1. Use the name you go by on a day-to-day basis. This is not a legal document and does not require your legal name. DO NOT start an employment conversation by having to explain why the name on your resume is different from the name you want them to call you.
2. DO NOT put your snail mail address on the resume. It makes your resume look old-fashioned, and in these dog days of identity theft, best to keep some things confidential. DO note a location on your places of employment, so employers know generally where you are.
3. DO put a professional sounding email address as part of header. No email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. Use your name as your email address.
4. DO put a cell phone as part of your header. DO NOT use your parent’s home phone and definitely not your work phone number.
5. DO NOT put an objective on your resume. Objectives should be addressed in a cover email, and they should directly relate to the position applied for. You should not need to revise your resume for every position you pursue.
6. DO a chronological resume, not a skill based resume. It is confusing to employers to figure out how recent your experience managing or coding or modeling is. Annoyed employers mean no interview.
7. If you do a skills section, use bullet points and make it brief.
8. If your skills section includes computer skills be specific and honest. Expert in Powerpoint, Word, Excel. Moderate exposure to SAS, SPSS. Exposure to HTML, Java.
9. If you are just graduating with a new degree, BA/BS, MA/MS or PhD, education should be the first section after skills on your resume. If you have been working, even for just one year, education should go after professional experience. DO NOT even mention high school.
10. In the education section be comprehensive and be specific. Make sure you have the degree, the school, your graduation date and your GPA, if 3.2 or above. If you don’t have professional experience, add awards, assistantships, thesis information or internships in the education section. Even course titles can be added. Of course, not Econ 101 but a descriptive title like “Microeconomics in Developing Nations” should be used.
11. In the professional experience section formatting is critical to readability. Company name should be the largest typeface. If the company isn’t well known, DO include a one line description of what the company does. Title, location and employment dates should be part of the header and larger font than the description of the position.
12. If you’ve held multiple positions at the same company, only have the company name once on your resume. DO break up the subsequent sections by your titles. On the company line, your years of employment should be your entire tenure not just the latest position tenure.
13. Four bullet points per position should be adequate.
14. DO NOT put your compensation or your reason for leaving a position on your resume.
15. Tenure at a position does not have to be defined with months. Using just years is fine.
16. DO use some bolding of key words on your resume to attract attention to your strengths.
17. DO NOT put references on your resume and DO NOT put a line saying “references provided upon request.” This is assumed and has been for at least fifteen years.
18. You can end your resume with some personal interests, volunteer activities or hobbies. These can be good conversational kick-offs. DO NOT include your marital status, your height and weight or your birth date.
19. DO try to keep your resume to two pages. If you have a long list of publications or interesting projects you want to expand upon, put them on a separate attachment.
20. DO NOT get fancy with borders and graphs and charts. DO NOT use a photo. A simple word document is best. Even pdfs can be annoying when they don’t download correctly.
21. After you have written your resume, glance at it for 8 seconds…the time a hiring manager devotes to it. Do you see the best you have to offer in those 8 seconds? If not, revise, reformat and use your resume to sell yourself.
The recruiters at Smith Hanley Associates can assist you in all aspects of your job search including resume preparation. Call us at 203-319-4300 for the Northeast and West Coast or 312-629-2400 for the Midwest and South. See our current openings at jobs.smithhanley.com.