This chapter gives you tools you need to create or improve your own resume and cover letter. We begin with lists of do’s and don’ts to guide you. We then offer worksheets – PDF or Web-based forms keyed to chapters in this book – that you can print out and fill in. We end with a resume critique form and checklists so that when your resume and cover are complete, you can ensure you’ve covered all the bases.
Resume Do’s and Don’t’s
Here are the keys to successfully preparing and writing a resume. Follow these simple rules and you should achieve success in this important phase of job-hunting.
- Do consider a bulleted style to make your resume as reader-friendly as possible.
- Don’t get overwrought about the old “one-page resume rule.” It’s good to keep your resume to one page, if possible, but if you have a lot of experience, two pages may be more appropriate. If your resume spills beyond one page, but you have less than a half a page of material for the second page, it may be best to condense to one page.
- But don’t go beyond two pages with your resume.
- Do consider a resume design that doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Many jobseekers use Microsoft Word resume templates and wizards. There’s nothing wrong with them, per se, but your resume won’t look distinctive if you use one; it will look like the resume of everyone else who used a Word template. These templates and wizards can also be a bit inflexible to work with.
- Don’t use justified text blocks; they put odd little spaces between words. Instead, make your type flush left.
- Don’t ever lie on your resume.
- Do include as much contact information as possible — any information that would enable an employer to reach you during business hours.