When searching for a job, one of the first steps to take is to build a quality resume. Next to the interview, the resume is one of the best and most important ways to attract the attention of a potential employer. While the interview appointment is where you can really impress, a quality resume is what gets you in the door for this pivotal meeting.
Building a resume sounds intimidating at first, but it’s easy once you understand the ins and outs of resume writing. Once you have an understanding, you can construct a resume you are proud of.
Watch the Resume Length
Since a resume’s purpose is to introduce you to a potential employer and gives them a glimpse of who you are, you want to make it good and present yourself in the best light. It is vital to pay attention to the length. Ideally, your resume should be about one page long (although, depending on the industry there are some exceptions). You don’t want it to be too long though because potential employers are usually busy and don’t have the time to read through pages of information. You can save the more specific details for your interview. In your resume, highlight key points, but save particulars for when you meet for the first time.
Design, Format and Style
One of the more fundamental strategies to building a great resume is to keep it uniform with a simple look. Avoid fancy fonts, stick with a typeface such as Times New Roman, 12 pt or Arial, 10 pt. It is also important to remember to be consistent with the font you choose. There are many different approaches to building a resume and, depending on your background, you’ll want to choose the style which best features you.
A chronological resume reflects a timeline, listing your most recent work experience first. Although, you might want to consider a functional resume if you’ve been away from the workforce for a gap of time or have been steadily working in a specific field. A benefit to this is dates aren’t required because it focuses on skills rather than specific employment. As a third option, you can also combine the two types of resumes to list any attractive qualities you have.
Overview and Work Experience
The overview is a brief description of your qualifications and skills. This is an area to make yourself stand out by highlighting your accomplishments. It’s a good idea to use descriptive action words such as “developed”, “achieved”, “maintained”, “operated”, or “produced”. When describing yourself, try and use strong adjectives such as “hard-working”, “loyal”, “reliable” and “conscientious”.
Whichever type of resume you decide, it’s important to list experience. For the chronological resume, start with your most current job and list backward, but don’t go back more than 10 or 15 years. For the functional resume, since you’ll be emphasizing your skills, it’s preferable to list them in the order of relevance to the job you are applying for.
Education and Other Interests
Note your education after your work experience, listing your most recent education or training first. This is a good area to list any additional training or volunteer experience you may have had. It’s also a way you can include any certifications, hobbies or interests you possess which would be considered of value to your new job.
Typos and grammar errors are a huge no-no. A document full of mistakes will more than likely be immediately discarded. A good resume also keeps a strong focus—it should gear towards the type of job you are pursuing. When filling in the details, it is also important not to dwell on the past. Highlight your most recent accomplishments, don’t focus your resume on things you did many years ago. It’s outdated and likely not relevant. Always be truthful on the resume. It is always a bad idea to misrepresent yourself and, besides, it will undoubtedly come back to haunt you at a later date. Additionally, always remember to keep the wording professional and avoid mentioning your personal life.
As you complete your resume, don’t forget to include content information and check to ensure it is up-to-date. In the upper portion of your resume where you have this information listed, make sure your full name, address, phone numbers and email address are current.
Building a quality resume is easy once you learn the techniques of how to do it. By following these general guidelines, before you know it you’ll have created a resume you can be proud of.
To get your foot in the door, you must first build a quality resume
Leigh has been writing on the web since 2007. She has a high interest in business, tech, higher education, and Washington D.C. and Northern Virginia travel, but loves to write about a variety of topics. In addition to writing on Writedge, she also runs a blog about the Washington DC Metro Area and a photography blog Photos by Leigh Goessl.