A resume is essentially an advertisement which highlights your strengths as a job
candidate. Your resume will be used by employers as a screening device to help them
decide whether or not to interview you. It is often the best resumes, and not
necessarily the best candidates, that survive the screening process (Asher, 1992).
Therefore, it is important to put in the time and effort necessary to make your resume
effective. The following are ten tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your
1. Target and tailor your resume
typically spend less than 30 seconds scanning your resume to determine if it's worth
further consideration. Therefore, be sure your resume is organized and attractive enough
to pass the test. Predict your targeted employers needs, then tailor your resume to
match those needs. Ask yourself: "Why should this employer hire me?" Yes,
it takes extra work and time to revise your resume each time you apply for employment; but
in the long run the effort is well worth the results - getting the position you want.
2. Select a format that
best suits your qualifications -
For a discussion of resume
formats, [click here]. Make sure the format you select is complete, containing all
information relevant to your education, work experience, and career objectives.
3. Stress relevant
accomplishments and marketable skills
- Successful job
candidates are often those who have developed "marketable" skills relevant to
the job for which they are applying, and who are able to present these skills and
accomplishments effectively in their resume.
4. Be specific and offer proof
- Set yourself apart from other job seekers by being a proof-giver, not
just a claimer (Bolles, 1995). Avoid generalities and try to include concrete,
quantifiable data in your resume.
5. Be honest and accurate
- Always be honest. Project the real you. Be confident with who you
are and what you have to offer. Do not inflate your work experience. If you have to
misrepresent your qualifications to get a job, you probably shouldn't be in that job
6. Omit personal pronouns
and personal data
- Avoid using personal pronouns (I, we, etc)
and personal information (date of birth, marital status, # of children, etc) in your
resume. Do not list controversial items.
7. Do not go beyond one
page unless absolutely necessary
- Eliminate information that
is not directly relevant to the job for which you are currently applying (it is not
necessary to list every job you have ever had). Be specific and concise. Use phrases
rather than prose and complete sentences. Minimize personal data. Do not list
8. Proofread, Proofread,
Proofread! - Be sure spelling, punctuation, and grammar are
flawless. Even minor errors create a bad impression and may cost you the job.
In addition to proofreading yourself, have other people proofread for you.
9. Use quality paper and
reproduction services -
The paper and reproduction services
used for your resume should create a professional look and should never distract from its
content. Use a high quality resume paper (at least 20 pound weight) in off-white,
ivory, or light tan color. Use the same paper for your resume and cover
letter. Print your text using a laser printer.
10. Include a customized
cover letter - A cover letter is used to introduce yourself to
an employer and adds a personal touch to your resume.