Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Resume Do's and Don'ts

Here are the keys to successfully preparing and writing a resume. Follow these simple rules and you should achieve success in job-hunting for a new career.

Do consider a bulleted style to make your resume as reader-friendly as possible.
Don't go beyond two pages with your resume.
Do consider a resume design that doesn’t look like everyone else’s. Many jobseekers use Microsoft Word resume templates and wizards. There’s nothing wrong with them, per se, but your resume won’t look distinctive if you use one.
Don't use justified text blocks; they put odd little spaces between words. Instead, make your type flush left.
Don't ever lie on your resume.
Do include as much contact information as possible -- any information that would enable an employer to reach you during business hours.
Do give your resume as sharp a focus as possible. Given that employers screen resumes for between 2.5 and 20 seconds, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you're good at.
Don't use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in a resume.
Don't leave out the locations of your past jobs (city and state). This information is expected, but many jobseekers unwittingly omit it.
Do list your jobs in reverse chronological order.
Don't mix noun and verb phrases when describing your jobs. Preferably, use concrete action verbs consistently.
Do avoid the verb, "Work" because it's a weak verb. Everyone works. Be more specific. "Collaborate" is often a good substitute.
Don't use expressions like "Duties included," "Responsibilities included," or "Responsible for." That's job-description language, not accomplishments-oriented resume language that sells.
Do emphasize transferable skills, especially if you don’t have much experience or seek to change careers.
Don't list too much experience on your resume. Don't emphasize skills and job activities you don’t want to do in the future, even if they represent great strengths for you.
Do remember that education also follows the principle about presenting information in the order of importance to the reader yet.
Don't include on your resume your height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, ethnicity/race, health, social security number, reasons for leaving previous job(s), names of former supervisors, specific street addresses or phone numbers of former employers.
Don't include hobbies or other irrelevant information on a resume.
Don't list references right on your resume.
Do realize that the phrase "References available upon request" is highly optional because it is a given that you will provide references upon request.
Do proofread carefully. Misspellings and typos are deadly on a resume.

The Baltimore Employment Guide wishes you luck on your career search.

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