A Few Resume Tips
A friend of mine asked me to take a look at their resume for them. This friend has been working for himself for over a decade, but has now decided to look for some different opportunities. The tips I was going to give him seem appropriate for a wider audience. Your resume is one of the building blocks of your career and you will want to be careful in its construction. Here are some things that you want to keep an eye on when putting together a resume. These are true whether you have been self-employed for a decade, stuck on unemployment for a year, or a week out of grad school.
A good tip is to keep your resume to a length of one to two pages. While there are some exceptions, most Recruiters and Human Resources reps do not have enough time to read through resumes longer than this. A good rule is if you have less than 2 years of experience, a one page resume is fine. If you have more than 2 years of experience, add a second page if you feel it is appropriate. Remember to think of your resume as a summary of your work experience. It is not intended to highlight everything, just a few key responsibilities from each job.
Another tip is to never leave gaps of more than a few months unexplained on your resume. If you have a gap, you should consider finding a way to address it. Ideas include a long-term volunteer position if you have one, classes you may have taken towards a certificate or degree, or simply laying out your responsibilities while you were unemployed. Another option is to use a different resume format. While the most common resume format is one that is in chronological order, you can also choose to have a functional resume that highlights skills and achievements.
The typical resume should not include anything from 10 or 15 years ago. Now keep in mind, this is a gross generalization. If you had an internship working for the President at the White House, that is impressive enough that you would want to put it on your resume. However, most of us have high school jobs and some college jobs that have no place on a resume. I will use myself as an example. I spent a summer stocking shelves at a retail store when I was in high school. I spent also some time delivering newspapers as a kid. For the most part I did a good job at both and was complimented by my managers. However, I do not put that on my resume. It is up to you to determine whether it is appropriate to be on there, but you may be wasting the HR person’s time by putting a high school job on your resume.
Having an education section of your resume is a great idea. This is a way to put all of your formal training in one place for a recruiter to see. If you only have a high school diploma or GED, that is okay. Go ahead and add that to your resume. If you have any college degree, it is okay to drop your high school from your resume. If your education is non-traditional, such as a military academy or an online certificate, try your best to formalize and summarize it.
Consistency is a key here. You want to ensure that if you bullet one part of your resume, you bullet it all. I might suggest having two different versions of the same resume; one that is properly bulleted, lined and paginated that can be used for printing, and one that is completely free of formatting that can be easily read by resume screening software. If you are unclear of where to start with your resume formatting, a Google search of the term “Resume Template” can find you a number of good examples to start with.
Hopefully these tips are helpful for everyone out there. If you have any tips of your own, please add a comment. If you just want to talk about your job search experience, please feel free to add that too. If you want to talk about the kinds of resumes that have come across your own desk, please tell us about it.
And remember all of you Human Resources professionals: Be Human... Be a Resource... Be a Resource for Humans.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this post are by the author Trevor Stasik, and do not necessarily reflect the views of any employer or any other organization. Please note, this information is based on my understanding and is only to be used for informational and educational purposes. Do not take what I am writing as advice. Seek your own legal counsel and/or see a tax accountant before making business or personal decisions. The author of this post makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. The owner will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. The owner will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.