Resume Tips

Why Do I Need a Resume, and How Do I Start to Write One?

It’s the first meeting between you and a prospective employer–do you want to be remembered as…

  • Wrinkled and unorganized?
  • Neat and structured?
  • Long and boring?
  • Precise and interesting?

Companies do not have the time to interview every applicant that is interested in the job. If they did, there would not be a company to work for. They start using the process of elimination at the very start of the application process. That’s right–your resume.

Resumes Tell the Employer a Great Deal about You

Resumes tell where you have been, where you are now, and where you are headed. However, the story must be told quickly and clearly. You only have a few moments to convince the employer that your resume deserves further attention before it’s cast aside. Your resume needs to shout in a professional manner, “I am the one you want on your team!” Your resume needs to do this so much so that even if you are not appropriate for the advertised position, the individual reviewing your resume will be inclined to start a new position just for you.

A Resume’s Purpose Is to Land You an Interview

After reading your resume, employers should want to get to know you better. If properly prepared, your resume can be your friend. If not, it could be just the thing that loses you a great job opportunity. Use your resume to your advantage. Never falsify information, but emphasize the good and de-emphasize the bad. Make sure your lasting impression is a profound and positive one.

The Different Types of Resumes

Click here for resume examples and cover letter examples.

1. The Chronological Resume

The chronological resume is the most common. It is a chronological listing of your jobs and experience with most recent mentioned first. It’s best for…

  • people who have practical work experience without long periods of unemployment or substantial job changes.
  • people who have demonstrated growth in a single profession.

Its contents include…

  • contact Information.
  • an objective.
  • work experience.
  • education.

2. The Functional Resume

The functional resume focuses on your skills and accomplishments. It highlights what they are, not when you developed them. It’s best for…

  • people with lots of job experience through many jobs.
  • people just entering the work force with no track record.
  • people who are returning to work after a long absence.
  • people who are changing careers and want to highlight their skills and credentials.
  • people who are closer to retirement than they are to entering the workplace.
  • people whose career growth has not been positive.
  • military personnel who are seeking civilian jobs.

Its contents include…

  • contact information.
  • an objective.
  • skills.
  • work experience.
  • education.

3. The Combination Resume

It’s best for…

  • people who are advancing in their prospective careers and have established track records they want to keep.

Its contents include…

  • contact information.
  • an objective.
  • work experience.
  • skills.
  • education.
  • honors and awards.

Resume Writing Tips

Your resume should always include the following:

  • Name–provide first and last name only, because that’s how you are introduced and how you introduce yourself.
  • Address–give your complete address. Do not abbreviate.
  • Telephone Number (with area code).
  • Objective–keep it short by using just one or two sentences. Adjust your objective to fit each different position for which you are applying.
  • Education–if you are a recent graduate, place Education before Work Experience; if not, place it after.
  • Skills–list all skills that are appropriate to the type of work you are seeking. Include computer skills and known languages (understood, read, or spoken) for every job.
  • Dates–include some type of reference to the time period of each job. Be consistent with your notation.
  • Job Titles–adjust to coincide with the position for which you are applying. If your resume is going to be circulated a lot, it is better to provide broad job titles. If appropriate, use the position title for which you are applying.
  • Company Name–provide the company name with whom you were employed. City and state are sufficient for the address.
  • Responsibilities (essential part of your resume)–highlight the responsibilities of your previous jobs that are related to the position for which you are applying.
  • Professional Licenses–include licensures you have received if related to line of work for which you are applying.
  • Publications and Patents–include if your publications or patents are important to your field of profession.
  • Professional Affiliations–exclude mention of political, social, religious or other controversial groups. The emphasis of your resume should be on your professional memberships–not personal.

Your resume should never include the following:

  • A Resume Title–your resume should be organized in such a way that it is obviously a resume.
  • Availability–it is apparent that you are available; you are looking for work. The lifespan of your resume is decreased, as is your efficiency, if you do not get a job before a specified date on your resume.
  • Salary–if your request is too high, you will be eliminated immediately. If it’s too low, an employer may still cast aside your resume, or worse–they may pay you what you asked, which could be thousands less than you are worth.
  • Mention of Age, Race, Religion, Sex, or National Origin–it’s just not good business sense. Discrimination continues to exist, even in this day and age.
  • Photographs–pictures are unnecessary, unless you are seeking a modeling or acting career; then, a portfolio is recommended.
  • Charts and Graphs–nobody’s resume should have so much void space that you feel the need to fill it with a chart or graph. If it does, fix it. You can do better.
  • Weaknesses–it is counter-productive to describe your weaknesses on your resume. The purpose of your resume is to accentuate the positives.
  • Reason for Leaving a Previous Position–this is inappropriate for your resume. If the employer wants to know, he or she will ask you during your interview.
  • References–do not list references on your resume, because it is unprofessional. State instead “References are available upon request” at the very end of your resume.

Proofread Your Resume

Always proofread your work. In today’s society of computers and word processors that can check spelling and grammar for you, there is no excuse for misspelled words or grammatical errors. With mistakes like these, your resume will almost always end up in the trash. Also, have a friend review your resume to catch some of the mistakes the computer may have missed.

Be Conservative

Simplicity is the key. Do not use lots of fancy lettering that is hard to read. Stick to one type of font; however, distinguish different aspects of your resume. Use bold, italics and underline where desired. Do not make your lettering so small that the employer cannot read it.

Use Quality Paper

Make sure your paper is white and of good weight–not flimsy. You do not have to purchase expensive bond paper, but use something sturdy. Your resume is going to photocopied and faxed so many times that it might fall apart if poor-quality paper is used.

Always Be Truthful

Do not lie. You will be expected to know how to do everything your resume says you can do.

Be Concise

One page is a good length for people who have just started their careers. Two pages can be used for individuals with more extensive experience. Try not to go over two pages, unless you have been in your profession over 15 years.

Avoid the Use of the Personal Pronoun “I”

If at all possible, avoid the use of “I” when writing your resume.

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