Sunday, October 28, 2012

Resume Writing Tip #2 - Formatting your resume

So you have your content, and now it's time to make the presentation. By this I mean formatting your resume in a way that someone who has no background information about you can easily understand you. To accomplish this your resume needs to be broken down in various sections. The type of sections depend on the individual but most people should include "contact information", "education", and "work history" sections. Optional sections could be "skills", "volunteer work", or "military service".

This is where you need to make the determination of the sections you would like to include which will give you the best opportunity to impress the resume reader.

One thing you want to keep thinking about is "keep your resume simple". You don't have to share your life story on your resume, just give the facts and sometimes less content can make more of an impact. For example, if you had a resume with single spacing that filled an entire page it would obviously be too overwhelming. So scale it down, keep plenty of white space, and make it easy to process and understand.

You also should be consistent - never have a section with only one bullet point. It is easy to forget these grammar rules, but bullet points should have two or more. Also check over your resume so words are in a consistent tense. You don't want one bullet point to be "Supervised call center department" and "Evaluating progress reports to keep projects on track". As you can see "Supervised" is in the past tense and "Evaluating" is in the present tense.

Personally I like the verbs to be action oriented and in the past tense. It says what you've done and with authority. Also, ideally it should all fit on one line per bullet point. You don't have much time to get your points across, so you need to make it so your main items are easily understood with a glance.

Once you have your resume formatted you can post your resume free at

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Resume Writing Tip #1 -Your grammar can be a deal breaker

One important item you want to double check before posting your resumes is your grammar. First, start with your spelling. Incorrect spelling or poor grammar will really hurt your chances because it makes you seem uneducated and not detail oriented.

Over the years I've seen resumes and cover letters that looked like they were written by  a second grader. They go straight to the trash can. If you don't have a spell checker then copy and paste your resume into an editor such as Microsoft Word just to do a quick check of the spelling and remove duplicate words. Microsoft word can even identify phrases that are not grammatically correct so that is a bonus, too.

But even if you do that, it would also help to have someone else take a look. A friend, relative, or hired resume writer can help because the automated checkers are not good at telling the difference  between words like "their" and "there". And you definitely want to get your "your" and "you're" correct on your cover letter as well.

You could have the best qualifications in the world, but if you botch the opening line it really sets the tone for the resume reader to look for other mistakes. Do you want someone trying to find mistakes on your resume?

The best thing you can do is to avoid the deal breaker, and this means cleaning up your grammar and spelling.

And yes, this resume tip was checked in Word!