Writing Your Resume
A resume is your marketing tool. It explains to a potential employer your knowledge and capabilities. We recommend some guidelines to help you to produce a brilliant resume. For your resume, you must generate the content. If you are struggling with the presentation, there are some helpful hints to enable you to package it professionally.
A Word About Length
Your resume should not extend beyond two pages. There are exceptions, but your objective is to capture a hiring manager’s attention quickly. You should realize that if your resume is longer than two pages, the manager may not read it at all. In fact, most recruiters and managers would prefer one-page resumes. If you can tell your compelling story in one page, seriously consider it.
As indicated above, there are exceptions. Academic and scientific resumes are often longer than two pages because they are actually portfolios. These resumes are known as Curriculum Vitae (CV). They include examples of published papers and research projects. You should only prepare a CV when an institution specifically requests it for a particular position.
A good practice is to review your resume and ask yourself if each statement helps potential employers learn something about you. If they don’t receive value from a particular statement, delete it.
Your name spelling, address, phone number, and email address must be correct. Be mindful of the email address you use. Sometimes, people use very creative addresses. Use an email address in your contact information reads professionally. Fun and playful names may not be received well by potential employers.
It is an excellent practice to check your spam filter daily basis in case employer inquiries are routed there accidentally.
People tend to use objective statements ineffectively. Statements like, “Looking for an entry level accounting position” are obvious and vague. Your objective should emphasize what you can bring to your next employer.
o Recent honors graduate who thrives in active environments and on challenging assignments seeks entry-level accounting position.
o Recent graduate with a reputation for exceptional work and laser focus seeks entry-level accounting position.
This is an optional section, but excellent if you have done similar work in many different organizations. It should include at least one statement that describes an achievement, and it should support your employment goals.
Highlight your most qualifying work achievements. Organize them in chronological order. Don’t waste space with unnecessary information like employer addresses.
Avoid information that might cause issues for you. For example, Be discreet about the name of your current employer on job boards. In a global, online world, it is likely someone from your current workplace will come across your resume.
Remove any references to salaries, reasons for leaving your former position, and any comments about former bosses. Avoid availability dates as well.
Use job titles that make sense to a potential employer. Avoid industry jargon. If your job title does not describe the work you did, modify the language. For example, “WTC” means nothing outside of the company that invented the acronym, even though you know it means “Warehouse Technician in the Cairo office.” On your resume, state the position as “Warehouse Technician.”
As a rule, include no more than ten years of work history unless the previous experience is relevant. If you have not used a specialized skill in the past several years, it is possible you will need current refresher training before using it again.
Depending on your experiences and contributions, you may have a mixed amount to say about your accomplishments. You may want to list some achievements within your work experience sections, or you may choose to list them in a separate section.
Businesses have fairly limited interests. Most focus primarily on profit. Your accomplishments should demonstrate to potential employers your ability to make and save them money. If you keep that first in your mind, you will be able to select appropriate accomplishments to include. This concept doesn’t mean you shouldn’t include examples that don’t have numbers and dollars. It simply means you should quantify as many examples as possible.
Education and Certifications
If you recently graduated and don’t have much work experience, include this information ahead of the work experience section. If your experience is extensive, your work experience section goes above this section. Your highest educational achievement is stated first in the list. Include courses and qualifications that you earned outside of school that pertains to the position, like commercial driver’s license, safety training, product workshops, and technical certificates.
General Style Tips
- List your most recent experiences first for each position. If you had more than one role with a company, list the most senior position first. Omit irrelevant tasks or job titles.
- Emphasize accomplishments by using bold, italic, or underlining.
- Include positive comments from supervisors, managers, or customers.
- Include volunteer or community service work that enhances your profile. Exclude religious or political statements unless you are applying for a religion-based responsibility or political organization.
- Do not include references on the resume. Instead, add a line that says, “References available upon request.”
NEVER skip this step. Proofread your material very carefully and recruit others to do the same. Often, when we re-read material we have written, our brain mistakes it as correct, even when it’s not. Even outstanding spellers find it difficult to see errors in their work. Software spellcheck functions are of value, but they don’t always recognize contextual mistakes, like using “there” when you should use “their.” Ask a friend with excellent spelling and grammar skills.
Check Your Work
Before you send your resume to anyone, work through this list:
o Have you used short, easy to understand words instead of longer, complex ones that need to be looked up?
o Are your sentences no more than 15 to 20 words long?
o Are your paragraphs less than five lines?
o Do sentences start with action words that have power wherever possible?
o Have you replaced all the jargon you possibly could?
o Has someone proofread your document?
o Is there a balance of print and white space on the page?