Your resume is “you” on paper. The content as well as the format will form an image of you in the interviewer’s mind. If they do not like the picture your resume “paints”, you will not be called for an interview. The interview is the first step in getting the position you want.
Be concise. In the case of resume writing, brief is better unless you have been in the workforce for a number of years with specialized employment skills and accomplishments. Keep your resume to one page. Remember, few interviewers enjoy or have the time to read lengthy resumes. Your goal is to accurately chronicle your work experience, and emphasize the experience that makes you the best candidate for the position.
Be focused. Tailor your resume for the position you are applying for. This will, in some cases, require you to have more than one resume that will emphasize a variety of your employment skills. For example, if the position requires research and writing, you would want to send a resume that details your research and writing experience. If the position requires supervision of staff, you would submit a resume reflective of that experience. Keep your resume updated. Periodically, review your resume to include new accomplishments or skill sets. Make sure your address, phone number and email address are current. Remember, opportunities for advancement can present themselves at any time.
Proofread your resume. Get a knowledgeable friend or colleague to read it as well. A mistake of any kind on a resume can eliminate you from the interviewing process.
- Spellcheck is not enough. A word can be spelled correctly, but not be correctly used.
- Use a thesaurus to avoid repetition of the same adjectives.
- Use a dictionary. Do not use words that are unfamiliar to you.
- Be consistent in your punctuation. If you use dashes between the dates of employment, follow that format all the way through your resume. Don’t use dashes in some cases and slash marks in others (i.e. Use either 1-12-99 or 1/12/99).
- Make sure there is a period at the end of each sentence.
- Be selective in your use of commas and semi-colons.
- Do not switch tenses within the same paragraph. For your current position, you use the present tense
(i.e. “research, manage review”); to describe duties in previous positions, you use the past tense
(i.e. “researched, managed reviewed”).
- If you have worked in other states, use the two letter abbreviation. (Florida- FL; New York-NY; New Jersey: NJ, etc.)
- Use plain white or cream paper. Bright, flashy paper will get you noticed but not in the way you had hoped.
- Your print should be clean and concise. No excessive cursive, italicized or Florentine fonts. Remember, in resume writing, less is better.
- Do not crowd your resume. Make sure that the spacing between positions is consistent.
- Minimize the use of bolding and underlining headings. If you choose to use them, be consistent.
- Your resume should not include references to age, religion, race, sex, or marital status.
- Do not include salary history unless specifically requested, and in that case, put it in your cover letter.
- Avoid faxing a photocopy of your resume. Your resume may be copied by the interviewer to send to the department head. A second or third generation copy will look faded.