The do’s and don’ts of resume building, plus a little more
Building a resume is sometimes one of the most frustrating tasks that students and even adults have to do. A resume is basically a quick description about your entire life: your education, work experience, leadership roles, skills and so on…. What most people don’t realize is that it’s not just about making sure that you meet all the above criteria and just put something because you have it. Its all about how you present your resume and the content of it. I’m going to offer my tips and advice on proper resume building so that you can stop worrying about this aspect of your life and be able to focus on other things.
1.) Don’t put irrelevant things on your resume
There’s only so many things that you can put on 1 sheet of paper. You probably have a lot of things that you want to put on your resume. Employers will not care how many years you were a babysitter or how many lawns that you cut over the summer so my advice is to steer clear from placing summer and mediocre jobs like that on your resume and place relevant material instead. The more relatable it is to whatever field you’re going into, the better.
2.) Microsoft word® is your best friend
Even though I said that you can only put so many things on a sheet of paper, a little goes a long way if you know how to format well in Microsoft word. Learn how to use margins so that you can fit more words onto the page by reducing the margin spacing. Using smaller font sizes such as 11 point allows you to fit more material on your page. In addition, it may not occur to you but the type of font that you use has a big effect on the way your resume is perceived. Studies have shown that using serif based fonts such as Georgia and Times New Roman is more pleasing to the eyes when reading long blocks of text. You definitely want the resume to be an easy read for whoever is looking at it, so make sure you change your fonts. It really is the little things that count.
3.) Be short, to the point and use action verbs
Since you can only put so much on the resume, being concise will be the best way to get your message across to the person reading about what you did exactly in a specific role, be at another job or in a leadership position. I’ll show you a bad example and a good example of what I mean by this:
a) Did work in a lab, so I learned multiple lab procedures and how to properly manage materials and use different machines.
b) Helped sell clothes to customers by providing great customer service and being a great salesman.
c) Worked with a group of students to make our organization raise lots of money for “So and so” philanthropy so that we could be recognized on campus.
Notice how a lot of those were really vague and didn’t say much. I’ll rewrite those in a more proper way that you may want to structure your resume around:
a) I’m going to break the previous quote into two more detailed descriptions.
a. Learned (insert acronym of national organization) lab management rules and regulations.
b. Analyzed samples using (insert machine name) while following proper standard procedures.
b) Increased sales of Summer 2013 flannel designs by 20% over the course of one month.
c) Raised over $20,000 dollars for “So and so” philanthropy.
See the difference? I was short and to the point so you knew exactly what I did, no beating around the bush. In addition, notice how I used action verbs. “Learned, analyzed, increased, raised.” Use words like these because you need to tell your employer what you it is you actually did.
If you follow these standard guidelines, you’re well on your way to having a solid resume. Some additional tips is to have someone else proofread your resume to check for formatting and spelling errors because they will most likely be there. And after you check your resume for mistakes, check it again. It never hurts to keep revising it to make it better. This piece of paper helps you find a job after all.
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