Thursday, September 08, 2011

DIY University: Resumes

Your resume never gets a day off. It's one of the most important pieces of paper you own. Your resume can be the deciding factor for that job you want. It needs to say "Look at me. You know you want to hire me" without being too gaudy or intricate. But somehow resumes have become such a scary thing. And I admit, my first resume wasn't pretty. Thankfully, they've gotten better.If you don't have a resume already you can use my template which you can find here. Just substitute your information into the form for instant resume.

I do a lot of resume writing for myself, my friends, my spouse and my co-workers. I take pride in things that are well-designed and aesthetically pleasing. Recently I've been overhauling my resume to make it more appealing and professional. It's Here are my top five tips for instantly adding appeal to your resume.

1. Ditch Times New Roman.
 Ah Times, the only font we were allowed to use in college - I hate it. It's ugly and it's not doing you any favors. Use a more attractive font like Georgia, Trebuchet or Veranda. These fonts are easy on the eyes, but stand out from the ole Times New Roman. I use Georgia because I prefer serif fonts and I find it to be an attractive and professional font on and off screen. Also, don't use italics and don't indent. This makes your resume easier to read.

2. Add Borders
Sometimes your titles get lost in the shuffle. To keep "Professional Experience" from blending in with your last six jobs, separate the sections of your resume with borders. This was one of the best things I did for my resume.
In Windows: Highlight your section title. Click on the Format tab on the top of the page, select "Borders and Shading." Select "Custom" on the bottom left. Select a solid line at 1/2 pt and use the diagram on the right to add the borders to the top and bottom of the selected "paragraph." Click ok.
To see and example of how it should look check out my resume template.

3. Make it a PDF
Use an online PDF converter like this one to make a copy of your resume as a PDF. Making it into a PDF keeps it from getting accidentally changed. It also embeds all the type and can be a good way to send your resume to a potential employer. Keep a copy of a .Doc and a PDF on a flash drive at all times, you never know when you are going to need one.

4. Use Numbers
Don't say "Operate a cash drawer." Instead say "Operate and balance a cash drawer with a balance of $15,000." This shows an employer that you are responsible.
Don't say "Registered college students at a summer camp." Instead, say "Registered 1,000 college students for a six week summer camp." This shows your employer that you are experienced.

5. Spell Check, Spell Check, Spell Check
Never, ever, ever let that resume or cover letter leave your hand without checking it three times over. Run spell check, then print it out and read it OUT LOUD. This part is very important since it helps catch errors. Then hand it off to someone else to read. Don't ever give that resume out without covering those three steps first.

Hope these tips make your resume much less scary and much more likely to land you that job!

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