Tailor each resume to the job you are applying for. Include the most relevant facts about yourself and your skills. Write your resume using vocabulary common to the industry, company, or occupation. You can learn that vocabulary from the people in your network and from trade journals, forums, and blogs.
Start by writing down the skills listed on the job description. Then figure out something specific that each skill connects to, such as the kinds of problems you might have to solve. When you write about your skills and experiences in your resume, show how they relate to the current job by the words you use.
Skill statements effectively describe your experiences and skills to your potential employers. Statements should answer who, what, where, and how questions. Whenever possible, include numbers and words that demonstrate your experience and show results of your actions.
Each section below has more detailed information about specific areas of your resume.
Include at least 15 years of employment, if you have been working for that long. Depending on how many jobs you have held, it may be a pretty long list. You may want to have longer descriptions for jobs that are most relevant to the job you are applying for, and shorter descriptions for others. Since most resumes should fit on one page, use concise bullet points.
Include dates for each job, but only the beginning and ending dates by month and year. If you have any gaps in employment, be prepared to explain why and show how you used your time.
The other option is to place your military service in a separate section. This is effective if you are a Reserve or National Guard member and held jobs outside of the military.
Because many employers read resumes quickly, the order of the information on your resume is very important. Some industries prefer certain resume formats. Talk to people in your network to find out how you should format your resume. If you are still unsure, use the chronological format, as it is the most common.
- Includes most important educational accomplishments
- Provides work history in a chronological format
- May include classes or projects relevant to the job you are applying for
- Uses the best of chronological and functional formats
- Displays skills related to the job at the top, while also providing work history
- Connects skills, experience, and work history
- Lists work experience from most recent to least recent
- Good for people with recent related experience or no breaks in employment
- Most commonly used resume format
- Can make gaps in employment harder to explain
- Relates your skills to the employer's needs
- Good for people with a broad range of experiences
- Skill statements must be more descriptive as they are not presented in the context of a job
Regardless of how you format your resume, there should be no spelling or grammar errors. It should be clean, neat, and easy to read. Don't use flashy paper or odd fonts.
The length of your resume will depend on your experience and the requirements of the job you are applying for. Potential employers may be turned off by wordy or unnecessarily long resumes. Try to keep your resume to one or two pages.
There are several ways to present your resume online, as well. LinkedIn is the most popular, and can also be an effective networking tool. You can also create an attractive, professional online resume at: visualcv.com.
Source: Excerpted from Oregon Career Information System, © 2011, University of Oregon, All Rights Reserved