Creating a Professional Resume

Your resume provides a snapshot of who you are to a potential employer. Along with your cover letter, it is their first impression and must stand out in a competitive job market. To ensure you have the right resume, let’s start at the top. Here’s what your resume should include:

Include Pertinent Contact Information

  1. Resumes should start with your full name, address, phone number(s), and e-mail address
  2. Be sure to include social media contact links like your LinkedIn profile and Twitter page
  3. You should always use a font size of 10-12 for your text. Choose an easy-to-read font style such as Arial or Times New Roman

State Your Objective

  1. The objective should be one sentence only
  2. State the job you are seeking and what you hope to accomplish long term

Highlight Your Skills

  1. Showcase any foreign languages you speak, computer and/or software skills, and any other technical or skilled trade certifications

List Your Work Experience

  1. List in reverse chronological order the names and locations of employers, dates of employment, job titles held, description of job responsibilities, skills demonstrated and accomplishments while on the job
  2. It’s only necessary to go back ten years in listing your work experience
  3. Be concise—use short, bulleted phrases (complete sentences are not necessary)
  4. State your contributions to the company, not just duties
  5. Use action verbs and industry buzzwords (Killer Cover Letter) to enhance the body of your resume
  6. Action verbs include: accomplished, accelerated, operated, negotiated, produced, controlled, conducted, evaluated, solved, innovated, updated, trained, initiated, instructed, reinforced, performed and organized

Catalogue Your Education

  1. List schools attended, degrees and honors. Note that it’s not necessary to list years attended or dates of degrees

Red Flags to Avoid in Your Resume

Employers who review cover letters and resumes are trained to look for certain “red flags.” Depending on the employer, these might disqualify you immediately from the hiring process. Other employers may just make a mental note of their concerns and address them with you in the interview. Either way, the fewer ”red flags” on your cover letter and resume, the better the chance you have of landing your perfect opportunity.

  1. Make sure your resume is typed on resume-quality paper (or formatted correctly for an online application) and proof-read carefully
  2. Use spellcheck and have a friend proof-read
  3. Use grammar check and have a friend proofread
  4. Always include accurate employment dates
  5. Try to avoid gaps. If you’ve taken time off for personal reasons, school, or travel, list it under a section titled “Additional Experience” or make a notation in the cover letter that allows for continuity
  6. Explain employment overlaps in cover letter
  7. For recent college graduates and entry-level positions, keep resumes to one page. For everyone else, keep resumes to a maximum of two pages
  8. Include where you worked, dates of employment, job titles, job responsibilities, and accomplishments for each position. If you are applying for your first position, highlight areas of study in school, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, and hobbies/interests, so the interviewer can get a sense of your personality

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Posted in Career Advice