Writing a Resume

The purpose of a resume is to generate interest, not to tell your life story. Be concise and present your resume in a format that is easy to read. Aim to stay within two pages.

It is never appropriate to give inaccurate information, i.e., degrees, time frames, salary history. Almost all information can be verified. For most employers, incorrect information will disqualify you for a position and when discovered after hire, can be cause for termination. What is the proper format? There are many formats, however all resumes should include certain key information.
Describe duties and accomplishments so they are easily understood.
For each position, list the beginning and end dates, title and duties.
When promoted, list the duration and description of each position.
Place the most recent position first.
Account for all time since the beginning of your work career or completion of education. Some positions and time frames may require only brief descriptions.
Describe how your accomplishments saved the company time and/or money. List significant accomplishments at the top of your resume.
Education, certificates, affiliations and computer skills should all be under separate headings and be placed before or after employment history. Unless you have just completed your education, or if technical knowledge is a major part of your skills, the preferable position is following employment history.
Whether the resume is chronological or functional, clarity and accuracy are essential.
Grammar and spelling must be correct.
Proof, proof, and proof again!

Some information should not be on a resume. Never disclose a picture or give information that may be used in a discriminatory manner. Enclose a salary history only when specifically requested. Objectives take up space and are usually meaningless unless you truly have a very narrow one. As recruiters, we have seen cases where objectives have disqualified candidates.

You may choose to create multiple resumes with an emphasis of different skills or background on each. Gear your cover letter to the company, industry and position you are seeking. Research companies as much as possible before submitting your resume.

Update your resume at least once a year so when that “once in a lifetime opportunity” comes along, you will be prepared.

Now that your resume has helped you land an interview, read our helpful hints on preparing for that first meeting.