Resume Preparation

The purpose of the resume is to get a job interview.  The resume is not your life story.  Less is better – quality over quantity.  Use short statements, and save the detailed explanations and stories for the interview.

The resume is a Marketing document.  Marketing is about identifying your target audience, assessing their needs, and adjusting your product/service to meet those needs.

The resume is written to the reader (recruiter, hiring manager). Use the job description and your research to identify as much of what the position entails, and tailor your resume to match as much as possible.  Do not exaggerate or mis-represent your experience.  Use clear, specific statements instead of general or vague expressions of your opinion of yourself.  For example, don’t use the phrase “hard worker” – use Accomplishment Statements to highlight your productivity.  Just state the facts!

Here are some helpful tips:

  • 1 to 2 pages. 3rd page is OK for an addendum (technical experience, publications, special projects).
  • Sections include:  Heading, Summary, Experience, Education/Training, Certifications/Licensing, Languages, Technical. Do not use an Objective.  Do not include anything about References.
  • The Summary is your mini-resume – it introduces you and provides an overview of your experience, expertise and strengths. It should be relevant to the position, and include important keywords and phrases.
  • Put the company name and titles on the left.  Put the dates (years only) on the right.
  • Do not use resume templates that limit your ability to tailor your resume.
  • Use standard fonts – they copy, scan and fax better.
  • Use 10 – 12 point font size.
  • Have margins top and bottom, left and right.
  • Include white space throughout the resume – margins, in-between sections.
  • Use Bold, but not Italics (may not copy, scan or fax clearly).
  • Do not use “I” statements. Do not use “Responsibilities included” or “Responsible for” – state exactly what you did.
  • Use Action Verbs – present tense only for current position, past tense for all prior positions.
  • Use Accomplishment Statements to highlight the contributions you have made (in bullet form) – use #’s whenever possible.
  • Grammar and spell check before sending – your resume must be err0r-free.
  • Do not abbreviate.
  • Do not use jargon.

Your resume will get about a 20-30 second look the first time.  It must grab the attention of the reader.  It does so by using a layout that is easy to read, and by containing the relevant experience, etc., that matches the position.  Your resume needs to tell the reader how well you fit their requirements.  It is not about what you are looking for.  In the Summary, you will emphasize the experience, skills, etc. that are most important to you, but they must also match to the position.  This is why we use a Summary instead of an Objective.

Remember to tailor your resume each time you send it.  A generalized resume will not get the attention of the reader unless they’re not looking for anything or anyone specific.  Put in the extra effort and make your resume appealing to the employer!

For additional insight, please click on the link below:

“Did You Get My Resume” (Wall Street Journal, March 5, 2009)


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