Even though many businesses require you to complete a company-specific employment application in order to be considered for a job, most employers still ask for your resume to accompany your application. This is due partly due to the fact that resumes are often more descriptive than applications when it comes to summarizing work experience, education and other applicable skills. Whether you are creating a resume for the first time or simply creating a new draft version of your existing one, pay special attention to the overall appearance and content to ensure it is appealing, professional and easy to understand.
Before you start typing the text for your resume, decide what layout you’d like to use. You can either manually format your resume yourself or you can use a pre-made template offered by your word processing program. While you want the overall look of your resume to exude professionalism, you also want it to be eye-catching and stand out from the crowd, so use whichever formatting style that best portrays your individual style and personality.
The top of your resume should include a heading which typically consists of your name and contact information. Be sure to use a large, bold print for this text so that it is easy to read. The standard contact information includes your address, phone number and e-mail address. If you have a digital portfolio or website, you may consider including the web address along with your contact information. Keep in mind that you will likely receive calls from employers during business hours, so if possible, include a cell phone number to ensure you receive and respond to their call in a timely manner.
The next item included on your resume should be your objective statement. This is essentially a brief statement of what you’re looking for in your next career move, such as “To obtain a challenging management position that utilizes my expertise in finance and marketing analysis.” If you are applying for multiple positions, update your objective each time you apply for a position to make sure it suits the job or company for which you are applying.
Create a heading for work experience and provide a chronological list of the jobs you’ve held that are relevant to the position you are applying for. If you have an extensive work history, providing a 10 year list of positions will suffice for most employers, as you want to keep the length of your resume to two pages or less. Include each position as a separate line entry and list your actual job title, employer name, dates of employment and a few sentences describing your essential responsibilities. Try to be as specific as possible when describing your experience. For example, instead of saying that you were responsible for a system implementation, you might say “Implemented ABC system which resulted in an annual cost savings of $50,000”.
Create a heading for education and list only the relevant degrees or training you’ve received. Similar to the work experience section, you’ll want to list each program of study as a separate line item and provide the name and type of program, college or university attended and whether or not your degree was conferred. If you’ve completed any certification programs or other specialized training, be sure to include that information in this section as well.
Before you start distributing your resume, proofread it to make sure it is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Also, read over your resume to make sure that a person who’s never met you before will be able to clearly understand what type of job you are seeking and what your previous experience consists of. If your resume is too vague, edit it as needed until it clearly communicates the correlation between your background and the requirements of the position.