Judgment of the Court – 7 tips for making an excellent résumé

It’s time to sell yourself. To an employer, that is. When in the job-searching process, your goal is to make the employer believe that you are the best candidate for the job. But employers don’t have time to sit down with every prospective person and ask what their strengths and experiences are. That’s where a résumé comes in. But a résumé needs to be put together in a professional manner. Depending on the business, an employer might stop reading your résumé after the first two lines or not even look at it depending on its format. So how can you hold their attention to the end of the page?

1. If you can write a condensed summary of your professional background, skills and attributes, then do it. A summary at the beginning can give your résumé focus and let the employer know right up front what you’re going to focus on.

2. Be very clear about your goals and objectives and also the position that you are targeting. It should be easy to tell what kind of job you are applying for.

3. If you’re fresh out of school and don’t have a lot of real work experience yet, you will want to put your focus on the educational advantages that you have. Degree, major, minor, GPA, emphasis, special classes and honors received are all important to include. Once you have more job experience, the education part of your résumé can be moved towards the bottom.

4. Include references. And I’m not talking about your first grade teacher and the sweet old woman that you sit next to at church. Include the phone numbers and e-mail addresses of people that have some credentials that can be valued, but also make sure you let the person know that you’re going to use them as a reference. It won’t look very professional when the employer calls and your reference is completely caught off guard and has nothing good about you prepared to say.

5. Be specific, not vague. Talk about your accomplishments and what you’re good at (That apply to the job. We don’t need to know that you’re a great bubble blower). Don’t lie or stretch the truth! Chances are that you will get caught and lose all credibility.

6. Use consistent fonts that are easy to read. Underling section titles and bulleting information can help with the reading flow of your résumé, but don’t go crazy with the bullets everywhere and different types of bullets. Keep it looking clean.

7. Include contact information! You might be the best person possible for this job, but if they can’t easily find your contact information or if it isn’t there at all, you’re not going to get called! You’re generally going to hear a statement along the lines of “Don’t call us, we’ll call you,” and you need to have accurate contact information so you can get that interview you’re wanting.

Do you have any other tips to help people through the résumé writing process? If you are an employer, what things always make you trash a résumé from the first glance?

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