A well-written professional resume is a vital step to getting an interview for the job you want. Your resume sells you to employers; it’s crucial that the resume clearly summarizes your history, skills, education and more in a clean, effective package. As the initial step in the evaluation process, your resume should not only convey what you offer, but what type of employee you will be. This is done not only by listing what you present, but by wrapping this information in a neat piece of business communication that shows the professional you are.
Whether you choose a chronological, functional or mixed format resume, you must pay attention to the specifics of your given format. Regardless of what professional resume type you choose, you must use a clear, easy-to-read layout. Stay away from rambling paragraphs and large blocks of text. These will turn off employers immediately. Summarize everything concisely and neatly. This shows your writing talent and ability to clearly and concisely express thoughts. It also makes things convenient for the reviewer, increasing your chances for a call.
When considering format, remember that this is a piece of business communication. Consider internal documentation, memos and other business writing you may have seen. You want your resume to look neat, with a professional font, consistent and correct grammar and spelling, and zero errors. It is very important to find a few people to thoroughly proof read your resume. Grammar or spelling errors are a very bad reason to miss out on a job.
What to put in
The key areas of your professional resume are: contact information, career objective, work experience, education and references. There are more possible areas you could cover here and some things like career objective and references can be left out under certain circumstance, but this is a good rule of thumb. Keep your descriptions short and focused; use bullet points and summarize the key points of your job duties, accomplishments and education. The key is to cover the important areas, striking a balance between being in-depth and being brief. At the end, list references if required or if not required but you have space to fill. If not required or you don’t have space, a simple “references available upon request” is fine.
What to keep out
Do not list personal information such as age, marital status or ethnicity. Legal issues aside, this just is not pertinent. Leave out information about your political affiliations or hobbies and activities. Again, this information has nothing to do with the job and could hurt your chances. It looks unprofessional. Speaking of unprofessional, resist the temptation to embellish or outright lie. Employers are savvy to all the tricks, flowery language, and cheap tactics. Getting caught in a lie is simply not worth the risk.
The best professional resume is one that is targeted to the specific job. A professional is someone who takes the time to do a job the right way. The best way to show that you have this quality is to tailor your resume to the specific job. Find areas in the job listing where your qualifications and past duties match those required by the job, and be sure to list them first. Not only does this show conscientiousness on your part, but it goes a long way in selling you to the employer. It says, “here’s what you want, and here’s what I have.” A well-written, neat, professional resume that follows these guidelines will give you the best chance of getting in the door and on the way to landing that job.