Resume writing tips

8 Rules to Resume Writing

A  resume's goal is to incite enough interest by the reader that they contact you for further information.

Nothing more.

 It is not a journal of your work history nor is it a forum for creative design and fancy word processing skills. You want your resume to demonstrate the most basic characteristics valued by a potential employer: clean, well organized, consistent, and easy to understand.

Rule One - Format is as important as content.

  • Microsoft Word is the business standard - use it. If you don't have Word get it, borrow it, or trial it directly from Microsoft.
  • Use only black ink with Century Gothic, Ariel, Tahoma, Calibri, or Verdana font.
  • Size 11 font for the body of your text; 12 for headings (Bold) and contact information; 14 for your name (Bold and all caps).
  • Display your name in bold at the top center of each page with contact info centered, also bold, below it on the first page only. Do not put your name in the header - it gets lost in viewing.
  • Provide a complete list of all the technology tools with which you have experience, naming the most recent first. Include technologies that may now be considered antiquated – they may be part of a job requirement and the thing that sets you apart.
  • Bullets should be simple dots - nothing more.
  • Do not underline text; use italics when naming publications.
  • Leave ample margins.
  • Do not use tables or columns.
  • Two pages is best, three is acceptable.
  • Page number and total pages should be in the footer (Page 1 of 2).

Rule Two - Spelling must be impeccable.

  • Check spelling and context (manger, manager; their, there, they're...)

Rule Three - Customize your resume prior to each submittal.

  • Tailor the wording of your objectives and responsibilities to mimic that used in the company's job posting, website, or other materials.
  • Move required tools and methods to a prominent position in your lists and name them where used with former employers.
  • When listing responsibilities, move your comparable experiences to positions higher on the list.
  • Further emphasize like responsibilities by removing those that are not applicable to the position for which you are applying.

Rule Four - Choose contact information wisely.

  • Create an email address that is a derivative of your name.
  • Do not use the same email address you use for playtime!
  • Use an address that you are certain to keep for at least 5 years. Resumes are stored electronically forever. Yahoo, aim, gmail are better email choices than your current Internet provider.
  • Do not use your current employer's email address!
  • Put your home telephone number on your resumes. Avoid posting your cell phone number. You want to return calls when you're prepared, not while working or in the grocery store.
  • Do not use your employer's telephone number!
  • Clean up your voice messages; keep them professional. Record the message yourself while standing and smiling. (Smiles can be heard!)

Rule Five - Refrain from rambling.

  • Create a master document that outlines every job, date, responsibility, accomplishment, method, tool, and training course and use it for your personal reference ONLY.
  • Develop a basic resume that includes a brief objective, a list of tools and methods, education and training, and professional experience.
  • List higher education with degree achieved - NO DATES!
  • List employers chronologically with the most current listed first. Include dates, title, and a few bullets that describe broadly your responsibilities. (Remember, you'll customize prior to each submittal.)
  • List only the most pertinent and current training courses, certifications, associations, and affiliations.
  • Go back as far as applicable to your career today - generally 10-15 years. After you've gone back as far as necessary, make a reference such as 'Prior experience not applicable' or ‘Employers and experience prior to 1990 upon request.’

Rule Six - Know your keywords and use them.

  • Recruiting databases search on location, title, and keywords.
  • The first person to screen your resume will be looking for key words. Vary your terms because they may not know that 'coding' and 'developing' are essentially the same.
  • Mainstream your titles, processes, and other verbiage to be less employer-specific. i.e. If an employer used the title 'Leader', you can use the title 'Manager' or the word 'Managed' when describing your responsibilities.
  • Use full names of tools, methods, and employers and the acronyms by which they are commonly referred (C# and C Sharp).

Rule Seven - Do not include personal information.

  • No photos!
  • No birth dates!
  • No graduation dates!
  • No hobbies!
  • No family information!

Rule Eight - Print and proof.

  • Proofing online is not enough. Print it. Make sure the format is clean and have someone else read it for you.
  • Use quality paper stock for hard copies.

Remember, you only get one chance to make a first impression and now due to the internet, that first impression will be dissected and viewed over and over for many years to come.

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