Most aspects of a basic resume are common sense. A basic resume contains five main categories: “Header”, “Objective”, “Summary of Qualifications”, “Employment History”, and “Education”. What is contained in those five main categories will determine whether your resume will subject you to further review or simply placed in the “kept on file” pile.
There are simply some things that you should never do or place into a resume and some things that you absolutely should do when you are constructing this document. Let’s cover my “Top Ten” list of resume quick tips.
1) Proofread. Then proofread again, and then proofread again. Be sure to have others proofread and critique your resume. You will be amazed how a fresh set of eyes will instantly find a typographical or grammatical error that was hidden to you.
2) Always be sure the information provided in your resume (or a job application) is correct. As part of hiring a person, information will be verified. Most job applications contain a clause that your signature will assure that all information provided is correct. If data is incorrect, or missing, it can lead to loss of a job.
3) DO NOT include photographs. These resumes are treated with asbestos gloves, as no recruiter wants to handle this document. Remember that employers need to abide by the rules/laws of Equal Employment Opportunity… which leads to #4.
4) DO NOT mention your age, race, religion, sex, national origin, etc. These facts should not factor in an employment decision, therefore, should not be included on any resume.
5) Make your resume visibly attractive. Leave plenty of white space on the page and use generous margins. I have a theory regarding resumes, “When in doubt leave it out”. I hate the look of most modern resumes that are cluttered in appearance and for a recruiter unbearable to read.
6) Limit length of your resume to no more than two pages. If two pages are used, number the second page as “page 2”. Also, think hard, regarding whether you actually need two pages. You will probably find that a better-developed Cover Letter will eliminate the necessity of a second page.
7) Use bullets to highlight accomplishments. Use only 2 or 3 lines (at most!) to describe each. If, through action words you can limit the accomplishment to one line, than that is preferred.
8) Use traditional typeface. Unless you are going for a graphic arts type of position, traditional will be always be better than exotic.
9) DO NOT use a font size smaller than 10 points. DO NOT use a font size larger than 12 points. Fonts between 10-12 are traditional business type size; therefore, they should be used for resumes.
10) DO NOT include why you are leaving a job. If you must provide this information upfront use the cover letter for this statement. Leave it off the resume.
I hope these quick tips help you in constructing your basic resume. Constructing a basic resume is not complicated if you use common sense and place yourself in the eyes of a recruiter.
As always, best of luck in your job search.
The following has been prepared for the general information of WNYJobs readers. It is not meant to provide advice with respect to any specific legal or policy matter and should not be acted upon without verification by the reader.
WNY Human Resources Professional
Feel free to contact Joe Stein regarding questions or comments at: