Are you looking for employment? Getting your foot in the door with a potential employer can be a long and difficult process. The first step in achieving this is to have an outstanding resume. If your resume is professional, concise and interesting, the employer is much more likely to call you in for an interview. You should consider the resume as a ‘first impression’ with the potential employer. While following the common formatting principles listed below, keep in mind that the resume should show you to be employable and personable.
General Formatting Instructions
To make your resume look as professional as possible, follow these general formatting guidelines:
• Black ink
• Font size for headings can 14 or 16; the rest of the text should be 11 or 12 font
• Recommended font style: Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri
• One-inch margins for the left, right, top and bottom of the resume
• 1.5 or 2 point line spacing
• Center ‘personal information’ at the top of page; all other text should be aligned to the left of the page
• Utilize bullet points to communicate information
• Print on 24 lb., ivory or cream-colored paper
• Use only side of the paper
• Be sure there are no marks or smudges on the resume
The resume should begin with the following information (centered) at the top of the resume:
• Your name (in bold-face print)
• Full address
• Phone numbers (home and cell numbers – including a work number is optional)
• Your email address (be sure the email address is not formatted to look like a hyperlink)
Include an Objective or Summary
In this section, you can summarize why you are the best candidate for the job you are applying for, by stating the different qualifications you possess that are of value to the company. If you are unsure of the exact responsibilities of the position or if you have limited education or career experience, you can simply state your career objective. This should be a strong one or two sentence statement about how hiring you would be an advantage to the company where you are applying.
This section is very important, since this often the first place a recruiter will look at when scanning through a pile of resumes. It needs to catch his or her attention, so that when the recruiter sees it, he or she will want to read the rest of the resume. Wherever possible, use action words when writing your objective or summary, such as: directed, prepared, developed, implemented, monitored, coordinated, etc.
Provide Educational Background
The next section of the resume should list all of your academic achievements in chronological order, beginning with the most recent. List each university along with its address and the area of study or degree for each academic achievement. Be sure to include all trade schools, college degrees, and apprenticeships in this section. If you maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.5 or higher, this information should be listed as well.
Explain Your Work Experience
Your work experience should also be listed in chronological order, with your present or most recent position first. List the name of each company you have worked for, the city where it is located, your title, your job responsibilities and the dates of employment. If you have an extensive work background, consider listing only the last four or five positions held to save space.
List Those You Have Helped
At the bottom of your resume, you should list any volunteer work you have done. Following the same format in the last two sections, list each organization, address, and the dates of service, with the most recent first.
Things that Should NOT be Included in the Resume
Some things should be avoided when completing your resume are:
• Any negative comments concerning why you left a previous employer or history gaps
• Punctuation mistakes
• Spelling errors
• Extra or missing words
• Hobbies (the employer does not care what you like, only if you can do the job)
• References (you can submit those if the recruiter shows additional interest)
• Your age, gender, religion, health or martial status or salary requirements
• Embellishments – do not lie about your work experience or education
Submit a Cover Letter
You will also want to submit a cover letter along with your resume. This document should include the following information:
• Personal information (see format requirements listed above) in the top center of the page
• Company information (employer title, company address, phone number)
• A brief explanation of who you are and where you are in your career
• Condensed summary of qualifications for the position in which you are applying
• A call to action (thank the recruiter for his or her time, ask them to contact you)
Once you have completed and submitted your cover letter and resume, you will be ready for your interview, where you can offer you references at this time. Good Luck!