How should I format my resume?

A well-written resume is no different than pre-sales literature—except in this case, you are selling yourself. A resume is considered a very important job-hunting tool, and it should highlight your work experience, education, strengths, accomplishments, and achievements.

In this highly-competitive job market, resumes that catch the reader’s eye get read. Recognizing this need, many applicants develop a gimmick resume and/or one printed on colored paper. However, what makes a resume stand out is the content—not fancy extras. Besides, colored paper and colored inks don’t fax on copy well at all.

It generally takes a hiring authority about 30 seconds or less to scan a resume and determine if you’re capable of contributing to the company’s bottom line. Therefore, when reviewing your resume, place yourself in the hiring authority’s shoes. Scan your resume for 30 seconds in order to determine if you’re sending the message you want to get across. Ask yourself if your resume accurately depicts who you are, what you know and do, and what you have accomplished. If your resume is vague & general, it’s likely to be discarded. A specific and tangible resume makes for a good first impression. Remember—you only have one chance to create a favorable impression!

Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Don’t use “I” or “he” or “she” when describing yourself in your resume. Instead say, “Responsible for the…“

Don’t skip a job, even if it was for a short time, to make your resume look better. During a comprehensive background check, it will undoubtedly show up. When it does, it will likely prompt the hiring authority to question the validity of your entire resume.

Do remember that total honesty is mandatory! Your resume must be clear, concise, honest, and reflect a professional job history.

Don’t use a gimmick resume or colored paper.

Do remember to print your resume on 20 to 24-pound white bond paper. Keep in mind that your original resume is the master copy from which multiple copies are made. Colored paper, gray in particular, doesn’t reproduce well.

Don’t fax your resume directly from your PC without printing it out first, thus ensuring your resume reproduces and appears as you anticipated.

Do remember to use your spell check feature and do remember to have someone other than yourself proofread your resume to make sure it reads well.

Don’t use small type (less than 12 point) in order to get more information on a page. It would be better to take a pencil and edit/cut your copy than reduce the type size. Resumes that are difficult to read get passed over.

Do remember to print your name on the second and subsequent pages of your resume.

What Resume Style is Best for You?

There are two basic resume styles to choose from:
Chronological and Functional

The reverse chronological resume is the most widely accepted resume style. It lists your work history in descending order from your present position followed by your previous positions.

The functional resume (often referred to as the analytical or skill-oriented resume) is especially valuable for those candidates who desire to work outside their previous work environment. It is also widely used by those candidates who have a chronological gap or numerous jobs in a short time period.

The functional resume is an efficient way to respond to a newspaper ad. The functional resume gives the candidate the opportunity to highlight his/her features to the company, thus matching those features with the company’s needs.