There are literally thousands of sites and sources you could visit for resume writing and formatting tips, and it really can be so confusing. “Who is right? What type of resume is the most effective? Do I actually list my references or note they are available upon request? How far back should I go in listing my past employment?”
Regardless of all the articles and advice you may read, there are 5 simple, basic, and effective rules you should follow no matter what to ensure your resume is the best it can be:
- KEEP IT CURRENT: Always, always, always ensure the information on your resume is updated! Has your phone number changed? Do you have a new address? Did you change your e-mail address? Are you actually still working at the most recent position listed on your resume or did you leave last month? Did you graduate? An employer wants a current snapshot of you, not a picture of you from 6 months ago. They are expecting to be able to reach you with the contact information you provide. If the contact information you provide is a disconnected number or an undeliverable email address, chances are, the Recruiter will move on to the next resume that pique his/her interest.
- KEEP IT CLEAN: Save the bells and whistles for your holiday greeting cards. An employer just wants to see the facts about a candidate, not a piece of art. Hold off on using fancy fonts, clip art, self-portraits, and bright colors. In fact, I would not recommend using any font color other than black. If you feel you must, however, keep it dark blue or dark gray. Keep the font size between 10 and 12. (It’s okay to make your name a larger size).
- KEEP IT CONSISTENT: This is huge! Keep the format and style of your resume consistent throughout the entire resume. Font size and color, spacing between lines, bullet point style, margins, dates of employment format, etc. all need to be consistent. For example, if you put a period at the end of one bullet point, make sure you put a period at the end of all bullet points. If you list the dates of employment as, “March 2009 through December 2012” on one job, do not list the dates as, “04/2007-11/2008” for the next job you list. If you started out listing your job responsibilities in past tense, do not switch to present tense for the next bullet point. Keeping your document consistent makes it easier for an employer to read and digest the information you are presenting.
- KEEP IT COMPLETE: Remember, an employer does not necessarily know what your job duties are or were based solely on your job title; so never assume anything. Always list at least a few of your main responsibilities under the company name and job title.
- KEEP IT CORRECT: Please don’t ruin your chances of being considered for an opportunity simply because you did not take the time to spell check your resume, double check for typos, or because of sloppy grammar mistakes. If your resume is up against another candidate’s resume, yours could go to the wayside because the other resume did not have these types of errors. Believe it or not, employers pay just as much attention to these things as anything else on your resume. For example, what kind of message does it send if you write, “Strong attention to detail,” and follow that statement with a typo or spelling error? Paying attention to seemingly little things will make a big difference!
Keep these 5 “C”s in mind, and you could get your next callback about a coveted career opportunity!
About: Lori Triplett is a Recruiter and Account Manager at Staffing Solutions Enterprises where she specializes in temporary and temporary to permanent office administration staffing needs. Lori has a strong desire to build professional relationships with her clients and meet their staffing needs and to simultaneously help job seekers grow professionally and take steps toward reaching their career goals.