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Resume 101


HR Departments see countless resumes come across their desks. This one, small document acts as your first impression and possibly your only chance to get your foot in the door. In a professional world where companies are drowning in the resumes of potential employees, you need to know the keys to standing out and vital errors to avoid. We’re here to help.

DO:

Tailor your resume. One size does not fit all when it comes to your resume. Different positions come with different requirements, and different companies have different values and priorities. This doesn’t require a complete overhaul each time you apply for a job. Most likely, it just involves some tweaking to make sure you stand out among the masses.

Give Detail. Quantify your accomplishments. Instead of writing “managed a division of XYZ Company”, tell them you “managed a division of 25 employees with a $100,000 budget”. This adds meat to your resume as well as validity to the skill you are claiming to posses.

Proofread Obsessively. This should be a no-brainer. The smallest comma splice or misspelling can land your resume in the trash. If you can’t take the time to pay meticulous attention to your resume, a hiring manager could assume the same about your work product. If she has hundreds of resumes to go through, she’s more than likely throwing out the ones with spelling and grammatical errors. Once you feel like you have thoroughly proofread your resume, have a couple of friends or family members look at it as well. A fresh perspective is a huge asset.

Update Frequently. A resume is often something we disregard until we need it. Inevitably, we get a call asking for a resume for a potential job and we scramble to update. This is where we get sloppy. If you keep your resume updated, it will be available when you need it.

DON’T:

Don’t include irrelevant or unflattering information. You worked as a life guard in high school, and yes that’s technically part of your professional experience, but at thirty-five, you need to find more relevant information to include.

Career experts also recommend leaving off short-term employment, especially if you were let go. Those questions may come up later, and you’ll have a chance to address them with your potential employer. Remember – this is a first impression.

Don’t include unprofessional information. Fancy fonts and unprofessional email addresses are a few things that immediately come to mind. It’s probably not wise to communicate with your potential, new employer via your work email, but that doesn’t mean you should be using coolchick82@aol.com. Take time to create a personal email account using just your name. Also, stick to a standard font to appear more professional and make the document easier to read.

Don’t include an objective or reference section. While there’s nothing blatantly wrong with either of these two portions of a resume, they take up much-needed space and are unnecessary. Most career coaches agree an “objective” section is unnecessary because your objective is already clear and understood:you want a job.

You can also leave off a reference section or the frequently-used “references available upon request” sentence. You should definitely have a list of references ready in case they do ask, but otherwise you’re just taking up valuable space.

Whether you’re on the job hunt or just need to freshen up your resume, these are some important tips to abide by. Don’t just take our word for it.Check out what career experts have to say here, here, and here.