It seems I’m the go-to guy for resumé help. I’ve had a couple friends ask me in the last few days to review and comment on theirs so I decided to collect my thoughts here as most people make the same mistakes.
- Make sure your name at the top of the resume is HUGE. We’re talking 24 point bold font here folks.
- Always list your education at the very top starting with the most prestigious degree and moving down to certifications (ie. Doctor -> Masters -> Bachelor -> Minor/Associates -> Certificates).
- If your GPA is around or over a 3.5 for a specific degree then put it on there. If you put it for one degree you should put it for all or not put it at all (ie. 3.3 for Masters and 3.8 for Bachelors). Make sure to put the scale. Most schools are on a 4.0, but not all, so put something like (GPA 3.5/4.0).
- If you have a ton of skills or work experience then list a “Skills Summary” at the top of your resumé so that people can quickly look over your qualifications and decide whether to read your entire resumé from there.
- Your resumé can be longer than 1 page. However, if your resumé is more than one page be sure to put a footer with your name, page number and number of pages.
- Have at least two people read it over and look for spelling and grammar errors.
- Don’t embellish titles. “Sr. Engineer of Coffee Brewing” doesn’t make your job at Starbucks sound any better than it actually was.
- Don’t simply list “Microsoft Office” if you are a complete wizard at Access or Excel. Specifically mention how good you are with these two applications since every job on the planet uses them.
- Only list jobs that are applicable to the job you are looking for, but be sure to list at least three prior jobs.
- Include references in your resume if at all possible. This expedites HR‘s ability to get you into an interview.
- If you have an Object on your resumé keep it simple. Don’t mention you want to learn new things or advance your career. You wouldn’t be looking for a job if you didn’t want those things. A good example would be “To obtain a job in web programming, which leverages my knowledge of PHP and MySQL”. Make sure to change your Object depending on the job you are applying for.
- If you are sending your resume electronically it is a good idea to include more than one format. PDF, Word DOC and plain text are good choices. If you work on the web (ie. designer/programmer) then create an HTML version with links to your previous work or screenshots. If you think your personal views on your personal site might hinder you getting a job then purchase a separate domain for your resumé. In other words, don’t post blog entries about how you want to kill people at work on the same site you host your resumé.
Lots of people send cover letters to. I never have because I think they’re corny. I would consider those optional. And, for Pete’s sake, do NOT write it after you’ve had a few beers one night and then start sending it out (inside joke).