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Resume Guidelines & Tips

Resume Preparation

This is your first impression. Many people believe it's your appearance, voice inflection, handshake etc. that make a positive first impression. However, in a job search, the first impression a company receives from you is typically your resume. Think of yourself as a company and your resume as the marketing brochure. It describes the features of the company, and value and benefit of the products or services. Your resume is your initial selling tool and should be crafted to attract interest and help form a positive impression. Below you will find important information that should be included in your resume. Expand & read more

Contact Information

Your contact information should be listed at the top and be current with numbers and e-mail where people can immediately reach you, and at places where you can talk freely. If you are employed and confidentially looking, be careful of companies contacting you at your present employer via the phone or e-mail. It is recommended that you list a personal e-mail address on your resume rather than a work address.

Availability Date

You should tell people if you are immediately available for a new opportunity or to even interview. If you are not available to relocate or start for another 60 days due to mitigating circumstances, then indicate that on your resume or cover letter.

Objective

A resume objective is not a philosophy or general statement. Your objective should be tailored to the specific company or job opportunity. The more specific the objective, the better.

Education Level and Certifications

Many times positions require a certain educational background. List all degrees with year completed, any minor concentrations and special certifications (CPA, Six Sigma Black Belt etc.). If your GPA is a 3.0 or better, you graduated with honors, received any academic awards or scholarships, then list them on your resume.

Computer/Language/Technical Skills/Activities

List certain skills like fluency in foreign languages, proficiency in computers programs or software, and any specific equipment experience. If you possess advanced skills, then indicate that on the resume. In addition, if you are involved in any community activities or organizations, and hold leadership positions, list them on your resume. Remember that companies are looking for people who are well rounded in their professional and personal life.

Experience

List your experience in reverse chronological order starting with most current. You should include your dates of employment (month and year) and a brief explanation of responsibilities and job duties.

Accomplishments

This is probably the most important part of your resume preparation. Performance based accomplishments should be in bullet format and listed directly under your responsibilities for each position. These accomplishments (successes) should be quantifiable, action-oriented, time-based and show the results/benefits for the organization. Past performance is the best indicator of future success and your previous accomplishments can make you stand out from other resumes being considered. To learn more about how to build quantifiable accomplishments in your resume, view "How to build a Power Resume".

Resume Format Tips

There are many different resume formats. The format you utilize must present your experience, accomplishments and benefits in a format that is attractive, concise and holds the readers interest. Some following resume format suggestions... Expand & read more

  • Keep the resume to less than two pages.
  • Use one inch margins on each side.
  • Begin two inches from the top of the page.
  • No more than one line between sections of the resume.
  • Single-space your resume.
  • At least one inch at the bottom of the page.
  • Make sure your resume is 100% free of spelling and grammatical errors.
  • Do not switch back and forth between the first, second and third person.
  • Utilize Times New Roman or Arial 10 or 12-pitch black font.
  • Print your resume on high quality white or off-white paper. It is recommended that if you are mailing your resume the envelopes match the resume paper.
  • If you are sending the resume via e-mail or the Internet, save it in a Microsoft Word or text format.
  • When writing dates, use the month, day, and year format.
  • Do not use any borders or clip art on your resume.

How to Build a Power Resume

A "Power Resume" clearly communicates a person's value, their ability to execute and attracts immediate interest from the reader. It does not simply tell a story or expound on job duties and descriptions. It qualifies and quantifies a person's successes and past accomplishments. These past accomplishments are the best indicators of future performance. This is why companies look to first hire internally. The internal person is a known quantity and the past performance is proven. Read below to learn how to craft and incorporate previous successes into your resume, and make a positive and impacting impression. Expand & read more

  1. Identify Past Accomplishments: If you have not kept a record of past successes or old performance appraisals, this might take some thought. Think of your previous responsibilities. What specifically did you achieve? What were some goals that you faced and the extent of your success? Some areas to focus on are cost savings, project completion, team retention, employee development, increase in sales, profitability and improved efficiencies.
  2. Qualify Your Successes: Success is measured by the accomplishment of an objective. It is important in qualifying the success to communicate the factor of difficulty. You can measure the quality of the success by the factor of difficulty. The greater the difficulty, the greater the quality of the success. For example, you surpassed the goal ahead of time while compensating for a 20% reduction in capital resources.
  3. Quantify Your Successes: An accomplishment is quantifiable if it is specific, time- based and measurable. If you successfully accomplished an objective ahead of time, make sure that is communicated. In addition, what is the success measured against? Was there a set goal, standard or industry norm? Educate the reader as to the scale of measurement. This can help further emphasize and quantify your accomplishment.
  4. Success is Defined by Results: What was the end result of the accomplishment? What effect did it have on your team or the organization? How did the results relate to the business climate or company resources? Companies want to hire people that drive results, so this is probably the most critical piece of a "Power Resume". You must demonstrate to the reader that your previous efforts produced results with a positive impact on operational or financial performance.

As you progress in your professional career, the more important it becomes to talk in terms of successes and accomplishments. People know you have the skills required by the position or opportunity - the question you must answer for them is "Can you execute and apply the skills you have with some defined positive results for your department or organization?". Please click here to see a sample resume.


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