1. Basic Guidelines for Resume Preparation
You can use your own computer with word processing software such as Word or Word Perfect. The quality of this method depends greatly upon the kind of printer you use with your computer. A less desirable method is to use a typewriter. If you do use a typewriter, make sure that it is in good condition, and use a new ribbon.
If you have a laser printer attached to your computer, you can elect to print multiple copies of your resume that way. The quality of a resume which you type on your computer and produce on your laser printer should be excellent; almost as good as one that is typeset by a professional and reproduced at a nearby printer. Be aware that the typed copy on your laser-printed resume can “crack” along the crease if you fold it. If that happens to your laser-printed resume, mail them to firms flat in a “9 x 12” envelope.
2. Helpful Hints on Writing Your Resume
Start your resume writing process by listing your jobs and what your day to day activities are/were.
- Write job descriptions in easy-to-understand terms, and as completely as space allows.
- Organize these by your employer in the suggested format.
- Next list all your skills, technical knowledge, and computer skills.
- Group your technical skills or other skills at the beginning of your resume under a summary paragraph near the top of your resume. Be brief but be complete.
- Finish with your pertinent education and/or training, seminars, work-related course work, etc.
Include an objective if desired.
- List “Under contract to” for any contract assignments you may have had.
- Include total number of years experience.
- Give security status, if any. If your security clearance has expired, include the date of expiration.
- Include your name and page number on each page of a multiple page resume (except no number on first page).
- If you want to use a better quality paper, consider a white bond paper with a rag content (available from most printers or paper supply stores). Rag bond, however, should not be used if you are printing copies of your resume on a photo copier (such as Xerox), as the letters may break up on folds.
3. Tips to Help You Shorten a Lengthy Resume
- Have it typed by a professional typesetter.
- Eliminate all extra spaces between lines (except between job assignments).
- Use narrower margins.
- Keep job descriptions to 3-5 sentences (especially for older positions).
If your “length” problem is due to an extensive number of job assignments, leave the oldest positions off and type the following at the bottom of the last page of your resume: “Experience from (date) to (date) available upon request.” Then prepare a “complete” resume to furnish only to firms asking for it.
4. Things You Should Do With Your Resume
- Use “8-1/2″ X 11” paper.
- List jobs in reverse chronological order.
- Include both a permanent contact and present address and phone number. You may be contacted through a permanent address or phone, even after you have moved from your present address.
- Make your resume as legible as possible.
- Include your job discipline(s) near your name at the top of page one of your resume and as a title to each assignment.
- Make your resume visually appealing, keeping your format consistent throughout.
- Try to keep to a maximum of three pages (see “tips” if resume is longer than two pages).
- Avoid much of the following: font changes, columns, italics, bolding, underlining, and graphics (see Resume Scanner Section).
- Keep records of where and to whom your resume is being sent.
5. Things You Should Not Do With Your Resume
Don’t include hobbies.
- Don’t include your Social Security Number.
- Don’t use a “Job Objective.” A “Job Objective” tells the firms what you want from them whereas a “Summary” tells what you can do for them.
- Don’t exaggerate your experience.
- Don’t show salary or pay information.
- Don’t offer explanations for leaving prior employers.
- Don’t use your photograph.
- Don’t use abbreviations
(except those that are acceptable in the engineering/technical fields, such as IBM, CAD, E/M, etc.).
6. Many Firms Use Resume Scanners
More and more contract firms are utilizing scanners to input resumes into their computer databases. Because of that, new guidelines are required that will enable firms to scan your resume. Here are a few recommendations that will make your resume “scanner ready”:
- Use white paper and black ink.
- Don’t underline words.
- Don’t use script or other fancy typefaces.
- All letters should be of the same quality (no light or broken letters, no smudgy or filled-in letters, etc.)
- Use adequate margins (at least 1/2″ on all sides).
- Don’t hand write anything on your resume.
- If using a dot matrix printer, utilize the best quality of type the printer provides (i.e. letter quality, dark copy, etc.).
- Avoid boxes or unusual configurations.
NOTE: If you transmit your resume by using a FAX card in your personal computer, make sure you see what you transmit. Many resumes received in this manner, have problems (extraneous characters, missing copy, strange lines, etc.). Also, the format of the received resume is often different than what you think you are transmitting. Try faxing to a friend or local fax number so you can physically see what everyone else sees!