As a potential employee your resume is your calling card. It sells you to your potential employer. So, it is in your best interest to take extreme care in preparing a resume that will be a professional presentation of your qualifications.
There are many acceptable resume formats and methods of preparation. If you use the format and guidelines we suggest, we can’t guarantee you’ll land a job, but we can assure you that your chances of getting that next opportunity will have definitely improved!
Basic Guidelines for Resume Preparation
- Typesetting. You can use your own computer with word processing software such as Word or WordPerfect. 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.
- Printing. 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″x12″ envelope.
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 and add an objective if desired. Be brief but be complete.
- Finish with your pertinent education and/or training, seminars, work-related course work, etc.
- 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 don’t number the 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.
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.