Resume Tips & Templates

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There are two widely used styles of resumes:

The chronological resume format is generally the most preferred by hiring managers. Functional resumes are most beneficial to candidates with brief or unfocused career experience. When developing your resume, be sure to consider the following guidelines:

Proofread - Have two people check your resume for content and spelling. Once having read your resume, they should then have a clear understanding of the scope and function of your position. In addition, your proofreaders may be able to point out things you may have overlooked, or that you might not have thought were relevant or necessary.

Keep It Short - Limit your resume to 2-3 pages

Be Accessible - Include both a permanent contact and present address, phone number, fax, and e-mail address.

Layout - List jobs in reverse chronological order. Layout your job titles/headings in boldface type.

Use Concise Descriptions
- Position titles don't always reflect job content. Spell out your responsibilities emphasizing your achievements in each role. Try to keep job descriptions to three to five sentences. Write job descriptions in easy to understand terms and as completely as space allows.

Quantify Achievements - Mention major accomplishments that emphasize your successes, providing measurement data to reinforce these achievements if available. Use action verbs to start each sentence (i.e.: designed, organized, built, developed, coordinated, earned, analyzed, established).

Correct Timelines - Ensure dates are correct and account for any gaps in time.

Be Honest - Don't omit or misrepresent your educational achievements or professional credentials.

Provide Relevant Information - Describe your part-time jobs, community volunteer work and professional awards that show off your expertise, enthusiasm and dedication.

Cover Letter - If emailing your application, include your brief cover letter in the body of your email instead of attaching it as a separate document, to increase the likelihood that it will be read. Include your salary expectations.

An excellent resume should be a well-organized, easy to read capsule of your abilities and achievements created to capture the employer's attention. Your resume is your personal advertisement - it is your future. Above all, it is a marketing tool whose objective is to obtain an interview.

Do's And Don'ts

Do:
Include an Objective at the top of your resume. It is the first marketing statement a potential employer will read. In two or three specific sentences you can express your career aspirations, goals and what type of opportunity appeals to you. It should not be general or flowery; rather direct the Objective to the position, industry or type of company you are applying to. This will better direct your resume to the appropriate person.

Include a Summary. Take advantage of the Summary or Highlights section at the beginning of your resume. Do some research to determine what core competencies the employer requires and encapsulate your skills as they relate specifically to the position you seek.

Format Appropriately. Be aware of the style and appearance of your resume. It should be formatted so that it looks great both electronically and on paper. The material must be well-organized, easy to read with absolutely perfect spelling and grammar.

Focus on Achievements. Make your resume more exciting and readable by writing it in an achievement-oriented style. Do not submit your previous job descriptions in the guise of a resume. An achievement-oriented resume will convey your relevant experience and skills, your talents in using these skills and the pride and enjoyment you receive from your work.

Example:
Increased profits by 35% by developing and implementing a national direct marketing campaign.
Drove sales to 120% of targets through the successful launch of three new products.

List Relevant Details. Include a listing of technical, professional and personal details that do not fit in the body of your resume, towards the end of your document. Association affiliations, computer skills, community service, awards and personal interests portray a well-rounded individual. However, be sure to keep your list brief by limiting yourself to the items that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

Submit By Email. When emailing your resume, include a specific reference to the position you are applying for in your subject line, to ensure it reaches the correct person.

Don't:
Include A Personal Website. Do not submit your personal website address as a replacement for a traditional resume. Technology has been known to fail and if your website is not viewable, a potential employer will not waste time trying to reconnect. If you have a website that is applicable to your career history with samples of your work; add it to your contact listing at the header of your document.

Be Too Long/Too Short. Be aware of the length of your resume. When writing your resume, ask yourself if each statement brings you closer to landing an interview and include only the information that truly sells you as a candidate.

Use Incorrect Writing Style. Do not write your resume in first person format. As a business communication, the resume should not include "I" or "me" and articles should be limited. Do not write your resume as if someone else is writing it for you. A resume is known to be a personal marketing tool and its impact is compromised when it appears you solicited another party to write positive things about you. Save the testimonials of others for reference checking.

Use Incorrect Resume Style. Do not use a functional resume when your career history is solid. Your presentation on paper is not as strong when your career progression is not apparent or if you do not connect your skills to a particular position. The chronological format is generally preferred.