Tips for Writing a Resume

In the job market, first impressions are everything. Most people dress for a job interview with this fact in mind. However, hiring mangers most likely formed their first impression based on the resume submitted. For this reason, your resume is your most important job-hunting tool. A good resume causes you to stand out from the crowd while keeping a professional persona.

If at all possible, keep your resume on one page. Individuals with considerable, relevant experience may choose to use two pages. However, the second page needs to be at least three fourths of the way full. In order to fit more information onto a single page, decrease the margin size. Half an inch on each side gives you an entire inch of added vertical space and an inch and a half of horizontal space. Make sure to choose a font that is easy to read, and use size 10 to 12 for the main text. At the top of each page, include a header with your name and contact information prominently displayed.

While formatting and mistakes can cost you an interview, resumes truly exist to give potential employers an overview of applicants. When a hiring manager reviews a resume, he or she looks for relevant experience that applies to the open position. List this information chronologically in a uniform manner. Show a clear timeline of experience by posting dates of employment on the right hand margin. When descripting job experience, use action words. Verbs show what you did, make the resume more interesting to read, and cause you to stand out in a sea of applicants. Avoid coping and pasting job experience from one job to the next. Use a thesaurus to come up with new and exciting words that highlight the different aspects of each job and task. Also, employ quantitative data. If you can put a number to what you did, do it! Numbers break up the monotony of words and demonstrate your attention to detail. For example, a good job description might say "Processed bi-weekly payroll for 250 employees in 7 states" instead of "Payroll processing." Emphasize skills that apply to the desired position. Almost every job has basic responsibilities that transfer to other fields. Use keywords from the field you seek to highlight the similarities.

Experience contains the most desired information, so only a few other sections are required. Always include education under experience. This information is necessary, but probably will not set you apart rest of the applicants. A well-written experience section will eliminate the need for a separate skills segment. Instead of taking up space, look for ways to incorporate the skills listed into a job description. Avoid including personal references unless requested. Also the phrase "references available upon request" should not appear on you resume.

By following the plan above, your resume should stand out and grab the attention of hiring managers. Double, and triple check for formatting, spelling, and grammar errors. If possible, have someone you trust look over your resume and give you honest feedback. Even the best resume can be disregarded because of a simple, overlooked mistake!