1. Do make it easy to read at a glance. Think of a Wheaties box. Chances are, decision makers will spend as much time reading your resume as they would reading a cereal box. You want a clean, uncluttered look where the most important information will jump off the page. The biggest impression to make is that you are a star player in your field. Bullet points are helpful to make the content reader-friendly.
2. Do use a chronological format. Make it easy for a reader to quickly discern what companies you’ve worked at, what dates you were there, and what your accomplishments were at each job. Clearly list your educational credentials. Additional content is like whipped cream on a piece of pie – a little bit is a nice, fluffy touch but not necessary.
3. Do use action verbs, numbers, and specifics to explain your accomplishments. Example: Slayed 12 dragons in Madagascar in 2008, reducing dragon population 50% from prior year. Won 2010 President’s Award for Best Dragon Slayer of Decade. Increased profits in SW region from $75m to $100m in 2009.
4. Do use Microsoft Word to email your resume. The Word format makes it easiest for recruiters to save and present your resume to employers. Don’t use a pdf or any other format besides Word.
5. Don’t worry too much about the length. It doesn’t matter whether it’s one page or four pages, so long as the content is relevant to the job you want.
6. Don’t use too many bells and whistles in the formatting. Many recruiters and HR departments have database software that automatically saves and processes resumes. Sidebars, boxes, headers, and footers on your resume can be difficult for those programs to read, resulting in lost or jumbled information.
7. Do be accurate. It’s the right thing to do, and a lot of companies do background checks to verify your employment and educational credentials.
8. Do put your email address at the top of the resume along with name, mailing address, and phone. All of this is key information that a recruiter or HR department will want to contact you. A fair number of people neglect to put their email address.
9. Do update your resume every six months or so. It’s good to review your marketable accomplishments, and when opportunity knocks, you want to be ready.
10. Do put your resume on LinkedIn. This website is a great way to establish your professional profile and to get and stay connected with other professionals in your field, even if you’re not actively looking.
Rebecca Patt is Vice President of Development with Wray Executive Search and specializes in helping restaurant and food service clients nationwide the best talent. Are you or your organization in need of a top-notch recruiter? Contact Rebecca at Rebecca.firstname.lastname@example.org.