Resume Do’s and Don’ts
Due to the current job market and the constant stream of people looking for employment, prospective employers receive countless resumes for a single opening. Statistics indicate that they will spend 2.5 to 20 seconds screening the stacks of resumes they receive. You must make sure that your resume makes what you offer quickly apparent. In light of this information, the following Do’s and Don’ts will help you in preparing your resume.
1. Do keep your resume to one or two pages.
2. Do use good, quality paper in neutral tones.
3. Do proofread your resume several times.
4. Do use action words that clearly describe your accomplishments in a focused way.
5. Do list your jobs in reverse chronological order.
6. Do think in terms of accomplishments, rather than just dull lists of responsibilities.
1. Don’t go beyond two pages in length.
2. Don’t justify the text (make all the right margins line up); it creates odd spaces between words.
3. Don’t lie on your resume.
4. Don’t emphasize job skills you have but don’t want to perform in a job.
5. Don’t include personal information like height, weight, age, marital status, sex, race/ethnicity or religion.
6. Don’t list references right on your resume.
7. Don’t overlook experience or skills obtained in non-paying positions, such as volunteer work or extra-curricular activities. They provide valuable insight into your contributions, as well as your character.
What employers look for
While every position requires a different set of skills and proficiencies, all employers look for similar traits and dispositions in prospective employees that will contribute to the company beyond the performance of specific duties. Your interaction and demeanor can portray these characteristics at an interview. The following list includes many desirable qualities that employers seek regardless of the position they wish to fill:
1. Computer skills
2. Motivation and initiative
3. Interpersonal skills (relates to and works well with others)
4. Flexibility/adaptability (capable of change and adjustment)
5. Communication skills (verbal and written)
6. GPA 3.0 or higher (indicates motivation and goal orientation)
7. Self starter (recognize needs and willing to address them)
8. Well-developed logic and reasoning skills
9. Maturity (knowing appropriate business behavior)
10. Honesty, integrity and work ethic
A good resume can make the difference between getting an interview and lining the recycle bin. It’s the opportunity to self yourself to a potential employer. That means that you should invest a good deal of time and energy (and possibly money) into creating a resume that will get you and your skills noticed. You should never, ever make untrue claims or statements on your resume just to get their attention! But, the way you present yourself and your experience can go a long way towards convincing hiring companies to take a closer look at what you have to offer.
Since so much depends on a strong resume, it might be worthwhile to get professional help. Many universities offer resume writing services and review through the career services office. You can also find resources online or through your telephone book. Many online services offer free templates to guide you in creating a professional looking resume that includes the appropriate information. While form and content do matter, the real key lies in how you present the information. This is where you might benefit most from outside help. Knowing how to make your skills and experience fit what employers look for will give you an edge and professionals know how to do this.
The following resume service companies have solid reputations for their work:
Prices vary according to the level of service and “package” you select, but expect to pay between $120 and $500 for a company to create a customized resume, cover letter and follow up letter based on your information. It could be well worth the cost if it gets your resume noticed!