10 Tips For Writing Your Resume“Who gets the job is not always the one who can do the job best, but who knows best how to get the job!”
â€‹ State University of New York Oneonta Career Development Center
As an employer, I knew the importance of a resume. On numerous occasions, I looked at a resume quickly, saw mistakes or sloppiness, and never looked at that resume again. Is that fair? Probably not because employers should be looking for someone who will be reliable and productive 40 hours per week for at least a few years and a bad resume (or a bad interview) doesn’t mean a prospective employee can’t be reliable and productive.
But life isn’t fair. Employers are busy. While writing this article, in fact, I learned that the average employer spends about 30 seconds looking at a resume, according to the career development offices of Temple(Pa.) University and the Collegeof William & Mary (Va.). Thus, someone who writes a good resume might have more of an edge in “who knows best how to get the job!” than I thought.
Research Network Insider’s tips for writing a resume include:
1. BE CONCISE: A one-page resume is preferable -- and not just because employers only spend an average of 30 seconds looking at a resume. Longtime executives often have only one-page resumes so your accomplishments and experiences must be extremely impressive to justify a two-page resume. If they’re not, you risk looking very arrogant.
2. SPEND ON APPEARANCE: Your resume should be on high-quality paper and look like an original copy from a laser printer rather than a Xeroxed copy. Using colored paper rather than white paper might make your resume more noticeable. William & Mary recommends cream-colored paper.
3. WRITE A SPECIFIC OBJECTIVE: List your objective below your name and contact information and above your occupational and educational experiences. It should match the job you’re applying for. Keep copies of the first resume you wrote in your computer and change the objective on the copies you send to employers whose openings don’t match the objective on your original resume.
4. PREPARE DIFFERENT RESUMES: The reasoning for this tip is the same as the reasoning for Tip No. 3. One resume might emphasize your research skills and include academic and volunteer projects, while another resume might emphasize your on-the-job accomplishments. The chronology of your past jobs should be the same, but what you write about those jobs could be different.
5. USE ACTION VERBS: This is THE most important advice Research Network Insider can give. Don’t focus on job titles and promotions. Employers want to know what your skills are -- what you can do for THEM. Thus, writing that you supervised 10 people on a ‘research project’ is not nearly as impressive as writing about the project’s specific accomplishments.
6. THINK ABOUT ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Think outside the box. Think about what you did in college and in your community and charitable activities and whether that relates to jobs you are applying for. There are innumerable action verbs that can describe your accomplishments. The William & Mary website lists dozens of action verbs that you can use.
7. CONSIDER LISTING SKILLS: Your skills should be emphasized in each chronological entry, whether it be occupational or academic, but having a separate Skills section could also be beneficial. Note that the William & Mary website has action verbs for leadership, communication, research, technical, teaching, and organizational skills.
8. DON’T BE NEGATIVE: Ever. There is no reason to explain that you left Job X because your employer was a jerk. Your next prospective employer might not care and might think negatively of you for bringing up the topic.
9. EDIT: And then edit again. And again. And again. Editing as much as possible limits your mistakes and makes you think more about making changes that will improve your resume.
10. KEEP REFERENCES SEPARATE: Your resume’s last line should be in a different font and say something like “I have four references who can be contacted about my skills.” Write your references with their contact information on a separate piece of paper and provide that paper only if asked. Make sure three or four people are available to be your references and are prepared to discuss your skills.
Sources: http://www.oneonta.edu/development/cdc/pages/Resumes/guide.asp; http://www.temple.edu/provost/careercenter/students/resume-and-cover-letter.html; http://www.wm.edu/offices/career/documents/educationdocs/ResumeGuide.pdf; http://researchnetwork.com/