1. Don’t be a Trendsetter
As tempting as it might be to stretch your creative muscle, stick to standard design norms. Use 11 or 12 point font, Arial or Times. Make use of bullet points to break up long paragraphs. Avoid pictures or graphics.
2. Presentation Matters
You wouldn’t wear wrinkled clothes to an interview and you shouldn’t bring a rumpled, folded resume either. Definitely bring a copy but make sure it’s presentable. Print it out on sturdy, white paper on a laser printer.
3. Be Specific
We can’t emphasize this enough. If you’re a customer service manager claiming you increased worker efficiency, include a specific example with numbers (eg. increased e-mail response time by 24 hours). When listing positions held, be descriptive. For instance, instead of “Customer Service” use “Customer Relations and Quality Assurance Manager.”
4. Skills vs. Benefits
In addition to claiming a skill such as “excellent writing skills,” stress how it will benefit your future employer through “polished correspondence” or “improved communications with staff.” If possible, tie the skill to achievements in previous positions (eg. launched widely-circulated internal newsletter). Again, be specific.
5. Accentuate the Positive
Avoid speaking negatively about previous employers. There might be things you didn’t like about past jobs and that’s OK but stick to the positives on your resume and during interviews. It’s indicative of a good attitude which goes a long way.
6. Be Truthful
Resist the temptation to embellish your work history or inflate your skill set. It’s not worth the risk to your credibility. If you don’t have any formal work experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don’t have a college degree yet, state the title and estimated date for completion.
7. Make Sure it’s Relevant
It’s not necessary to list jobs you held more than 15 years ago. Religion, political leanings and personal information such as age or sexual preference have no place in a resume. Do not include outside interests or hobbies.
8. Update Regularly
Plan to revisit your resume at regular intervals. Not only does it give you a chance to add new information such as training programs and awards but encourages a process of continuous improvement.
9. Check Your Work
Proofread your resume several times and always get a second opinion; have a trusted colleague review your resume before submitting anywhere.
10. Get Help
Take advantage of the expertise of those who have gone before you. LiveCareer’s online Resume Builder is like having a coach right by your side through the entire resume writing process. There’s no need to go it alone.