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Resume Connection: Resume Tips, #1

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General resume advice


  1. By definition, a résumé is one or two pages. If yours is longer than this, it automatically gets discarded because it demonstrates you aren't a team player.

  2. Ignore the "write a résumé this way" books. One size does not fit all. Instead, first define what job you are after. Then, pull from your background the facts about you that support the fact you are qualified for that job. Assemble these facts into a form that accounts for the fact people have short attention spans these days. Don't butcher it up to fit one page because someone says that's your limit. But, don't make it so long people will trash it.

  3. Eliminate long narratives.

  4. Review, review, review. Then, ask someone else to review it. And someone else. And someone else. Then, review, review, review. After that, you can start really reviewing it. If you used "it's" to mean anything other than "it is," then either take a remedial grammar course or ask someone literate to review your résumé for other screwups.

  5. Quantify, rather than glorify. Use numbers, rather than judgment statements. For example, instead of saying "I reduced downtime dramatically," you can say, "I reduced downtime from 60 hours a month to 3."

  6. Don't list every job you've ever had. Nobody cares that you were the lead broom pusher at Burgers R Us now that you are applying for an upper management job. Or really any job not related to the kind of work you did so long ago.

  7. If you have a lot of awards, summarize and then provide a URL where the reader can find these online--provided the awards are related to your field. Honors from professional societies, certifications, certificates of completion, etc., are good.

  8. Make a list of all of the courses you have taught and seminars you have given. Put that online, as well. Combine with the list above, if you don't have much material. Do not include items not related to your line of work.

  9. Don't put "Resume of" at the top of your résumé. Not only is it spelled wrong, but it is inappropriate to add. Besides you are insinuating the recipient isn't bright enough to figure out that a short document summarizing your experience and qualifications is your résumé. Bad move.

  10. Use plenty of bullets and white space.

  11. Do not list "references available upon request." That is dopey and it does not go over well. Bring letters of reference with you to the interview and hand them to the HR person.

  12. Before sending out your résumé, read these two books:

  • Don't Send a Résumé

  • What Color is Your Parachute

13. Don't use a résumé mailing campaign as a substitute for a job search. It's not.

14. When you are networking with people, don't hand them your résumé. Not only is this considered rude, but they are unlikely to read it. Also, it derails you from giving a brief statement of what you do after asking what they do and what their needs are. You can always send a résumé if someone asks for it--don't do so unsolicited.


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