Resume Writing Tips
Putting together a resume can be a daunting experience — some people may feel uncomfortable with their level of job experience or education, and others may not know how to start organizing their resume to put their best foot forward. Simplicity, honesty, and an eye towards what your potential employer is looking for are good guiding principles, but there are a few other things you can do to make sure your resume won't end up in the circular file.
Most importantly, keep it brief and simple. Hold yourself to a one-page maximum, and prepare your references on a separate sheet. Keep your listed experience relevant and task-oriented. A big-name company or university may impress some employers, but equally important is how you describe your job function. Employers want to be sure that your experience was relevant and that you yourself have a clear idea of your abilities. Most hiring managers are busy people — or like to think that they are — so make sure that everything on your resume is self-explanatory and easy to understand.
Presentation is also important. Experiment with a few fonts and find one that you feel suits you. It should be a distinctive font, but by no means showy. It helps to add some touches that will make your resume stand out. Use a high quality paper as opposed to the standard printer and photocopier paper commonly used. Not only will your resume look different from the others, it will feel different in an employer's hand — which just might help give you the edge.
Avoid dishonesty when putting together your resume. A little stretching here and there isn't necessarily fatal, but a reference that doesn't check out could easily ruin your chances. Also, the last thing you want is to land a job you're genuinely unqualified for. Trust in your actual abilities and experience, put these qualities in a flattering light, and you're more likely end up with a job that really suits you.
It can be helpful to consult a friend or colleague. If you're on good terms with your employer, you may want to ask them why they hired you. Find out what made you and your resume stand out, and see if they have advice on how to describe what you did for their company. The odds are that they have similar priorities to the employer at your next job, making them a valuable resource.
If you have a friend or relative who's had a lot of professional experience, ask them to take a look at your resume and see if they have any suggestions. There are also basic resume formats available online and in job search guidebooks that can help you to get started — or put on the finishing touches.