(By Don Hunter)
To help you construct a better, more powerful resume, here are 10 pointers and areas of consideration in regard to your resume’s content and presentation.
1. Position title and job description. Provide your title and a detailed explanation of duties and your accomplishments. Since job titles are often vary from one company to another, your resume should tell the reader exactly what you’ve done.
2. Clarity of dates and place. Document your work history and educational credentials accurately. Don’t leave the reader guessing where you were employed or when you earned your degree.
3. Explicitness. Let the reader know the size, nature and location of your past employers, as well as what their business does or provides.
4. Detail. Specify some of the more technical or involved aspects of your past work especially if you’ve performed tasks of any complexity or significance.
- Accomplishments/Achievements – show your responsibilities, but highlight your achievements
- Quantify and Qualify your responsibilities and achievements, such as “Awarded Top Safety Manager (2009) for leading a team of 30 to 365 days of incident-free work.”
5. Proportion. Give appropriate attention to jobs or educational credentials according to their length or importance to the reader. For example, if you wish to be considered for an engineering position, don’t write a paragraph describing your current engineering job, followed by three paragraphs about your summer job as a lifeguard.
6. Relevancy. Confine your information to that which is job-related or clearly demonstrates a pattern of success.
7. Length. If you write more than two pages, it sends a signal to the reader that you can’t organize your thoughts or that you’re trying too hard to make a good impression. If your content is strong, you won’t need more than two pages.
8. Spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Create an error-free document that’s representative of an educated person. If you’re unsure about the correctness of your writing, consult a professional writer or editor.
- Make certain your address, phone number (cell) and email address are current and accurate.
9. Readability, part one. Organize your thoughts in a clear, concise manner. No resume ever won a Nobel Prize for literature. However, a fragmented or long-winded resume will assure you of a place at the back of the line.
10. Readability, part two. Be sure to select a conventional type style, such as Times New Roman or Arial, with a 12pt font, and choose a neutral background or stationery. If your resume takes too much effort to read, it may end up in the trash, even if you have terrific skills.
I suggest you write several drafts, and allow yourself time to review your work and proofread for errors. If you have a professional associate whose opinion you trust, by all means, listen to what he or she has to say. A simple critique can make the difference between an interview and a rejection.