Monday, May 3, 2010

10 Tips for Resume Writing

  1. Design: You want a resume that looks modern, not something your great-grandfather tossed together back in the 18th Century. But you also don't want something that looks amateurish. Keep it simple but professional looking. Use an appropriate design. Flashy graphics on the page and color and colored paper should be killed off, unless maybe you're a graphic artist, but even then you should probably save your artsy stuff for your portfolio. A goofy-looking resume will often get tossed by a potential employer before they even properly look at it.
  2. Content: What's in your resume is just as, if not more, important than its look. Write clearly and factually, and get specific about your job experience and job goals. As example, don't just write "I worked in an office for a big company;" instead write something along the lines of "I managed incoming calls and accounts receivable for the Joe Schmo firm." But don't be too boring.
  3. Change your resume: Every resume you send out should be at least slightly different from the one before. Why? Because each resume you send out is going to a different person or company. Fine tune your resume so it fits whom you are sending it. Don't just find a job listing online and shuffle off that resume, at least not if you want a better chance of getting an interview and possibly the job. Study the company who will be getting your resume. Study the expectations of the job. Include related points in your resume.
  4. Prioritize: You want the most important information at the top of your resume. You name, contact information. Probably after that should come employment history with job skills included. Below that can go your education. If you're right out of college and don't have a lot of experience, make sure to mention any internships or related experience near the top.
  5. Use the right words: Active words. Power words. Words with energy. Remember you are selling something, yourself. Look as if you care, as if you really want this job and that you're the right person for the job. Strong words, not overly used, will give this impression.
  6. Don't get personal: Your potential employers don't need to know about your spouse, kids or the dog. They don't need to know your religion or your favorite TV shows. In fact, it's probably illegal for them to inquire about such things. And they don't want to know them anyway. That stuff's for office chit chat after you get the job. Getting too personal looks needy and scare off those hiring.
  7. Edit, edit, edit: In a resume, one mistake is too many. A resume with mistakes in it tells the reader the person who created the resume doesn't care enough to clean up their work. So why would a boss want to hire that person?
  8. Tell the truth: If you lie about something in your resume, a former job or where you went to school, sooner or later it will likely come to light that you lied. If this happens before you can get the job, they'll dismiss you. If this happens after you get the job, you're probably fired. Sure, you want to make yourself look good on your resume, but don't stretch the truth.
  9. Skip the objective: Often times a resume will begin with an objective statement or declarative sentence in an attempt to explain the goals of the resume writer. Don't do this. Your possible boss already knows your goals, to get a job. They're much more interested in their own goals, and/or the goals of their company and how you can help accomplish those.
  10. Keep up with it: Even if you're not hunting for a job, it's a good idea to update your resume every so often, say once every six months. This will keep you prepared in case you suddenly are hunting for a new job, and it helps to keep your resume writing skills up to date.

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