How do you encase the last 3-30 years of your life in one or two pages? Whether you’re writing a resume for the first time, or tailoring an older edition for a new job, this task can be overwhelming.
Don’t worry; use this Resume Breakdown to guide your writing. If you complete these 10 steps, you’ll have a finished resume and be ready to apply to jobs before you finish that pot of coffee:
The header is the most critical part of the resume, because it holds your personal information. I’m always surprised to see how many people make mistakes here!
Include this information in the following order: Full name, location (city /state), cell phone number, email address and portfolio URL (when required). This is not a place to put your personal mantra, three different numbers or your two email addresses. If you are looking for a job in a new city, here are a few other things to consider when creating your resume and searching for jobs.
2- Overview/ Objective Statement
Recruiters do appreciate a 2-3 sentence overview of what you bring to the job; however, it should be short and simple. Types of companies, industries, education, and skills should be included, but never start by saying how many years of experience you have. A recruiter is about to read the resume, they will figure it out.
3- Professional Experience
First, only include the last 10-12 years of your work history. Anything over 12 years is out of date and irrelevant to what you’re doing today. It is also critical that you explain exactly what it is you do on a daily basis, as well as the accomplishments you’ve had at that company over the years. Not just one or the other.
There should be about 8-10 bullets for your current position (a little less for previous roles) and it should be 50/50 on responsibilities and accomplishments. Don’t leave the person guessing what you do – explain each responsibility. For example, don’t just say, “Vendor Management”: explain who the vendor was, how they impacted the job and how you actually managed them.
Only degrees that have been completed, or will be completed soon should be included. If you started a degree, and have 20 credits, but you don’t intend to finish it – don’t include it! In this section, all that should be stated is the school name, location, major/minor and GPA, if over 3.5. It’s not necessary include course work, or school activities.
Also, don’t include the graduation date if you graduated before 1985. The hard truth? Companies have a mental block for people who have graduated before 1985, and you don’t want to date yourself out of the job.
This is a critical part of the resume, and surprisingly, half of all people leave it off. In today’s technical age, you must include your computer abilities. Companies want to know every piece of software that you know how to use, including the basics like Microsoft office. Don’t assume it’s implied.
Only include this section if you are actively involved in the association. If it’s something you did 10 years ago, it’s not relevant
7- Spell and Grammar Check
Most MS Word programs do this for you, so pay attention to the green and red squiggly lines!
Make sure your margins are set properly. Sometimes people, in an attempt at formatting, create huge margins on the sides, top and bottom. You really only need about one-half of an inch on all sides.
9- Font Format and Size
Resumes should be Times New Roman or Arial. These are the most common fonts, and all Human Resources tracking systems recognize them. Also, fonts should be size 10 or 12 only. No smaller, no larger.
10- PDF or .doc?
Always save your resume in .doc format when using it to apply online. The HR applicant tracking systems accept word .doc formatted files the best. When using a PDF or word perfect file, the systems often jumble the resumes and make them unreadable.
There you have it! 10 steps to creating your resume and starting your job search. Obviously, there are always more details to add , but this gives you a great place to start. And remember, a Profiles recruiter is always available to give you a free resume review and career consultation.
Author Name – Elissa Barnes
Title – Senior Account Manager
Location – Washington, DC
Twitter – @EBProfiles
Byline – In 2005, Elissa joined Profiles, the premier and number one staffing firm in the mid-Atlantic for the Communications industry, as an Account Manager. Today she manages over 30 accounts and hundreds of the mid-Atlantic’s top talent. Specializing in marketing, design and web talent, Elissa truly thrives in today’s competitive talent market.
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