The other day, a friend asked me for help on their resume and I took a minute to write out a coupla tips on how to fix up your resume. I used to own several different businesses and there were certain things I looked for on resumes, things that would catch my attention for the good or for the bad. Here's a short list of some of those.
Rule #1: No matter what, always have a 1-page resume. Staples on a resume suck, and it is inevitable that a second page will always get lost. And really, who wants to read a 2-page resume?
Rule #2: Show your personality. I'm hiring a person, not a piece of paper. I've got to know that person will fit into my team. What are their interests? What do they do in their off-time? You know the one thing that always grabbed employers on my own resume? Deejay. It was only a 2 hour weekly show in college but all of my past employers asked specifically about it even though it had nothing to do with the techie job I was applying for.
Rule #3: Nice paper? Who cares, I really don't. Neither do most employers. Needless to say, don't turn in a coffee-stained resume or a dirty one. Just make it neat and clean.
Rule #4: Never put toooooo much information. If you ask someone about their day, do you want a 3 hour story or a basic idea of what happened that day? An employer is looking for skill sets, salary requirements and future abilities. Not an itinerary of everything you did at your jobs.
Rule #5: Keep your font choices to a minimum. No fancy fonts. No colors. No All Caps. Keep them simple and plain, easily readable.
Rule #6: References, not necessary in all cases. Center a statement at the bottom like this (References available upon request) or something similar. If you want to include a second page of references, that's fine. Be sure to include your name in big letters at the top in case it should get separated from the resume.
Rule #7: Skip rule #7, it's silly and I never followed it anyway.
Rule #8: Keep it general. (Paper filing, Copying, Spreadsheet Updating, Making Coffee, Spit Shining Shoes) should be simply (Clerical Duties).
Rule #9: Drop Names. If you worked directly for the VP of Sales, mention it. That's sorta important. If you were the VP of Sales, mention how many people worked for you. This is always impressive, even if you're applying at Starbucks.
Rule #10: Dates. I keep it general, with just years. (2001-2003) (2003-2004) You can include months if you want, no big deal. Employers are looking for general ideas of your time frames at other jobs because that approximates your experience.
That's it, and happy job hunting. And if, for whatever reason, you don't get the job you're applying for … don't blame me. Maybe it's your lack of skill sets or that booger hanging out of your nose. Maybe I'll cover interviewing one day.