Résumé writing is both an art and a science. While there are few hard and fast rules, an experienced professional résumé developer located in a city such as Worcester can help you steer clear of the many pitfalls.
Creating a clear, concise, attractive and persuasive resume that contains well prioritized data should be the goal of a professional résumé writer. Your résumé will be competing against hundreds, perhaps thousands, of others from Worcester and across the country. Your résumé must clearly portray you in the most favorable light. It needs to show that you are the most appropriate choice for the job opening. In order to do this, here are some best practices from a professional résumé writer:
1. Employ Visually Appealing Formatting: The first impression a résumé makes on a hiring manager is generally the most lasting. Large blocks of uninterrupted text, small margins, text that is very small, or an abundance of bolding, italics, and “designer” fonts make documents difficult to read. Use only one font (preferably Times New Roman or Arial) and never in a point size lower than 11 (10 points for Arial). Bolding should be left to the header information (name, address, phone number, email) and subheadings within the document (Profile, Work History, Education). Your industry or field will determine whether the résumé format will be
conservative or more stylish.
2. Maintain a Sharp Focus: An effective résumé should indicate to the reader within ten seconds, or less, your targeted position and qualifications that match the opening. It’s not enough to list schooling, work history, and activities. Hiring managers will not thoroughly read a résumé to cull needed information. Your résumé must provide this data quickly and effectively. Qualifications Summaries include information as to what is sought and your qualifications that are related to
this. Employment History, Accomplishments, and Education build upon what is provided in the Qualifications Summary.
3. Avoid Objective Statements: In today’s tight economy, hiring managers are not interested in what you want (i.e. Seeking a position that will fully utilize my college education and provide for sufficient advancement within the industry). Instead, they seek candidates that clearly state what they can do for the targeted company in terms of cutting costs, increasing profits, and enhancing productivity. Hiring manager’s take note of applicants who place the company’s needs above their
own. Avoid an obvious objective statement.
4. Prioritize Information: A résumé reveals your professional and academic background as it applies to the targeted position being sought and in reverse-chronological order (the last job worked or school attended is listed first within that section). If your Education is an important qualification, it’s presented before Work History, not last on the document. If your real-world experience is valued, then it comes before Education. Showcase your special skills immediately after the opening summary. The favorable format is chronological, but gaps are best camouflaged by a functional resume.
5. Showcase Accomplishments: Hiring managers will not read every line of a résumé to determine what you have to offer, especially if it’s buried within dense blocks of text. Your résumé will have special sections indicating professional or academic achievements. A strong résumé will quantify these accomplishments. It’s not enough to state: Increased productivity within the department. Hiring Managers will be looking for more. A better way to present the data is: Increased productivity 75%
within three-months by retraining staff on latest technical software advances. Providing percentages/dollar figures and time frames strengthen achievements.
6. Exclude Non-Relevant Data: Hobbies and interests unless directly related to your current job search are not included–such activities do not enhance your candidacy. Birth dates, religious affiliations, race, social security numbers, and marital data should never be included, unless the résumé is submitted to an overseas company where such data is standard.
7. Develop Appropriate Length: There is no one correct page length for a résumé. The document is as long as it has to be in order to provide a clear and effective picture of you. Professionals with many years of experience will most likely have two pages. To force this data into one page or exclude important information in order to reach an arbitrary length will only dilute candidacy. The key is to provide only that data which is relevant to the current career goal. When this rule is followed, appropriate page length is always reached. Follow the rule of two pages – maximum.
8. Do Not Personalize the Document or Use Casual Language: Modern résumés are business documents and are never personalized with use of “I” “my” “we” or other personal pronouns. Your résumé is always professional and businesslike–slang is always excluded.
9. Exclude Repetitive Data: Once information has been provided in a résumé whether it’s in the Qualifications Summary, Career Accomplishments section, or Professional Experience section, it is not repeated elsewhere. Hiring managers tire of redundancy and feel you are padding the résumé to reach a certain page length.
10. Ensure Flawless Spelling/Grammar and Correct Verb Tense: A résumé must be flawless and verb tense must be accurate. For example, duties for current positions are always listed in present tense; completed duties/accomplishments or prior jobs are always listed in past tense. Proofread, proofread, proofread!