My favorite riddle when I was young was "What's black and white and red (read) all over?--a newspaper of course". You want your resume to be read thoroughly by anyone who glances at it. Unfortunately, most resumes are boring and easy to pass over. I read over 20 resumes every day, so here's my tips on making a good resume that recruiters and hiring managers will read, and that will be noticed. (This morning I just read a great resume advice piece in the Wall Street Journal by Dana Mattioli. For those with a subscription, please visit http://online.wsj.com/article/SB116891185519277215.html?mod=careers_left_column_hs)
First, always put your name, address, phone number--including cell phone and voicemail numbers. And everyone should have an email address on their resume. Seems simple, but I get plenty of resumes with no contact info besides a home address.
Next, put a summary section that states what your talents, experience and accomplishments are. This should be fairly short for an entry-level individual, and 5-8 sentences long for exerienced job seekers.
Then a chronologic listing of your job history is always the best bet. Put your most recent position at the top, oldest at the bottom. If you have switched between industries or areas, put the most relevent jobs in a section defined as say, Wine Sales Experience. Then list that experience. Later put Retail Sales Experience and list those jobs. And don't list unrelated old jobs, such as Cattlemen's Bean Girl, or Parking Attendent, part-time. Everyone has had to take odd jobs, but these don't sell your current professional work self.
A resume is a sales/marketing tool. You want to represent yourself in your best light on your resume. Think like hiring managers. If they want a winery sales professional, they want to see that on the resume. If you did indeed sell in the wine industry, put it down. Always represent your dates of employment, job titles and education accurately.
Always list your education, as long as it's post high school. If you took classes, list them. If you have your Associates degree, list it. Of course list your Bachelor's, Master's and Juris Doctorate. I have known Ph.D.'s to not list that degree to prevent being rejected as over qualified, but I'm not sure if this helps them.
Now this is all pretty basic--and if everyone does this all resumes will look the same. First of all, many people don't follow these basic guidelines and their resumes are hard to understand. Second of all, within your job experience you need to list your duties. Use action words and always pay attention to verb tense. And of course, check your spelling. Attention to detail is very important in many jobs, and a resume should be the first example of your's.
So how do you "kick it up a notch"?
- Use simple fonts and keep the size at about 11 or 12 pt. No recruiter will spend a long time squinting at a hard to read resume.
- Make sure all your formatting is consistent--titles bold, sections underlined, etc.
- Keep your information concise--bulleted lists of accomplishments, duties, responsibilities are very good.
- Use color for listing websites, company names, email. Using tags in your email resume allow the reader to link to your website, email or blog
- Keep it to 1 page for entry to 7 years of experience, 2 pages for experienced individuals.
- Show some of your personality in your resume. If you're creative, emphasis it. If you're fascinated with Italian wine varietals, talk about it.
Consistency is key, but a few small details can make your resume the first one I choose to call.