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Advanced Resume Tips

Target it!

Research your market: review five to 10 job descriptions of jobs you’d like. Identify the skills and experience employers in your field are seeking. Notice the language they use to describe what they want. Use this information to highlight the skills and experiences most relevant to your target marketplace. Lead with what your prospective employer most values.

Power it up!

A powerful resume gives a quick, vivid picture of where you want to be going, not just where you have been. Eliminate what is not needed to make your points. Waste no words. Creating a great resume is a process, not a task. Expect it to take time and energy.

  1. Keep your resume short! One page should suffice.
  2. Proper spelling is paramount. A perfectly wonderful resume will be overlooked if it has spelling errors. Keep a dictionary by your side and have your resume read by several friends (who can spell). A spell checker on a word processor is a good way to rough out spelling errors but don't rely on it totally. It can't detect words that have been used improperly (e.g., "if" in place of "in"); good grammar is essential.
  3. Keep your descriptions crisp and clear. A short phrase like: "created a database system to handle an inventory of over 2200 items" is better than long expository statements.
  4. Strive for balance. Visually attractive resumes command more reading time than cluttered pages filled with big blocks of print. White space is welcome as long as it does not consume too much of the page.
  5. Be professional, packaging counts! Good quality bond paper is essential. Colorful resumes are eye-catching but often inappropriate, sticking to white or buff or some other neutral shade is the best approach.
  6. Avoid the appearance of a photocopied resume. Having your resume typeset by a commercial printer is the most professional option, though more costly and difficult to make modifications. Laser or ink jet printed resumes are appropriate. When using a word processor to typeset and reproduce your resume, you must use a letter quality printer (e.g., the laser printer) and not a dot matrix. With a word processor you can experiment with different formats, you can experiment with various type faces, you can store your resume for future revisions. You can also tailor your resume to fit a particular job. As a side note, avoid the temptation of using multiple fonts in your resume -- this usually makes the resume look cluttered and busy.
  7. Typeset or computer runoff -- whatever way you go, just be sure that your resume represents you well; it is an employer's first impression of you.

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