Friday, September 18, 2009

Resume Writing Tips That Pay (Part 3)

Whether it was a misspelled word, the wrong prefix on a word, or fragmented sentence, many hiring managers have a zero tolerance when it comes to resume mistakes. Following are more resume writing tips inspired from things seen on people’s resumes during my career in human resources.

Tip: When two numbers are used back-to-back to identify a person, place or thing, write one as a number and the other as a word. Example: “There are 4 two-lane highways in this county.”

Tip: When writing a resume or cover letter, do not refer to mysterious sources such as: "Leading experts agree….," "A search of current literature indicates…," "Several professors questioned from major universities said they believe….." If footnotes are in order, as with some technical or scientific references, it is acceptable to include them separately.

Tip: Write your resume in response to these common problems:

  • Lack of simplicity;
  • Use of passive voice;
  • Use of faulty grammar and punctuation;
  • Failure to accurately proofread text.
Tip: When preparing to send a digital resume and cover letter via email or to a website:

  • Ensure use of a consistent objective statement;
  • Tailor your text to employer’s stated objectives;
  • Be creative; your resume should be interesting to read;
  • Write in an “active” voice with a friendly style;
  • Use a bulleted format to highlight important points;
  • Again, proofreading cannot be stressed enough.
Tip: When writing your resume and cover letter, think in terms of “sound bites.” Rule of thumb: 80% of your content can be read and retained within 30 seconds.

Tip: Be sure your resume and cover letter:

  • Present the “right” message;
  • Are coherent; and easy to read;
  • Have variety;
  • Are upbeat and positive;
  • Are concise;
  • Use well-placed emphasis on important points.
Tip: Use only “clean” language. Even if you personally know the person to whom you are sending the resume, always, always, always presume that e-mail messages containing your attached cover letter and resume will be forwarded. Do not use any off-color, sexist, profane, or otherwise objectionable language or reference. I cannot think of a good reason why such language should appear in any business communication.

Tip: When formatting your resume, make it readable by:

  • Writing the main points with bullets;
  • Keeping your text visually simple;
  • Spacing the points so they can be easily read;
  • Using a commonly accepted business-oriented font (e.g., New Times Roman, Ariel, etc);
Making selective use of “bold” or italics to highlight only very important points. Many people are tempted to squeeze words into every available space. Thoughtful use of white space on a page is an excellent way to draw attention to important points.
In this competitive job market, many people are making use of professional resume writers. Professionally written resumes guarantee freedom from technical issues, and are rich in words that set you apart from others applying for the same position.

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