A critical step in the leap from newly graduated to gainfully employed, the resume represents a potential employer’s first glimpse at a job candidate—meaning that the quality of one’s resume can profoundly impact one’s chances of scoring a highly coveted interview. When designing your resume, you may either select a template from those included with your word processing software or create your own from scratch. Whichever method you choose, your resume should reflect the Three C’s of resume-building: conciseness, cleanliness, and consistency.
First and foremost, your resume should be short and to-the-point. With the exception of professionals who have years of work experience under their belts, job-seekers should limit their resumes to a single page. When organizing your resume, list education history first, followed by any training or certifications relevant to the job for which you are applying. Next, list your work experience, including brief descriptions of your duties under each company for which you have been employed. If you choose to include a statement of personal objective, be specific, addressing exactly what you feel you can contribute to the company to which you are applying.
Once you have decided what information to include in your resume, it’s time to think about layout. To achieve a clean aesthetic, design your resume to include enough white space that the page does not appear to be cluttered with text. Employing double-spacing between entries is a good way to create this effect. Perhaps most importantly, use bullets rather than paragraphs when detailing your education history, training and certifications, and work experience.
Once you have drafted your resume, double-check your spelling and grammar. Your word processor’s spell check function can help you to catch glaring mistakes, but don’t rely on this resource alone. Rather, read through your resume several times to check for instances of word misusage (think: to vs. too vs. two) and subject-verb agreement issues. You should also check for consistent font type and size, ensuring that you have used a highly readable font, such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri, in 10-12 point size throughout.
If you are submitting your resume electronically, convert your document to PDF format prior to submission. Because documents can fail to convert properly between different versions of word processing programs, this step will ensure that your carefully designed aesthetic is maintained on the receiving end. If your employer has designated a particular format for the file name of your resume, be sure to adhere to this recommendation. Otherwise, use a format such as “JohnSmithResume.PDF.”
Think of your resume as an item of clothing, on the employment market, a business suit is always preferable to a bathrobe. The extra effort to dress up your resume can go a long way toward increasing your chances of a successful job search.
This article is brought to you by Staffing Kansas City, a full-service Kansas City employment agency that provides contract-to-hire, direct hire and contract placement services.