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Resume Principles

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March 24, 2009



1. Not only is your resume the first thing an employer sees from you -- it is what the employer will use to decide whether you move on to the next stage of the employment process. Make your first impression count.

2. Be concise. Limit yourself to one printed page. A two-page resume is only acceptable when you have lots of experience to emphasize -- and even then it may be too much for an employer to browse.

3. When you are finished writing your resume, give it to other people to proofread. Typos and grammatical errors are inexcusable. Mistakes in your resume will cost you the opportunity to advance in the employment process. 


Proofreading Checklist


Spelling Mistakes

To avoid spelling mistakes:

__ Don't use words with which you aren't familiar.

__ Perform a spell check on your finished resume.

__ Carefully read every word in your resume. If you write "from" instead of "form," your spell check will be unable to detect your mistake.

__ Have a friend or two proofread your resume for you.


Punctuation Mistakes

Things to look for:

__ Periods at the end of all full sentences.

__ Be consistent in your use of punctuation.

__ Always put periods and commas within quotation marks. (i.e., Won awards including the "John H. Malcom Memorial Service Award.")

__ Avoid using exclamation points.


Grammatical Mistakes

Grammar hang-ups to watch for:

__ Use appropriate tense within your resume. The duties you currently perform should be in present tense (i.e., write reports), but ones you may have performed at past jobs should be in past tense (i.e., wrote reports).

__ Capitalize all proper nouns.

__ Make sure your date formats are consistent (i.e., 11/22/96 or November 26, 1996 or 11.22.96. Choose one and stick with it.).


Choose Your Words Carefully

Phrase yourself well:

__ Be on the lookout for the following easily confused words: accept (to receive), except (to exclude), all right (correct),

alright (this is not a word), affect (to bring about change), effect (result), personal (private), personnel (staff members), role (a

character assigned or a function), roll (to revolve).

__ Use action words (i.e. sold, grew, expanded).


Other Potential Mistakes

Don't forget to check:

__ Dates of all prior employment.

__ Your address and phone number -- are they still current and correct?

__ The number of returns separating your categories: are they consistent?

__ Abbreviation of state names. All state abbreviations are two letters -- no periods. For example, New York is abbreviated NY, California is CA, and Florida is FL. Look up other state abbreviations.


Design Is Important

Keep the following tips in mind:

__ The most impactful materials should be located to the top or left hand margin where the eye is most apt to go.

__ Don't overcrowd your resume; allow for plenty of white space.

__ Use symbols and numbers instead of words wherever possible.

__ Keep your resume to one page whenever possible.

__ Keep the number of fonts you use to a minimum -- two at the most.

__ Use a font that is easy to read. Times Roman works well.

__ Do not justify the lines of type on your resume. Allow the right side of the page to "rag."

__ Do not overuse capitalization, italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features.

__ Make sure your name, address, phone number (preferrably a cell phone) and email address appear on your resume and all correspondence, preferably at the top of the page.

__ Print on one side of the paper only.

__ Put your education below the professional experience section.


What To Omit

Do not put any of the following on your resume:

__ Salary history.

__ Sex, age, race, marital status, or other similar personal information.

__ Objective.