Ahhh...the resume. What can we say about writing a resume? Well, quite a bit but we won't. &Below is a short outline of what you can do to write a great resume. We have included a few resume styles and a brief description of what your resume should always include. This is based on two sources: our personal experiences with reading resumes and our research on how to write a resume. For your reference, we have included a list of useful books and web sites for you to review.
First and foremost, remember that this is your chance to shine, on paper at least. We cover preparing for and attending interviews in the next chapter. What you include in your resume will tell the recruiter or future employer about your experiences and accomplishments. We will begin this tutorial with a few points about the presentation of your resume.
Always present your resume on clean paper that is a neutral colour, generally, an ivory or white.
Make sure that the ink is not smudged on the resume. This shows carelessness and a lack of attention to detail.
The layout should be simple and allow the resume to be read easily. Limit the use of graphs and graphics. These often clutter a page and make it difficult to get to the wording, which is the most important part.
Although this may seem obvious, we have included a brief outline of what you must include in you resume. Like we have said before, our experience in reading many resumes has provided us with a wealth of information on what makes a great resume; in turn, this has also shown us what a poorly written resume looks like.
Here is a short list of what your should always include in your resume:
- You must always provide contact information. Yes, there are a few people that forget this vital piece of information. Remember to include your full name, address, phone number and e-mail address. Although e-mail may be your preferred method of contact, they change often and you may find yourself with lost opportunity because a recruiter or company can no longer contact you. Also, remember that this information should be presented clearly at the beginning of your resume. You want recruiters and employers to know who they are reading about because after all, you want them to remember your name.
- Include all relevant experience. You should, at least it is our suggestion, include your current or previous employer's name and location. By omitting this information, you leave people guessing and sometimes questioning your experience(s).
- Always include a full account of your work history. If there are any lapses in your employment, provide a short explanation as to why. If you were travelling, say that you were travelling; if you were in school, highlight your education. If you took time off to be with your family, put family commitments. Remember that this is your resume and you are free to include as much or as little information as you feel comfortable with. A short explanation does not necessarily mean that you have to give information that you are not comfortable providing, it is just a short explanation as to why there is a break in your employment. If there is any reason that you are not fully comfortable with divulging this information, you may note that there was a short break in your employment and continue from there; you may want to alter the format of the resume you use. There is a short section on resume formats included on this site.
- Information should always be displayed in a format that is easily read and should convey a confidence in your abilities; that is, write your resume using positive language, that highlights the skills that you have used. Tell the reader that you have hands-on experience and that you are able to employ your skills. For example, instead of writing "I have experience developing web applications", write "completed web-based banking applications, using ASP and SQL Server". The latter tells the reader that you have actually taken part in projects and that you can apply your skills.