2.09.2015

Resumes...



Writing Your Resume
It’s a hard truth: your resume will usually be the first and only opportunity most employers have to get to know you and your skills. Because of the volume of resumes they receive, most employers will only give your resume seven to ten seconds to make your case for you. You not only have to make a great first impression — you have to do it fast!
Fortunately, there are many ways to craft a resume that strategically highlights your skills and makes you and your qualifications stand out from the crowd. The following "Do’s and Don’ts" will help you develop a dynamic, powerful resume that will enable you to sail through the employer’s initial ten-second screening process.
Remember, you can have one-on-one, personalized assistance every step of the way.  Just contact the Career Services Department at 301-766-3708 for help.

Ten Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume
The Do’s
1.    Place your strongest material at the top of your resume under the Summary of Qualifications section.  Make sure you include your most impressive, impactful achievements and qualifications in this "primetime" space. It’s where the reader’s eyes will focus first.
2.    Do the Summary of Qualifications section last so that you are sure to highlight your most influential accomplishments after you compose your individual job duties.  Write it when the rest of your resume is complete and you’ve already decided what your strongest qualifications are.
3.    Give the most weight to your most recent (past ten years) professional position. The section of the resume for your most recent position should contain more bulleted accomplishments than your previous positions. For each position, rank the accomplishments in order of decreasing relevance to the employer you are targeting.
4.    Quantify your impact on the organizations you have worked for. If you reduced expenses, say by how much or by what percentage. If you supervised a project, say how many were on your team. Always ask yourself how you helped the organization, and insert the numbers that demonstrate that impact if possible.
5.    Pay as much attention to your resume’s design as you do to its content. Use bullets or other appropriate symbols, insert rules (horizontal lines) to separate major sections, and use a 10-to-12-point conservative typeface for the body text of the resume.
6.    Include honors, relevant volunteer experiences, and professional licenses or certifications in your resume, particularly if they are relevant to the position you seek. These "extras" can sometimes be the factor that wins you the interview.
7.    Edit and proofread mercilessly. Edit your resume to reduce fluff and make every word count. Set your resume aside for a few days and then come back to it again with "fresh eyes." Misspelled words and grammatical mistakes are the proverbial kiss of death in a resume. Eliminate them.
8.    Place your education after your experience only if that experience is related to the jobs you are applying to, if not then keep your education listed before experience. If the degree you earned is the most relevant or impressive detail of your education section, highlight it. If the school you attended is the selling point, emphasize it.
9.    Use a two-page resume if appropriate. Two-page resumes are fine (and in some cases, preferable) if you’ve been in the workforce for about ten years or more or have particularly impressive work experience.
10. Try to email the final resume to the hiring authority when possible.  Emailing is faster and more efficient than mailing in today’s job market.
The Don’ts
1.    Don’t make things up or inflate your accomplishments, level of responsibility, or skills.
2.    Don’t confuse your resume with your autobiography. While there are many pieces of information that your resume must have, its primary purpose is to focus on the aspects of your life and career that address the employer’s needs.
3.    Don’t use an Objective statement because more often than not, separate objective lines are too general and take up valuable space at the top of the resume that could be better used to focus on the skills prospective employers need. Use your cover letter to explain your career objectives.
4.    Don’t use pronouns ("I") or articles ("a," "the"). They detract from the force of your accomplishments, slow down the reader, and take up precious space.
5.    Don’t provide personal data. Marital status, date of birth, height/weight, and similar non-work-related information can be used to illegally discriminate against applicants, and they rarely add anything of value to your qualifications.
6.    Don’t repeat the same action words throughout the resume. Instead of using the verb developed or led over and over, pull out your thesaurus and mix in terms like accelerateddelivereddirectedestablishedinitiated, or reengineered.
7.    Don’t leave out dates.  Please list the month and year for each job in your experience section.
8.    Don’t use more detail than you need to convey your accomplishments. Dense, paragraph-sized bullet points make for tough reading. A good rule of thumb is to limit each bullet to one to two lines of text with three to five accomplishments for each position.
9.    Don’t use cliche`d adjectives like dynamic or self-starting. Let the details of your resume and cover letter convince the employer that you have these qualities.

10. Don’t make your resume a list of your job duties — make it a list of your accomplishments! Weave your job responsibilities into your descriptions of your accomplishments.

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