A resume is more than just a list. It's a record of your job experiences, a breakdown of your skills, and a document that summarizes your individual history. It's also your first introduction to an employer, and the thing that will help you stand out among the competition and land that interview. Make no mistake, a good resume is important, and it's sometimes hard to know what to write. To help you along, we put together some of the essential things to keep in mind
Limit your resume to a single page. No exceptions. Employers are looking for information that is clear, simple, and direct, and they don't enjoy sifting through lots of paper. Figure out a way to present yourself in a concise and efficient manner.
Avoid spelling and grammar errors. This is absolutely critical. All it takes is one sloppy mistake on your resume to cost you a good job. Proofread your resume many times, and ask your friends or family to check it over as well.
Keep it clean. If you're working with a resume template, select a layout that's arranged in an orderly way. Use a simple, easy to read font and stick with it throughout. Good choices include Times New Roman, Arial Narrow, Georgia, Helvetica, and Tahoma. Don't waste your time with wacky fonts. They're distracting and often difficult to read.
Describe your job experiences in reverse chronological order, starting with your most recent place of employment.
Be exciting. Don't just rattle off your accomplishments in a long, boring list. Use an active voice with active verbs, and provide clear details about the work you've done and the skills you've learned.
Avoid unnecessary information. Include what is meaningful to your resume and discard all extraneous details. Utilize a strict, “just the facts, ma'am” approach.
Include all of your contact info, including email, phone number, and address. Make certain it's all correct before handing out your resume. After all, an employer will have no way to get it touch with you if your supply them with a bogus phone number.
Always ask permission to use people as references. If you list references without contacting them first, they will caught off guard when an employer calls to ask about you – and consequently, they might not give the best recommendation! Again, make sure all of their contact info is correct.
Think about your audience! Include any information that could be relevant to the position in question. Quick example: if you're applying for a job as a lifeguard, it would be a great idea to mention that you're trained in CPR.
If an employer contacts you about an interview, that's automatically a great sign. It means that they're interested in you and they want to learn about you. You've already won half the battle, now it's just a matter of proving to them that their interest was justified.
First and foremost, don't be late! In fact, try to show up 10 or 15 minutes early. It's a simple way to demonstrate to an employer that you're interested in the job and that you have initiative.
Arrive prepared. Make sure you have copies of your resume handy, along with any letters of recommendation that you might need.
Wear your best clothes. Make sure your appearance is clean and neat.
Speak formally, politely, and clearly. Remember to look people right in the eye when you talk to them.
Be attentive. Don't just sit rooted in your chair silently. Be active in the conversation and listen to what they have to say. When you're asked a question, answer it.
Don't fidget, chew gum, gnaw at your fingernails, pick your nose, play with your hair, zone out, or interrupt the interview for a text or a phone call. Seriously, don't. Just don't.
What's the best piece of advice to keep in mind when you venture out in search of a job? Be yourself. Sure, it sounds hokey, but in the end you are the most important part of your resume. Stick to your guns and remember all of the skills and experiences that you can offer to a potential employer. Be forthcoming and honest about what you bring to the table, and the rest will soon follow.