Employers spend between 6 seconds and one minute looking at each resume during their initial screening of the hundreds that might be received for a single position. Therefore, a resume that is clear, concise and conveys accomplishments is more likely to end up on a manager’s short list.
Preparing a resume can seem like a daunting task. Where do you start? Which format is appropriate?
A strong resume needs a solid foundation, and no amount of trickery can mask poor organization. Start with these basics.
Contact information: List your contact information at the top of the resume. Include your full name, mailing address, phone number and e-mail address. If you wish to add a barcode or cite a personal website, be sure that site is strictly business-related.
Objective: This section gives recruiters an immediate sense of who you are and what you’re looking for, without forcing them to wade through the entire resume. If you decide to include an objective, stress what you’ll add to the company, not what you’re looking to take away.
Experience: List your experience chronologically, with your most recent job first. If your latest experience wasn’t the most impressive, arrange your list by importance but be sure to advise you will provide a chronological list at your interview (and remember to do so). Include the company name, location, your title and dates of employment. Also, give a brief description of your accomplishments.
Skills/interests: Today’s workers are more tech-savvy than ever, so make sure you mention your technical and computer skills. List programming languages, software programs and operating systems you’ve used as well as certifications you have. Don’t forget “soft skills” like foreign languages and public speaking.
Education: List your most recent education first and work backward. State your degree, major, minor, dates of attendance and the school’s name and location.
- Be concise. Stick to two pages if possible. Make sure every word is meaningful.
- Choose fonts that are easy-to-read, clean and consistent. Don’t use non-traditional or overly creative fonts.
- Be sure to showcase your software skills. If you’re able to, use features of your software such as columns and tables; just keep it clean, consistent and professional. A white background is generally preferred.
- Read, edit and re-read your resume to make sure it’s well-written, clear and typo-free. Do it again. Then, ask your friends and family to do the same.
With some self-evaluation, careful organization and savvy choice of words, your resume will rise to the top of the pile on any recruiter’s desktop!