Your resume is likely to be the first thing the hiring manager considers when evaluating you for a position. Make sure it looks neat and provides the kind of information that will prompt the manager to call you in for an interview. This document serves as your sales pitch, so it should be truthful, well written and informative.
Here are a few tips for crafting your resume.
Keep it simple
You want your resume to stand out, but you don’t want it to be a novelty item. Avoid colored paper, unusual fonts and excessive graphics. Clean white or ivory paper is ideal. Use bulleted items, indentations, adequate margins and white space to make it easily readable to busy hiring managers. Include your full name, telephone number, mobile phone and email address at the top.
Answer key questions
Most employers prefer job history in chronological order, with your most recent positions first. Include start and end dates for each job. Include project descriptions in the employment history, so hiring managers can get a sense of the kind of projects you’ve worked on. If you’ve worked as a contractor or consultant, be sure to include the names of recognized companies that you have worked for. If you have a mixture of contract and staff positions, identify them accordingly. This will help explain shorter job durations when you worked as a contractor.
Sell yourself with words
Use dynamic action words when possible and highlight your achievements. Saying you “improved database performance by 25 percent,” is more compelling than just saying you are an “experienced database administrator.” Avoid personal pronouns such as “I” or “me” in your job history. Instead, just launch into the descriptions with a powerful verb: “performed, supervised, or achieved.”
Offer technical data
If you’re applying for a technical position, be specific and offer a moderate amount of technical detail. Don’t fill the resume with jargon, but for many positions it is helpful to include the kind of programming languages you know, what kind of databases you’ve worked on, what platforms you are familiar with and the Web application servers you’ve used.
Include your education
Employers want to know where you attended school, when you graduated and what kind of degrees you hold. Don’t ignore the educational component of your resume.
Avoid overlong resumes
One to two pages should be sufficient for most resumes, three pages is the absolute limit for someone with more than 15 years of experience. Omit needless information such as personal interests and hobbies, irrelevant associations or awards.
You want your resume to be a sales pitch, but don’t do it under false pretenses. Never lie in your resume, falsify educational credentials or make up job skills that you don’t have. Be confident in your abilities as well as your experience and let that confidence shine through.
Don’t give a hiring manager an easy reason to eliminate you from the pile of resumes. Look for spelling or grammatical errors every time you update your resume. If proofreading isn’t your strong suit, ask a friend to give it a quick review as well.