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Resume Writing Tip

  • Be Neat and Error Free:
    Catch all typo's and grammar errors. Don't rely on the spelling and grammar check in MS Word! Have as many people as possible proofread your resume. The smallest error could result in having your resume put by the wayside.
  • Presentation, Presentation, Presentation:
    Print resume: Make sure to use quality paper. Your envelope and any accompanying materials should match exactly or be complimentary to the paper used for your resume. Your layout should "flow" and be pleasing to the eye. Don't use microscopic text. 12 point (maybe 11 point, depending on the font) should be the smallest point size.
  • Electronic resume:
    Make sure that it displays correctly. Double check all links. Make sure it displays the same in Netscape and Internet Explorer.
  • "What can this employee do for me?" "What can I do for this employer?":
    It helps to always keep these two questions in the back of your mind when organizing your resume. This especially applies to writing your cover letters!
  • Make a good first glance impression:
    Most employers spend less than 30 seconds scanning each resume. Focus on accomplishments/career achievements rather than education. (This can be difficult when you are a recent graduate, but try to emphasize any experience you might have). Always place the most important and relevant accomplishments first.
  • Use keywords:
    Include specific key words and phrases that describe your skills and experience -- especially for technology skills. I.E. MS Excel, Access, Databases (Dialog, Silverplatter, etc.), Adobe Illustrator, HTML, etc.
  • Honesty Tip:
    Don't include software you aren't very familiar with or may have only used  once! (See Be Honest).
  • Use Action Verbs:
    Present yourself as active, accomplished, and intelligent. (See Avoid Personal Pronouns)
  • Be Honest:
    Exaggerating (or out-right lying) will ALWAYS come back to haunt you. Employers will check your 'claims', and you will want to make sure that all your details 'check out'.
  • Stick with Common Section Headings:
    Use common section headings such as: Experience; Professional Affiliations; Publications; Honors; Work History or Employment; etc.
  • Show Consistency:
    Using a Functional Resume (one that focuses on your skills and accomplishments) will help to de-emphasize glaring gaps in your work history. A Functional Resume is the opposite of a Chronological Resume, which emphasizes the progression of your experience.
  • Avoid Personal Pronouns:
    Never use "I" or "me" in your resume. Instead of complete sentences, use short action-oriented phrases. (See Use Action Verbs)
  • Summarize Information / Be Concise:
    Your resume should never exceed three pages, and recent graduates should not exceed two. The only exception to this: When you are employed in an academic setting, you may need to provide a CV (curriculum vitae). A CV includes everything, and thus is allowed to be longer than a resume.
  • Avoid Questionable Subjects:
    Never make references to personal information such as race, religion, marital status, age, political party, or even personal views. It is in all but few instances illegal for the employer to consider such issues. Avoid humor and cliches in resumes.
  • List only Recent Information:
    The rule of thumb is to show only the last 10-15 years of accomplishments.
  • Omit Salary Information:
    Never make reference to salary in your resume.
  • Be Positive:
    Try to avoid negative language, comments, or feelings in your resume. Especially in regard to previous employment experiences. Emphasize and focus on a positive, can / will-do attitude.

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