How to Prepare a Basic Resume

There are as many kinds of resumes as there are jobs. Use a style that matches your personality and career objectives.

  1. Choose one or two fonts at most, and avoid underlined, boldfaced and italic text. Many companies use automated recruiting systems that have difficulty with special formatting.

  2. Opt for the active voice rather than the passive voice (say 'met the goal' rather than 'the goal was met').

  3. Provide contact information such as your home address, phone number and e-mail address at the top of your resume.

  4. Include an objectives statement, in which you use clear, simple language to indicate what kind of job you're looking for. This should appear below your contact information.

  5. List your most recent and relevant experience first. Include time frames, company names and job titles, followed by major responsibilities.

  6. In a second section, outline your education, awards, accomplishments and anything else you wish prospective employers to know about you.

  7. Hire a proofreader or have someone you trust proofread your resume. Mistakes in spelling, grammar or syntax can land it in the circular file.

  8. Limit your resume to one page unless it is scientific or highly technical. Less is definitely more when it comes to resumes.

  9. Write a cover letter to submit with your resume (see the Fred's Head article How to Write an Effective Cover Letter).

Leave out personal information, particularly as it relates to your age, race, religious background and sexual orientation.

Avoid obscure fonts, clip art and other unnecessary visuals.

Choose resume paper with a little personality. If you are interested in a high-technology field, send your resume via e-mail.

Print your resume on a high-quality laser printer or new ink jet printer for crisp letters. Avoid using dot matrix and old ink-jet printers that can smear and blur.

Simply reproducing job descriptions is often just a waste of space. What achievements did you have on the job? How can you show that you really performed rather than just met the obligations? Always mention awards, raises, promotions, any other kind of recognitions.

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