Your résumé is often the first opportunity an employer has to meet you, and it helps an employer to decide whether to interview you. It should clearly state your skills and experiences, be concise, easy to read and easy to scan.
Some general guidelines include:
- Keep the length to one page for 4-year degrees, two pages for advanced degrees or extensive experience.
- Name your résumé file so it’s easily identifiable to an employer if it’s e-mailed: FirstName_LastName.doc
- Use heavy-quality résumé paper in white or off-white for printed copies.
Edit ruthlessly. Typos suggest a lack of attention to detail.
To make your résumé visually appealing:
- Use an easily readable font, like 12-point Arial. Avoid unusual typefaces. Limit the use of italics and underlines.
- Avoid text boxes, graphics, and tables because they can make it difficult for an employer to load your résumé into their system.
- Allow some white space, including using ½” margins.
Organizing Your résumé
A common résumé format that works well includes:
- Name and Contact Info
- Career Objective
- Activities, Honors and Awards
Name and Contact Info
This goes at the top and it should include:
- First and last name. Use a font that’s bold and slightly larger than the font for the rest of the document. Include your middle name only if people usually use it when addressing you.
- E-mail address. Make sure it’s straightforward and sounds professional.
- Address. This should be your current address. If you’re going to be moving, list both a current and a permanent address.
- Telephone number. Your voicemail message should state your name and say that you’ll return calls as soon as you can.
This is a statement about what kind of job you’re seeking. Though it isn’t required, it helps tailor your résumé to a specific job and company, and shows the employer your focus and thoughtfulness about the position.
I am seeking a position as ain a growing, environmentally-conscious company, where the contribution of my leadership, creativity and passion for project management will enrich the experiences of employees and customers alike.
- College/University name, city, state. You don’t need to include your high school once you’re a junior or senior in college.
- Degree/diploma earned.
- Graduation date or expected graduation date. Include month and year.
Minor (if applicable).
- GPA and GPA scale: Cumulative and/or Major GPA.
As you create this section, consider the skills you’ve used in the jobs, organizations, clubs and group projects you’ve been involved with. Employers are looking for:
- Motivation and passion
- Good judgment
- Analytical skills
- Organizationall skills
- Ability to work well on a team
List your jobs and experiences that demonstrate these traits. For each job, include the job title, company name, location and dates employed. Your most recent experiences should be first. Include paid and unpaid jobs that most pertain to your objective.
For each job:
- List achievements that closely fit the needs of the position you’re seeking.
- Use action words, such as “led,” “directed,” “created,” “managed” and “consulted.”
- Include accomplishments that are specific and measurable-facts and figures can help.
Organized dance marathon that raised $50,000 for Children’s Hospital.
Directed team of 20 in the construction of 10 homes in Ecuador.
Activities, Honors and Awards
- Help raise your image with an employer by listing some of your extracurricular activities. Include:
- The title of award, honor or activity
- The date(s)
- Your responsibilities (optional)
The Grand Finale
Give your résumé a detailed review:
- Read your résumé aloud to catch mistakes and mechanical problems.
- Recruit a few detail-oriented friends to check your résumé for mistakes.
- Ask yourself and your readers if your résumé supports your objective.
- Have someone who’s good at being objective – and brutally honest – to review your résumé and ask them, “Would you hire this person?” Ask them if they see any holes or problems in the résumé.