Resume Writing Tips
Sell Yourself. Don't Sell Yourself Short

A thoughtful, well-written resume can help you stand out as a candidate. Because it needs to serve as your sales pitch, be sure it's compelling, insightful and truthful. Your resume is also often the first glimpse we and our clients have of you.

Here are some tips to crafting a resume that will help you make a good first impression.

Start with the basics. Nothing fancy needed, just white or ivory paper and a clear, readable typeface. Use bulleted items, indentations, adequate margins and white space to make it readable to busy hiring managers. Include your full name, address, telephone number, and if you have them, mobile phone and e-mail address at the top. If you're not home during the day, it's helpful to have an answering machine or voice mail at the telephone number. If you're hoping to relocate to a new area, invest in a mobile phone with a local number.

Keep it simple. Human Resource professionals generally prefer a chronological resume that lists your most recent employer first, and continues in reverse order. You probably want to put a few sentences, or short, bulleted phrases under each employer to explain what you did in that job. However, if you are changing career paths or have an inconsistent work history, you might want to opt for a functional resume. This would include your achievements and job skills first, perhaps separated into categories, followed by a reverse chronological list of your employers.

Be succinct but powerful. Keep your job descriptions short and informative. Use dynamic action words when possible and highlight specific achievements. Saying you "increased sales by 25 percent," is better than saying you are "an experienced salesman." It's also best to avoid personal pronouns such as "I" or "me" and instead just launch into your description with a powerful verb such as "Performed," "Supervised," or "Initiated."

Keep it brief. A one-page resume is probably adequate if you are applying for your second or third job. You don't want to overwhelm the reader with too many details. But if you've been in the workforce for two decades and have a great deal of job experience, use the space you need to explain it.

Include education and objectives. Employers want to know about your education. It's a good idea to include any degrees you have earned along with your major and the name of the educational institution. If you are applying for a specific position, you might also list a job objective and a brief description of your related skills and experience.

Keep it truthful. You want to sell yourself in this resume, but don't do it under false pretenses. Never lie in your resume, falsify education degrees or make up job skills you don't have.

Don't include too much. Be sure not to list any overly personal information — height, weight, marital status, age, ethnicity, religion, number of children, political affiliation or hobbies. There's no need. Such information is private and inappropriate for a potential employer to consider.

Include information that sets you apart. If your membership in a professional organization is important to the job at hand, mention it. The same goes for technical language, especially for high technology jobs. You don't want to fill your resume with jargon, but you want the employer to know you are familiar with the industry.

Proofread. We can't stress this enough. A single misspelling or typo could send your resume into the roundfile. Be sure to read it over with an eagle eye and then have a friend read it, too.

Most of all, you want this resume to get your foot in the door and pave the way to an interview. It's your first, best chance to wow a prospective employer. If you think you can't do it yourself, consider getting assistance from a professional resume writer. In the end, you want to sell yourself, not sell yourself short.


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