by sysop in Applying for a Job
by Liz Hine
Creating a resume can be a daunting process. Should you have one page or two? Is an Objective statement helpful or a turnoff? The truth is that a lot of what you’ll read about creating the best resume is subjective. It also will depend on the industry and position you are applying for.
What’s the purpose of a resume?
A resume is your opportunity to get your foot in the door. You want to catch the reader’s attention and convince him or her that you are worth a conversation. Your space on the page is extremely valuable. Be sure to use it wisely. You do not have to put everything you’ve ever done on your resume – only what is relevant and applicable. BUT, it must all be true, and you have to be prepared to explain any gaps or holes in your resume.
- Header: name, contact information (email, address, phone).
- Education History: university, major, graduation year.
- Relevant Work Experience: Sorted in some kind of understandable order (chronological is my favorite!), specific examples that demonstrate results.
- Length: 1 page for every 10 years of work experience (unless otherwise specified in the application – if they ask for 1 page, give it to them).
- Bullets: Make it easy for the reader to see what you want them to see.
- White Space: Too many words can make it difficult to read.
- Skills: Technical capability or specialized software experience.
Things not to include:
- Information about your age, family, origin, or any other protected class information.
- Your picture.
- Objective statements: That’s what your cover letter is for. Don’t waste valuable space.
Easy mistakes to avoid:
- Typos: Please, please, please have someone other than yourself proof-read.
- Odd page breaks and formatting errors: Proof-read on a computer and in print. When you’re done double checking, save it as a PDF. You’re much less likely to have the formatting change on a different computer when you send it in PDF.
- Irrelevant information: Make sure your resume demonstrates relevant experience for the job you’re applying for.
If you look at your resume with the lens of “will this page demonstrate that I have the appropriate level of experience for this role,” you’ll be in good shape to be competitive.