Writing a resume can be a very frustrating experience. You want to capture all of you experience and qualifications into one document but this can be challenging. A good resume combines quality content with a format that is professional and appealing. After writing and rewriting my resume numerous times these are some tips that I found valuable:
- Have at least one capable proofreader review your resume for grammar, punctuation, capitalization and spelling errors. Your resume should be error free. Use spell checker-but also proofread several times. Print out your resume because it is easier to spot typos on a piece of paper than it is on a computer screen.
- It is important to have the appropriate format for your qualifications and experience. For some people a chronological format works best while others prefer a functional format. Search ‘professional resume format examples’ for some potential formats to use for your resume.
- Consistency in use of 1st and 3rd person. The majority of resume writers write with “I” as the implied subject. Whichever way you choose, use the same subject throughout your writing. Don’t switch in the middle of the resume and expect the reader to follow.
- The top one-third of the page must capture the reader, both in visual appeal and factual content. It is generally accepted that on initial screening of resumes received for a particular opening, the decision maker will spend 15 to 30 seconds with each resume to make a choice. Listing a summary of skill or accomplishments can be done in columns, single-line bullets or broken phrases. This technique allows the writer to pack a lot of information into a small amount of space.
- Every resume should contain keywords. Keywords can include the following- Position titles, skill sets, Degrees, training, etc. Putting multiple keywords into your resume helps the return rate when recruiters are searching online databases. Keywords can be found in the job postings / job descriptions that you are applying to. Strengthen keywords by following them with an accomplishment.
- When writing job descriptions, try to keep your paragraph to around five lines. Getting the description into five lines allows you to summarize your accomplishments and only include the most important information. Also organize paragraphs into logical pieces of information with a subheading.
- If a resume extends to a second or third page by only a few lines then reformat the document to fit on one or two pages, respectively. A slightly smaller font size or slightly smaller page margins might allow those few extra lines to fit on the previous page.