The first step in writing a resume is to make a list of everything that you have done that you feel is significant. Review what you have written and try to establish a pattern of interests. When you are gathering material for your resume, it is important to create a snapshot of your experience and interests. Try to pique the potential employer's and not bog your resume down with details. Employers only spend approximately 15-30 seconds looking at a resume for the first time.
Many companies are now scanning resumes into their own database, so it is important to keep it simple.
A good resume:
- Is limited to one page
- Includes bullets
- Leaves ample white space
- Consolidates wording
- Includes limited italics, script and underlining
- Does not use graphics and shading
- Is free of typos, grammatical errors and personal data
- Has an easy to understand chronology
- Has correct spelling and is written professionally
- Includes action words (see below)
Along with effective organization, appearance can make or break your resume. When creating a super resume, keep these points in mind:
- Fonts. Whether you e-mail, fax, or mail your resume to prospective employers, you should try to keep your font plain and easy to read. And select a reasonable size--anywhere between 9 and 12 points should be acceptable. We suggest using a sans serif font like Arial or Verdana, not Times New Roman. These will come out much clearer in faxes.
- Formatting. Just because you have Microsoft Word and all of its formatting capabilities, your resume doesn't have to look like a Caribbean vacation brochure. Myriad fonts, colors, and graphic embellishments don't really help, so use minimal and purposeful formatting. Simple bullets will best separate your duties and skills; use bolding and italics sparingly. Formatting should highlight your accomplishments, not draw attention away from them. Less, in this case, is definitely more.
- Paper. Even if you don't snail-mail your resume to employers, you should have hard copies on hand to bring to interviews. These copies should be on tasteful resume-quality paper. White, off-white, cream, and gray are the easiest to read. Just like your socks, your cover letters, mailing envelopes, and resumes should all match.
Resume Tips from PR Tactics
Resume Advice from the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Tips on Incorporating a Background Summary on Your Resume