- Font - make it easy to read and nothing "funk"...now is not the time to be creative with fonts.
- Bold, italics - Use it judiciously and consistently. DO NOT bold every key word or technology...it just ends up looking like BOLD-Vomit on the page. Bold and italicize things like company name or your title...use it to differentiate, not overpower the content.
- Indentations, spacing - again, most importantly, be consistent. White space is good, but don't have more white space than content.
- Bullet points - always, always use bullets - it is so much easier to scan than paragraph form.
#3 - Work History. Always include name of company, your title(s), and most importantly..dates of employment (months and years). If you choose to leave off any of this information, it typically will do more damage than good. Your audience will wonder why you didn't include specific dates, titles, and former employers...and unfortunately might assume the worst. Don't let them assume...make it clear where, what role, and when you were contributing with your skills. I do get the question occasionally, "what about confidentiality on current or past employers?". I don't know of any recruiters or companies that will hire you without knowing where you currently are working - many need to know for verifications and to make sure that they aren't breaching any non-solicitation or other agreements with companies that they may partner with.
#4 - Gaps. In your work history, this is why dates are imperative for a hiring manager. Remember...a resume isn't written for you...it's written for someone trying to hire you. Fulfill there needs...don't try to cover things up. Most managers view a 3 month or less gap between roles as "no big deal". If you have something more - or significantly more - address it. It is much better to address gaps professionally rather than letting them make their own false assumptions. Be concise, and save the intricate details for the interview...but don't leave them wondering. And don't think that they won't notice.....they ALWAYS notice.
#5 - Description of roles/responsibilities. This might be the single most important section of any resume. Remember your audience again. Describe how you will help their organization...don't just give you old job description. Focus on accomplishments! Here are some quick tips:
- Words/Phrases to avoid: "involved in....", "participated in....", "part of a team that....". These phrases are so generic. Companies don't want to know what your team did...they aren't hiring your team. Tell them your specific role and what you did. Don't make them guess if you were 90% involved or assume that you were 5% involved/participated in...or just showed up for a few general meetings. Show them YOUR value to their company/team.
- OARs: When you are up a creek...you need an OAR!
- O - Opportunity. What was the situation, problem, or opportunity you are solving?
- A - Action. What action did YOU take, what tools did you use and why?
- R - Result. What did you accomplish? How did you save the company time or money...or make the company money? How did you help the bottom line???
#7 - Education - what should I include? Most companies will now not only do a criminal background and drug test, they will also verify employment dates and educational achievements (degrees mainly). Why? Because it's cheap to hire someone to do it...and nobody wants to hire a liar or deceiver...bad for business. Here is what I recommend you include:
- Dates of completion - on all degrees and certifications
- Name of Institution and location
- Area of Study - specifically on the type of degree you earned
- Classes? - typically I advise against this unless something is extremely relevant to a company or industry or role...or you are fresh out of school and need to demonstrate some additional experience.
- GPA - again...I advise against it...especially if it is not SUPER high (like 3.8 or better)...even then, I rarely have a company ask about a GPA - unless again the candidate is new and has little to no experience professionally.
#9 - Spell Check, proof read, then have someone else proof read for you. 'nuf said...you'd be surprised at some of the stuff I see on a daily basis with resumes.
There it is folks, for more details or discussion points, hit me up. We had a great round-table discussion that brought up many questions and topics that just can't be covered in a blog forum like this. I'm always happy to discuss and help (and hear other opinions and ideas).