think you are qualified for that position. The average time spent reviewing a resume is between 10 – 30 seconds, so prioritizing the content of your resume according to specific objectives will help draw attention to your resume.
Creating your resume
You will need to include the following information in the header of your resume:
First Name and Last Name
If you will be moving soon to the area of the job you are applying for and have an address there already, include the new address on your resume
Phone number (the best number to reach you at – home or cell phone)
Be sure to double-check all of your contact information for accuracy! If you have a gender-neutral name like Alex, consider including “Mr.” or “Ms.” before your name.
Creating Your Objective Statement
Before you even began to write your resume, you should have your career objectives in mind. You should write those objectives in a one-sentence summary below your contact information. This objective should be customized for each company that you apply for, so be sure to make changes according to each position and job description. This objective should not include salary requirements!
Citing Your Work Experience
As mentioned above, your resume is a marketing tool all about YOU! Your work experience should be a list of your strengths as well as an opportunity to highlight your skills and relevant experiences from past positions that are relevant to the job and company that you are applying for. As the working world becomes more competitive, companies are looking for more than just training and education; they are looking for a proven track record.
As you begin to write out your relevant work history, be sure to include your most recent work experiences first. Usually the 3 most recently held positions will suffice. If your work history extends past 15 years, consider listing only the most relevant positions you have held in the last 10 years. Including graduation dates as well as extensive work histories alludes to your age, which could lead to age discrimination in the hiring process. However, if your best and most relevant work experience was before 15 years ago, besure that you state the relevancy of the position very specifically.
If, over several years, you have multiple different types of jobs, highlight the most important and relevant tasks you held in each position. Listing several jobs without including their relevance to the position you are applying for can make you seem flighty.
Tips for writing
Use bulleted, concise sentences in the body of your resume. Save the details for the interview! Each job listing should have three to four bullet points.
Specifically state “what” you know as well as “who” you know. If you worked directly under the CEO of your last company, say so!
List the strongest and most relevant points first under each position listed
Use action words: prepared, managed, developed, monitored, presented, disciplined, creative, problem solver, etc. Avoid using the same action word repeatedly! Additionally, some resumes are read by a computer only and scanned for specific keywords, so be specific in your choices and use keywords that are used in the original job posting.
Use %, $, and #. Numbers tend to stand out in the body of a resume amidst a sea of text.
Write custom resumes for each position you apply for! By customizing your objectives and strengths to each individual company you are interested in, your resume will be more likely to be considered for the interview process.
Be positive! Leave out any irrelevant points or that you hated your last job.
DO NOT include race, age, height, weight, etc.
Jail time: If you have been incarcerated for any amount of time, you usually should not list this information on your resume. Nevertheless, you will likely be required to provide this information on an application. If you have questions about how to present this information appropriately, consult an attorney.
Gaps in employment: You SHOULD NOT provide explanations to any gaps in your employment history on your resume. However, you should be prepared to explain any gaps during the interview.
Font should be no smaller than 10pt, and usually no larger than 12pt. (However, your name can be in a larger font size – try 1pt. Try to stick to standard fonts like Times New Roman or Arial.
Keep your resume to 1 page if possible, and no longer than 2 pages.
White space is ok! Don’t worry about filling up each line with lots of text – more white space can be appealing to the eye and help your resume be seen.
Before sending out your resume to potential employers, be sure to get outside opinions. Having a friend or family member review your resume before you send it can help you steer clear of any unwanted keywords, or worse, spelling mistakes.
Proofread at least twice!
DO NOT include pictures unless you are applying for a modeling or acting job.
NO fancy designs unless you are applying for a design job.
You can use paper that makes your resume stand out – a little larger or smaller, slightly thicker than copy paper, and generally a white, cream, or gray (not hot pink!)
Use a good printer to print out your original or make copies of your resume. *Laser jet printers produce great color, but can flake off if the paper is bent.
Really want the job? Send it certified mail or deliver it in person.
Following these tips will help you write an outstanding resume. Happy writing!