Developing your own professional resume is not an easy task. Resume writing and resume development requires following several basic yet very essential techniques and strategies. Follow these free resume tips and guidelines to develop your professional resume to help steer you in the right direction and keep you on track. Remember, it’s all about marketing you!
- Strictly no more than 5 pages in length – 3 to 4 pages are ideal. It’s not unusual for job applications to state the page length. It’s very important you follow their guidelines and give them exactly what they ask for. They’re testing you here to determine that you can follow (written) directions.
- Use a professional looking and easy reading font. For example, Times New Roman, Garamond, Georgia, Arial Narrow. Choose the font that you prefer the most – this is subjective of course.
- Ensure that the font size is not too small. Small font is a very big negative and if our resume is too difficult to read (because of small font size), you most likely will not be considered and your application will be rejected immediately. A while back, one of my clients emailed me her resume for feedback. It was in Times New Roman 6pt!
- Think in terms of QUALITY not quantity when developing your resume. The onus is not on page length, but with the content itself; it’s the specific information you provide that highlights your qualifications, achievements, experience and KSAOs (knowledge, skills, abilities and other characteristics). Importantly, it must be written concisely, to the point and in a logical and structured format.
- No jargon or technical terms unless you are applying for a position in a trade or profession that uses them and where it may be beneficial to incorporate such terminology.
- Absolutely no spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors. This is a given, no matter how great the content is in your resume, if it contains errors in any of the above areas (especially spelling), you could very well be rejected on that basis. I know, because when I’ve short listed applicants (when employed in previous roles in the past), those that contained immediately identifiable errors were automatically placed in the rejection pile.
- Keep sentences short and to the point, write only pertinent information – do not waffle. Shorter, sharper sentences make for better impact. Also, reduces the loss of concentration on the part of the reader. Remember, short sentences pack a punch.
- Design your resume to make it look interesting and visually appealing. I cannot stress the importance of stylising your resume. First step, prior to even commencing the writing is to decide how you want it formatted. I always think in terms of ‘letterhead’ style when custom creating my client’s resumes. From there, decide what sections you want to include and how you want to present the section titles. Then, fill in the blanks so to speak, in other words, start developing and writing the content for each of the sections.
- Ensure that key titles or sections headings make commanding statements. For example, instead of labeling a section ‘Employment History’, try other titles like ‘Employment Snapshot’, ‘Employment Summary’, or ‘Employment Profile’.
- Consistency is the key – use the same font and exact same formatting style throughout the document. You can of course use slightly larger fonts for your section headings. Importantly, ensure that your corresponding cover letter is in the same font as well. This allows for a flow effect so to speak, an easy transfer from one document to the other.
- Personal data such as marital status, age, religion, other demographic information, and so forth, and hobbies are unnecessary inclusions. They add absolutely no value to your resume.
If you have any specific questions relating to resume development that you would like answered, or require further clarification on any of the above points, please do not hesitate to post a comment. Alternatively, go back to my Contacts webpage and send me an email.
Remember, I’m here to help market you!