September 20, 2009, 6:40 PM — Overview
Employers spend on average around 10 - 20 seconds on each resume. Sending an employer your resume is the only contact you will have with them unless they decide they want to speak with you. It could be a summer internship, a part-time job, a new career opportunity or a promotion. In any case that piece of paper is the only introduction you have and will determine how far you get in the process. You will want to make the best impression you can and improve your chances of getting those opportunities. It is pretty easy if you consider some basic and proven suggestions that will improve your chances.
1. Your resume should have a skills summary including an objective statement, years of experience and your key skills as it pertains to the job opportunity.
2. Focus on responsibilities, accomplishments, and not duties.
3. Emphasize with each employer section what skills were needed, how that improved the company and what was accomplished.
4. Organize your resume according to the specific job classification. Information technology employees should emphasize technical skills while marketing employees should emphasize employers.
5. Tailor your resume to the specific job - generic resumes are not informative.
6. Be creative when describing your work experience and dont repeat the same phrasing. Always include the top 5 - 10 responsibilities per employer.
7. Avoid using resume style templates.
8. Career change resumes should emphasize associated skills and not past job titles and experience.
9. Don't list your work experience beyond 5 - 10 years and 2 - 3 pages. You could have age discrimination problems and lose the interest of the employer.
10. Use bulleted lines format with each specific employer responsibilities description.
11. Keep the formatting and design plain - use the same font, consistent style, some bold and no border.
12. Always include the month/year dates of employment with each employer.
13. The job position and name of each employer should be most prominent. Use bold to highlight these items.
14. Always select descriptive keywords for the skills and job responsibilities: managed, effective, top, designed, implemented, lead, documented, improved.
15. Proper sentence structure is a must. Have someone proofread your resume and use Microsoft Word or any word processor that tags grammar errors.
16. Don't put references on your resume. Unnecessary calls will annoy your references. You want control over what references are called and when, making sure they are available.
17. Avoid long rambling sentences.
18. Get the sentence tense correct when describing past and present work experience.
19. Do not add a lot of personal information. Keep it to your interests and career related.
20. Don't forget to spell check with your word processor.
21. Always provide two working contact numbers - home and cell phone.
22. Don't use your personal email as a contact. Have an email account with your proper name. Hotmail and Google email work however the best solution is a paid email account where filtering wont occur at a company firewall.
23. Have a copy of your resume online at a job board where a recruiter can go online and download. The standard Microsoft Word 2003 and .PDF formats should work with most employers. Microsoft Word 2007 documents must be saved as a Word 2003 file. Older versions of Microsoft Word can not read the newer 2007 format.
24. Include a link to any web site that has published your career works.
Shaun Hummel is an author of various technical books and has a web site focused on information technology job search solutions and certifications. http://www.networkjobsolutions.com