Resume Writing Tips
Whenever you are writing your resume, you want to be sure to have five important points accounted for. 1) Include relevant information, 2) Always have up-to-date information, 3) Stay consistent with your formatting, 4) Never put references right on your resume and, 5) Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for.
1) Start with recounting your work and volunteer experience. You want to be sure to have bullet points outlining what skills you learned from the job and what responsibilities you had at the job/volunteer activity. On your master copy, keep the skills you learned fairly general, and you can tailor the skills to the particular job you are applying to on a subsequent copy (see number 5). When you have nailed down your past experience in terms of volunteering and working, create a section about your education, going back as far as you think is relevant (putting in a line in about which daycare you went to is going back too far). Include a skills and interests section, trying to cover skills that are useful in most jobs. These will be adapted for each of the jobs you apply for. Your interests can include anything that you feel is worthwhile to put down, often choosing something that you want to talk more about is a good idea as employers may use this to see how you spend your time outside of work.
2) Always have up-to-date information. This means that the name and address, telephone number and email that you have as the very first piece of information on your resume will be up-to-date, not your address from three years ago. You want to be sure that an employer will have no trouble reaching you. Also, try to avoid having unprofessional email addresses (like firstname.lastname@example.org). You want to project an image of responsibility and trustworthiness, so you want to avoid having an unprofessional email address. Simply create a new account if you need to.
3) Staying consistent with your formatting is especially important for facilitating information gathering by the employer. If they are so distracted by the fancy bullet points you have, or the changing styles of font that you added for extra style, they won’t be able to see how you are the right candidate for the job. You want to be sure to pick a style and stick to it. Choosing a generic style is also recommended to avoid any distractions from your suitability for the job. This means regular margins, size 12 font, regular bullet points and the same style of indentation the whole way through the resume. Also, be sure to have a consistent way of documenting the year and the location of your work or volunteer experience. Your goal is to create an easy to read resume where the employer can get the information they want quickly.
4) Never put references right on your resume. This is especially important because you don’t want to clutter up your resume or have too much information. Hopefully the employer will want to contact your references, but when you are handing in a resume you are not quite there yet. Avoid having that information right on your resume. You can put a line like “references available upon request”, as a way of indicating that you do have references (which you should get now if you don’t have any already).
5) Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for. This is the most important thing that you can do to secure yourself a job. In the same line of reasoning as keeping your resume consistent, you want to be sure that the employer can read your resume quickly and easily, so they are able to see that you are the right candidate for the job right away. Avoid having one generic copy of your resume or handing out your master copy. Read the job posting and identify what it is that the employer is looking for. Highlight any skills or work experience that they require, any certifications or education, and create a section at the top of your resume outlining exactly how you fit their requirements. You can title this section “Qualifications” or “Professional Qualifications” . This section comes first before listing off your work and volunteer experience, skills and even education.