Thursday, January 21, 2010

Ten Tips for Building a Winning Resume

I had dinner with a friend last night who's resume I've done some editing. I was thrilled to hear she has an interview coming up. After we ate we sat down with her resume one more time and also worked on her cover letter. Since it's been a while since we've talked job hunting I thought I'd do ten new tips for resume building based on resumes I've been editing and resumes I've reviewed for positions we've been filling:

1. Proofread, proofread, proofread. Typos in resumes may be overlooked by some managers but if you get someone like me who does a lot of editing for a living your resume may be eliminated for typos.

2. Do not use yellow highlights in your resume. They are visually distracting and frankly somewhat annoying to read. To quote one of my co-workers - "that resume is already making me crazy, I don't even want to meet the person"

3. Stick to two pages but don't use tiny font to make it fit. Stick with at least 11 point font so it's easy to read.

4. Do include a brief summary at the top defining who you are - think of it as your 30 second elevator pitch on paper. Who are you and what is your expertise.

5. Do include both your email address and telephone number on your resume and make sure that whoever is answering that phone is answering it in a courteous and professional manner.
Make it easy for a recruiter to reach you.

6. If you are applying to a company that offers a free email service be sure to have an email address from that service - applying to Google - use a gmail account; applying to Yahoo - use a yahoo account.

7. Don't include every detail of everything you've ever done. Finding the balance between too much and not enough information can be tricky so keep working at it. Don't use 10 words when 2 will suffice.

8. Have at least 3 other people read your resume - make sure they will give you honest feedback on what you are saying. And have them identify typos.

9. When you include the time period you worked somewhere just use the year - months just add unnecessary words and make the page appear more cluttered. 2002- 2007 is just fine.

10. Unless you are still in High School - don't include your High School on your resume.

More tips to come.

1 comment:

KerryC said...

Jerri, do you think that using just a year holds true if your most recent experience is all in coop terms? For example, I did an 8 month coop term that spanned from Sept - May. It seems a bit disingenuous to write it as "2007 - 2008". Or do you think adding "Software Developer Co-op" explains enough?