The resume is one of the most important documents you’ll write. It’s your admission ticket to a job interview. People have different ideas on what makes a great resume, but here are some basic tips that everyone follows. Use these strategies to write a resume. Meet with a CPCC career counselor to receive feedback on ways to market your skills and qualifications.
1. Check for typos. Don’t rely on spell check. Hint: Read the resume backwards (bottom to top, end of lines to the beginning). You’ll focus on individual words and more easily catch mistakes.
2. Use a consistent, professional font style. Top choices include Arial, Calibri, Times New Roman and Verdana. It should be easy on the eyes and look professional, not fancy or flashy.
3. Keep the font sizes consistent. Whatever font size you use for one category title should be used for all. Keep font sizes consistent for each entry. Don’t choose a size smaller than 11 point font.
4. List important items on the left side of the page. Employers’ eyes zero in on the left side of the page when they glance at a resume. Job titles, degree and skills should appear on the left. Entries such as dates of employment, locations for past employers and graduation date can appear further to the right side of the page.
5. Use bullet points. Avoid long paragraph descriptions. Bullet points help the employer quickly glance through the resume.
6. Nix the “I” statements. Complete sentences aren’t necessary; start with action verbs. Instead of “I was responsible for increasing floor sales by 50%,” say “Increased floor sales by 50%.”
7. Keep it to one page. Employers are short on time so one page resumes work best. A two page resume might be okay if you have extensive relevant experience. Resumes exceeding two pages won’t catch an employer’s eye.
8. Don’t get wordy. Focus on relevant information rather than telling your entire employment history. Too many words is a visual turnoff that causes employers to move to the next applicant.
9. Focus on the past 10 years. Unless the jobs are particularly relevant, only list those from the past 10 years. If you’ve worked for one company for longer than ten years, list the job but not dates of employment.
10. Target the resume to the job/industry. Nothing turns an employer off more than receiving a resume that’s clearly been sent to multiple job openings in different industries. Quickly updating your objective or career summary easily targets the resume to a specific job or company.
11. Use bold and capital letters wisely. Bold font and ALL CAPS help break up the presentation. Remember to be consistent: If you bold one job title, bold all of them. If the EDUCATION category title is capitalized, do the same with the other category titles.
12. Include an appropriate email address. Use your student email address or set up a job search email account that uses a combination of your name as the address. Fun addresses (email@example.com) send the wrong message about your professionalism.
13. List contact information at the top of the page. Include your name, mailing address, phone number and email address. Put your name in slightly larger bold font