Friday, May 10, 2013

How To Make A Good Resume...

A résumé is a self-advertisement that, when done properly, shows how your skills, experience, and achievements match the requirements of the job you want. This guide provides three free samples on which you can base your résumé. It will also walk you through setting up and laying out the content to highlight your skills and grab the reader’s attention.

Sample resume
Here are some well formatted sample résumés you can copy. For information on how to choose a layout and to write your own résumé, read the topics below.

Set Up The Resume

Format the page. Regardless of which résumé style you choose, it should be formatted in a specific way. Proper formatting draws attention to your accomplishment rather than to the font. By following the guidelines below, you’ll polish your résumé so that it makes a strong first impression. Guidelines to follow when formatting your résumé:
  • Set your margins to 1” all around.
  • Use a standard font such as Arial or Calibri. Times New Roman is acceptable but a little hard on the eyes; every second you can get a potential employer to look at your résumé counts, so consider using a sans serif (i.e. a font with no projecting features at the end of strokes).
  • Use font size 16 for your name, 14 for section headings, and 12 for all other text.
  • Use bold font for your name and section headings.
  • Use plenty of white space (blank lines). Proper use of white space will make your résumé easy to scan quickly and to read. Unless applying for a job where unique formatting is thematically appropriate, always use white paper and black font.

Create your heading. It should include your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Your name should be in 16-point bold type, and the rest of the heading in regular 12-point font. You may either center the information, or justify it to the left or right of the page.

Choose a layout. How you lay out the information depends on the job you want. Here are three different types. More information on each type is available in order further down the page.
Chronological résumé. The focus in this format is on experience. A chronological résumé is best for those who have mostly worked in the same field and can show steady progress up the ladder, each job being a step-up from the last. For example, someone who has worked as a receptionist, then as a legal secretary, and now as a paralegal may want to use a chronological résumé.

Functional résumé. The focus of this type of résumé is skills and experience, not job history. A functional résumé is best for those who cannot show a steady career progression. This type of résumé is designed to highlight specific skills rather than job titles. For example, a functional résumé is best for people who have changed jobs frequently, or who have gaps in work history. A mother who took time off to raise a family would likely benefit from a functional résumé. A photographer who has won awards for photographs, but who has only had one job as a photographer, would also benefit from the format of a functional résumé.

Combination résumé. A combination résumé is best for those who have specific skills and wish to highlight how they were acquired. If you’ve developed a special skill set from a variety of activities, and an evolving work history where you acquired them, a combination résumé is likely the best style for you.

Chronological Résumé
List your employment history. Your jobs should be listed in order with the most recent one first.
Include the name of the company, the city in which the company is located, your title, your duties and responsibilities, and dates of employment for each employer.
Under each job description include a bold heading, which reads “major accomplishment” or “achievements”, and list two or three achievements or a major accomplishment for that position. For example, you could list ways you saved the company money, made the office run more efficiently, or brought in new clients or customers. For example, you could include information on how you “implemented a new filing system that saved $1.50 per client in supply and labor costs.”

Provide information on your education.
  • If you attended more than one college, university, or training program, list the most recent one first.
  • For each institution, include the name, city and state, and the degree or certificate you received.
  • If you had a cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of 3.5 or better, list it as well.
  • If you did not attend college or trade school, do not include your high school education; including high school information on your résumé doesn’t look professional.

Add additional sections as needed. Because a résumé is unique to each person, you may want to add additional sections in order to highlight something that makes you stand out as the right candidate for the particular job. For example:
  • If you have job specific skills, list them in a section titled ‘Special Skills.’
  • If you are bi-lingual and the job favors those who speak more than one language, list the languages in which you are fluent under “Other Languages”.
  • If being computer literate is important to perform the job well, create a ‘Computer Skills’ section and list all of the programs, applications, and programming languages you know how to use.

Functional Résumé
Determine whether to list your ‘Education’ or ‘Skills, Awards, and Achievements’ first. Choose whichever best sells you as the best candidate for the job.
  • If you have a bachelor or graduate degree, you likely want to put your education first.
  • If you have job specific skills, or a large number of awards, you may want to list those first.
  • For example, if you don’t have any paid job experience but you just graduated from college, listing your education first will highlight your most impressive accomplishment first.
  • If, on the other hand, you did have not completed your undergraduate studies yet but you have worked at 2 volunteer jobs and 2 internships, listing those accomplishments first will showcase how industrious you are.

Provide details of your education. Regardless of whether you list your education first or second, it’s important to give recruiters details of what you studied.
  • If you attended more than one college, university, or training program, list them with the most recent one first.
  • For each institution, include the name, city and state, and the degree or certificate you received.
  • If you had a cumulative grade point average (“GPA”) of 3.5 or better, list it as well.
  • If you did not attend college or trade school, do not include your high school education; including high school information on your résumé doesn’t look professional.

Decide how to present your skills, awards, and achievements. You may divide these into three individual sections in your functional résumé, or you can consolidate the information into one section.
Label each section something like “Special Skills,” “Awards & Achievements,” or “Major Achievements.”
This section, or these sections, could be presented as a list of the skills you have that are related to the particular job, a bullet point list of awards, a chronological description of your achievements, or some combination of the three.

List your employment history. Since this isn’t the strongest part of your résumé, you’ll want to list it at the end so that the recruiter reads through your more impressive accomplishments first.
You should include sub-headings for the type of experience each job provided you with, such as “Management Experience,” “Legal Experience,” or “Financial Experience.”
For each job, be sure to include the name of the company, the city in which the company is located, your title, your duties and responsibilities, and the dates of employment for each employer.
Optionally, under each job description you can include a bold heading, which reads “Major Accomplishment” or “Achievements,” and list two or three achievements or a major accomplishment for that position.
You may want to outline how you took the initiative to make the office run more efficiently by, “establishing office procedures to improve workflow and reduce paper costs.”

Combination Résumé
Decide in what combination you will list your education, work history, and other achievements. Remember, your résumé is an advertisement for you, so your best qualities should be listed first. For example, if you have a graduate degree, you may want to list your education first, or if you have won a prominent award in your field, you may chose to list your skills, awards, and achievements first. On the other hand, if your most recent role is an impressive achievement, make sure you start with that.

List your employment history. This can be done in one of two ways:
If your work history includes positions in more than one field, you should list your jobs under functional sub-headings, which categorize the skills you used at each particular one (e.g., “Financial Experience,” “Customer Service Experience,” “Research Experience,” etc.). When listing your employment history in this manner, each sub-heading should contain a listing of the positions you’ve held that relate to those functional areas. The listing should include the name and location of the employer, a description of your duties and responsibilities, the dates you were employed, and any accomplishments or achievements at that particular job.

If you can demonstrate that your evolving work history highlights the key skills you want to promote, you may want to list your work history in reverse chronological order, without including any sub-headings. Instead of the subheadings, you could strategically select the way you word your descriptions of your roles and responsibilities to highlight how you honed those skills.

Provide information about your education. The details you include about your education will be the same as the details you’d include in other résumé styles; the difference is in where you present the information on the résumé. For each college, university, or trade school you have attended, list the name and location of the institution, the degree or certificate you received, and the years you attended. If your grade point average (“GPA”) was 3.5 or higher, you may want to list it as well.

Provide information on your skills, awards, and achievements. This can be blocked into one section, or they can be distributed within the sub-headings of your résumé that highlight specific skills.

Make Your Content Shine
Create titles that will catch the employer’s eye. Take a look at your job titles. Are they interesting and descriptive? Try punching them up a little. Take your time with this; your résumé is going to be scanned quickly by someone in 30 seconds or less and you need to catch their attention fast. Instead of saying you were a cashier, say you were a customer service professional, or rather than saying that you’re a secretary, say you are an administrative assistant. Do not use a job title that is misleading, however. Simply think about how well the job title describes the work, and how interesting the title is. For example, “Manager” does not describe who or what a person manages. “Sales Staff Manager” or “Executive Manager” may be more descriptive and desirable job titles on a résumé. Visit the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Occupational Outlook Handbook for an alphabetical listing of job titles to get ideas on how to make your job titles more descriptive.

Use keywords strategically. Because many employers now scan résumés with special software programs to determine the presence of certain keywords as a way of filtering them before a select few get passed along to an actual human being, you want to be sure that your résumé contains all of the proper keywords for your industry, and the particular job for which you are applying. Look at what words the employer uses in the advertisement. If an employer lists research as a required skill, be sure to include the word ‘research’ or ‘researched’ in at least one job description or skill set you include on your résumé. Avoid using every keyword mentioned in the job posting, however, or your resume will look suspicious.

Use action verbs to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. This will highlight your skills and your ability to do the job for which you are applying. Choose verbs that describe your responsibilities and then make sure to begin the descriptions of your duties with these verbs. For example, if you were a receptionist, you may want to use verbs such as scheduled, assisted, and provided. You can do this by saying you ‘scheduled appointments’ ‘assisted clients’ and ‘provided administrative support.’

Spell check and proofread your résumé. This step cannot be overemphasized. Proofread your résumé several times. Have someone else proofread it. Then, have another person further removed from you read it. Spelling and grammar errors in a résumé will get it discarded regardless of your skills and experience. Some things to look for when proofreading are:
  • Spelling mistakes.
  • Grammatical errors.
  • Incorrect contact information.
  • Typos.
  • Misuse of apostrophes, plurals, and possessives.

  • Sell yourself. Don’t just tell the potential employer that you ‘answered phones’ at a previous job. Instead, tell them you ‘managed a five line telephone system in a timely and courteous manner.’
  • Get creative. This does not mean you should use colored fonts or spray perfume on your résumé before placing it in the mail, but some bulleted lists, bold font, capital letters, and thoughtful organization of information can go a long way in making you stand out from other applicants. Remember, employers will view a résumé for an average of 7 seconds before deciding to actually read it, or pitch it in the trash. You need to draw the employer’s attention to the skills and achievements that make you the best choice in that small window of time.
  • Purchase good quality, white paper and matching envelopes if you decide to send your résumé out in the mail. Make sure to print the mailing address and return address on your envelopes; this is especially important when applying for a job such as a secretary, administrative assistant, or paralegal, where you will be expected to know how to prepare and print envelopes for mailing.
  • Tailor your résumé for each job. Analyzing the advertisement for the job you’re applying for will help you understand what the employer is looking for. If a job specifies that potential employees should have 3 to 5 years experience, be sure that the version of the résumé you send to that employer clearly reflects the fact that you meet their desired qualifications. For example, you may want to include the phrase “15 years of experience” in a prominent position. Research the company to whom you are applying. Find out what would impress them most so that you can tailor your résumé to them.
  • Make your resume realistic and not the "too-good-to-be-true" type of bragging

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