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How to Make a Resume

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ResumeCritiqueThe following free tips will give you some guidance on how to make a resume. But keep in mind that these free tips are just guidelines. Everyone’s background is different so there’s no single formula on how to make a resume that fits all cases. So use these tips to guide your thought process but trust your own common sense on how to handle specific issues when you make your own resume. Keep in mind that you only have 30 seconds to make a good impression with your resume so don’t miss your opportunity.

Here’s how to make a resume that will get you noticed:

  • Before you write the first word of your resume, figure out the position and industry you want to target. Then make an outline of your presentation and fill in the details of your background. Make sure you keep the focus on your target.
  • Avoid the functional resume format. Too many negatives associated with it.
  • The general rule for page length is 1-page for typical entry level college students and 2 pages for everyone else. There can be exceptions to this but the longer the resume, the less likely it will be read. So make your resume concise.
  • Don’t include a picture of yourself unless you’re in an industry that requires a photograph (e.g., TV, theatre, film).
  • Don’t include personal information (marital status, children, date of birth, ethnicity) on a US style resume. Note that this information is generally acceptable when you make an international resume/CV.
  • Make sure to put your name on the first line at the top of your resume in a large font with your contact information immediately below it.
  • Use a summary section “intro” on your resume to give the reader a brief picture of your background. Make this section very short and strong.
  • Include a bulleted list in the experience section of your resume to showcase your accomplishments. Make these statements short and strong. Use quantifiable information and action verbs.
  • Use a font size between 10 and 12 for the body text of your resume. Make sure to choose a font that’s compatible with applicant tracking systems that many employers use.
  • If you have negative information in your background, try to avoid including it on your resume if you can. If you can’t, then make sure you present it in a way that lessens the negative impact. For example, often older workers attempt to disguise their age by omitting their dates of employment and college graduation dates. This approach rarely fools anyone and can actually backfire by making the reader say to himself/herself: “If this candidate is worried about their age, maybe I should be worried about it, too”. I recommend turning negative issues such as age into positives. Always try to figure out how to turn your lemons into lemonade.
  • Watch the tone of your resume. Make sure you don’t write in an arrogant, pompous, or self-serving manner. You’re going to have a tough time selling yourself to a prospective employer if he/she feels you’re talking down to them.
  • Make sure your resume is accurate and be honest with what you say. It’s OK to present yourself in the best light you can but an outright lie can hurt you later on if the truth comes out. It happens all the time.
  • Don’t include salary information or your references on your resume.
  • Once you’ve finalized your resume, I recommend sending in a PDF attachment to ensure formatting integrity. Please take care to read the submission requirements of each job you apply for as they may vary.
  • For a more personalized list of suggestions, please contact me to receive a critique today!