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Having a good resume is so important in today's job market that applicants often get overwhelmed with the prospect of creating a resume from scratch. There are different formats, different paper, and different philosophies of resume building. Many people are even starting to print their resumes landscape style on the page. Nevertheless, there is no reason to fret. There are still a few basic guidelines that you can follow to help you produce a high-quality resume that will get you noticed by a potential employer.
Use professional grade resume paper in a "soft" color tone, such as white, off-white, or beige.
Type your resume in a standard font style such as Times New Roman or Arial. 10 point font is an ideal size for a resume, but never go larger than 12.
Keep 1 inch margins on all sides of your page
Use bold text to highlight major resume headings and use bullets to mark examples under those major headings. The idea is to make your key resume components easy to locate and to read by potential employers.
Begin by typing your heading at the top of your resume. Include your name, address, phone number, and all email addresses (you may use a slightly larger font for your heading).
Begin your resume headings with "Education" or "Training." Use this section to list what academic or trade training you have that qualifies you for the job to which you are applying. For college experience, list the college, degrees earned, dates of attendance, and any honors or minors obtained.
For other types of training, such as apprenticeships, include the dates, supervisor, and a brief description of the skills learned. (Note: if you have limited work experience, you can move your experience as an apprentice under "Work Experience."
Proceed to the "Work Experience" category. Under this category, try to account for the past 3-5 years of work history. List your work in reverse chronology, starting with your most recent or current position and working backwards. For each job, include the dates of employment, title of position, company/employer, and a brief description of duties. Make sure to use strong action verbs to describe your work duties: "COORDINATED public events related to community clean up."
Include a section of "Special Skills." This section should include any particular abilities or certifications you might have that could be beneficial to a potential employer. For examples, being bilingual might be important skill for a nurse. Knowledge of computer software might be worth noting for a secretary, or CPR would be a big plus for a substitute teacher. Use this category to highlight skills that were not specifically part of your work experience.
Add a final statement that references are available upon request.
Have a list of references with full contact information prepared in case you are asked for that from an employer.
Keep your resume under two pages; the ideal length for a resume is one page.