What do you want the resume to accomplish? Usually a resume should be considered a tool to “get your foot in the door.” It should not be expected to present ALL of your credentials. Keep in mind:

Your resume has about 3 seconds to get the reader’s attention. It will probably be reviewed along with a stack of other resumes; know what the company is looking for and present that information clearly and concisely. Key words should be prominent and frequent.

Forget the “one page” rule. Somewhere, someone said a resume should only be one page. If you are just graduating from college, then that rule might be a good one for you. However, if you have 8 or more years of relevant experience, 2 to 3 pages would be more appropriate. Plan a resume that shows what you have done, without unnecessary details, which can be covered in the interview later. For example, lists of technical publications are generally not helpful until the company has shown an initial interest; instead, indicate “list of technical publications available upon request.”

Your resume is not only the first impression you will give; at the point the company reviews it, it is usually the ONLY impression.

Run spell checker. This sounds like a ridiculous reminder, but even in this day of computers that tell you when you have misspelled a word, there are still resumes that we see that have misspellings. Run spell checker!!

Have someone else proof read your resume for grammatical errors and typos that spell checker might not catch.

Use paper stock that makes a good impression.
Proofread and edit your resume until it is perfect; then have someone else whose writing skills you admire, also proof and edit it.

Choose a resume format that is clear and easy to read.

Although you may have a personal preference for one format over another, the one you choose should be the one that is going to get you the result you want: an interview.

Over the years we have found that our clients respond significantly faster and more positively to resumes that are written in reverse chronological formats, than skill summary resumes

Skill summary resumes which list paragraphs describing the things you have done and what you have accomplished, leave many questions unanswered, such as WHEN you did these things and for how long. And, while it is true that the person reading your resume could call you to find out the answers, if they are going through an entire stack of resumes, it might be easier to put it aside to call and then to forget about it entirely. Make it easy for the reader to see what you have done and for how long.

The following format has worked very well for us and our clients seem to have a clear preference for it:

Resume ofYour NameYour address and phone number, etc.
Objective: Companies like objectives; it shows you have some clear goals. Be sure however, that your objective is consistent with the position for which you are applying, or it may prove to be more problematic than helpful

Education: Clearly state your most recent degree, the institution from which you received it, and the year. If you have no college degree, omit this category. Do not list every course you have ever taken….


Year first started to present: Your Current Company

Month/year to present Current title: Detail your responsibilities using verbs (i.e. what did you DO, not vague words like “I was responsible for….”). What was the product?

Month/year to Month/year Title: same as above.

Year to year Your previous company

Same format as above

Personal: This used to be included with resumes; it is no longer necessary.

Target your resume to the position and/or company where you will be sending it.