Everyone has advice on what your resume should look like but there are some fundamentals that everyone can benefit from.
1 – Put your contact information on your resume: This may sound silly but lots of folks forget to put everything down. Make sure that there are at least two ways to contact you, such as an email and a phone number. Put your address down; this tells potential employers if you will need to relocate or not.
2 – Choose a resume style that makes sense for your situation: If you have changed jobs every five years or so a classic chronological resume might work. If, however, you have worked at the same company for 40 years, but have held different positions, something highlighting your experiences will work better. If you are a new graduate, something that accents your education and training will work best.
3 – Use keywords in your resume: Use the same words that employers are using to look for people like you. If ads in the newspaper say “Sanitation Engineer” and you put “Garbageman” on your resume, computers and people will not know to connect them. Look at job postings that are like the position you want and write your resume to that.
4 – Use a template for your resume: There are lots of free resume templates. Many of them are great for putting together your basic resume, but be sure to add and eliminate the parts that don’t make sense for your position. If all you can write for your objective is “To get a job” leave out the objective part. If your schooling is not important to what you’re doing, you might simply remove the education portion of your resume.
5 – Keep it brief: A one or two page resume is all that anyone should have. Unless it has been requested that you include details about every paper, report or project you have ever worked on, just put down some basic information. Remember, your resume is your introduction, not your autobiography.
6 – Stay focused on each portion: Don’t let yourself ramble while you’re writing. Stay focused on that particular section of the resume. If you are working through employment experience, don’t mention your volunteer work unless it’s relevant. Worse, don’t bring up your new puppy in your education experience unless your puppy had something to do with it.
7- Use specific titles: The titles that most people hold don’t explain much about what they did. ‘Shift manager’ could be anywhere from a giant auto plant to a diner. Make sure you use a clear title, ‘Manager, Shift Operations, Truck Painting Division.’ Your title should tell people what you do or did.
8 – Be positive: Don’t include things that sound negative to your potential employer. ‘Company was poorly run so my department’s sales were very low.’ If you’re blaming your old boss, your new boss knows you will blame her.
9 – Don’t hide if you got fired: Almost everyone has been let go from a job. You don’t want that to be the first thing you tell someone on your resume, but it is okay to include that job. A job that didn’t work out is much better than an employment gap. Besides, a smart employer will want to see how diplomatically you handle explaining a termination when they know you probably just want to go postal at your old job.
10 – Prooofread: Did you catch that? Proofread your resume. Over and over. Put it down for a night and do it again in the morning. Ask someone else to proofread it, particularly someone who has done a lot of hiring. They might not only see typos and misspellings, but they might notice subtle tones and help you improve your word choices.
The most important tip anyone can give you is: Get your resume out there! Employers can’t find you if you don’t put yourself out there. Take your resume to an employment agency, like ACE Employment, and let them put it out to employers for you. Just like there’s someone for everyone, there’s a perfect job with a great employer out there for everyone.
If you have an idea or a suggestion, please share it with everyone in the comments below.
Is there something that you have done on your resume that worked really well or maybe not so much? Please share it in the comments below so we can all learn from your successes and mistakes.