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Resume Presentation

Layout

The layout of your resume is key. The right credentials are only an asset if they are presented well! It is essential that your resume appear clean, concise, and professional. Experiment with bolding, italics, underlining, tabs, margin settings, bullet points and other symbols, etc. to find the most neat and consistent arrangement of your information. Make sure that you skip lines between each section of your resume. This will provide open space on the page that contributes to an overall neat and appealing presentation. A messy, crammed, disorganized page immediately communicates a message (whether true or not!) about the kind of worker you are. Remember, keep your audience in mind. Tailor your resume to each position that you are applying for. Ask yourself: How has my past qualified me for this particular position? How can I emphasize these qualifications? See our Sample Layouts for more help.

 

Writing Style

Your resume should be concise and to the point. Employers don't have time to read lengthy and overdone descriptions. Give them a fresh, honest look at who you are. Your resume will be strengthened by carefully chosen words that accurately and specifically capture you and your experience. Say a lot with a few words. Be sure to include as much specific information regarding your past performance as possible - number served, percent accomplished, etc. Employers appreciate seeing these tangible proofs of previous successes.

 

Font

Your font should be clear and easy to read. An intricate font will only discourage an employer from reading about you. When an employer picks up your resume, it should appear clean and professional.

 

Paper and Printer Choice

Your resume should be printed on paper that stands out. Choose a heavier stock than normal printer paper, as well as a color that will subtly catch the eye. Do not use bright colors - this will only make your resume hard to read. A classy, but subtle gray or beige is appropriate. Use a laser or InkJet printer, never a dot matrix.

 

Number of Pages

A resume is usually around one page. As you progress in your career, a 1-2 page resume is fine. Only exceed one page if you legitimately have information that is essential for the employer to read. Don't move to two pages just to include the baby-sitting jobs or lawn work that you did as a teenager.

 

Proofreading

Proofreading your resume is absolutely essential! Errors will badly damage your credibility before an employer. Have several people review your resume for any mistakes. In addition, have a friend read it to determine if it accurately reflects you, your skills, and experiences. It is also a good idea to have your resume reviewed by someone in a field related to the one you're applying for.

 

Prepare the Way

Before you send your resume, establish phone contact with the employer, if at all possible. Tell them that you are interested in working for them, and that you are sending your resume. When an employer can attach a previous conversation to the resume he/she has just received, your chances of being considered increase. You are somewhat "known," not a random stranger sending in a resume. Sending one resume to an employer you have spoken with is more effective than sending your resume to twenty employers you have never talked to. Be willing to do the hard work and take initiative!