Developing an Effective Resume

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Developing an Effective Resume

An effective resume is your ticket to an interview. It should succinctly represent what you have to offer to employers. It is not a life history. Rather, it is a snapshot of who you are and what you have done in the past 10 years. Remember that employers are trying to answer the question, “why should we hire you?” so your resume should outline your skills and accomplishments, rather than your duties and responsibilities. Typically, your resume should be one to two pages, which emphasizes the need for you to be concise and discriminating about what you include on the resume.

Begin your resume (after your contact information) with a professional profile. In three to four sentences, highlight and summarize who you are as a professional. You can also follow that with a few bullets of keywords that accurately describe you as well.

If you are a new professional, your education section should follow your professional profile. If you have significant work experience, this should go next. When describing your work experience, you should emphasize your accomplishments and skills, in three to four bullet points. Remember, employers are glancing at resumes and not reading them, so you want to get your point across quickly and efficiently. Begin each bullet with a different action verb. Where possible, quantify your experience with percentages, dollar amounts, or any other numbers that will bring your experience to life. For example, it is more impactful to state that you supervised 20 employees than to say you supervised employees.

Other information to include on your resume may be relevant professional memberships, awards, or publications. Omit any personal information such as hobbies, political affiliation (unless you are applying for a political job), or religious affiliation.

When formatting your resume, be conservative with your font (Arial, Times New Roman, and Garamond are best), and its size should not go below 10 point. Avoid line breaks or other graphics. Your margins should be between .5 and 1 inch. For emphasis, use bolding, and avoid italics.

Last, your resume should be error free. One typo can disqualify you from an interview, because it shows a lack of attention to detail, a quality employers want to see in applicants. Have someone else review it, because spell check does not catch usage mistakes (such as their, there, and they’re).

An effective resume won’t get you a job, but it will get you an interview. Make sure it is targeted toward the employer, and that it effectively states what you have to offer.
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