Resume Preparation Do's and Don'ts for Job-Seekers Cambridge MA
Resume Preparation Do's and Don'ts for Job-Seekers
by Katharine Hansen, Ph.D.
Here are the keys to successfully preparing and writing a resume. Follow these simple rules and you should achieve success in this important phase of job-hunting.
- Do consider a bulleted style to make your resume as reader-friendly as possible.
- Don't get overwrought about the old "one-page resume rule." It's good to keep your resume to one page, if possible, but if you have a lot of experience, two pages may be more appropriate. If your resume spills beyond one page, but you have less than a half a page of material for the second page, it may be best to condense to one page.
- But don't go beyond two pages with your resume.
- Do consider a resume design that doesn't look like everyone else's. Many jobseekers use Microsoft Word resume templates and wizards. There's nothing wrong with them, per se, but your resume won't look distinctive if you use one; it will look like the resume of everyone else who used a Word template. These templates and wizards can also be a bit inflexible to work with.
- Don't use justified text blocks; they put odd little spaces between words. Instead, make your type flush left.
- Don't ever lie on your resume.
- Do include as much contact information as possible -- any information that would enable an employer to reach you during business hours.
- Do give your resume as sharp a focus as possible. Given that employers screen resumes for between 2.5 and 20 seconds, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you're good at. One way to sharpen your focus is through an objective statement. The objective statement can be very simple and straightforward; it can be simply the title of the position you're applying for, which can be adjusted for every job you apply for. Or you can embellish the Objective statement a bit with language telling how you'll benefit the employer. Something like: "Objective: To contribute strong ____________ skills and experience to your firm in a _____________ capacity."
In this day of being able to manage our own computer files, you could have several versions of your resume that are exactly the same except for the objective. A specific objective is always better than a vague or general one. See our article Should You Use a Career Objective on Your Resume?
- Do consider a section such as "Summary of Qualifications," or "Profile," which can also help sharpen your focus. Here's an example of such a section .
- Don't discount the possibility of a functional format for your resume. This format can be strategic for career changers, students and others who lack experience, those with gaps in their employment, as well as those re-entering the workforce. A functional resume is organized around functional skills clusters. After listing three to four skills clusters and showing how you've demonstrated those skills, you provide a bare-bones work history at the bottom. Read more about functional formats and see samples in...
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