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Résumé-Writing Tips

Writing your first résumé can be a daunting experience. Following is a list of tips compiled from the advice of employers, career counsellors and recent graduates whose résumés helped them land meaningful employment.

  1. Pay careful attention to spelling, punctuation, grammar and style.
  2. Proofread carefully, using a dictionary and stylebook and have several other people proofread as well.
  3. Organize information in a logical fashion.
  4. Keep descriptions clear and to the point.
  5. Use a simple, easy-to-read font, such as Times, Palatino, ­Helvetica or Arial.
  6. Confine your information to one page.
  7. Include as much work experience as possible, even if it doesn’t relate obviously to the job you’re seeking.
  8. Tailor your information to the job you’re seeking.
  9. Seek help at your career services centre or local library.
Creating a Global Résumé
Interest in pursuing international careers has skyrocketed in recent years, enhanced by chronic personnel shortages that are causing companies to search beyond their borders for talent. Professionals seek career experiences outside their home countries for a variety of professional and personal reasons:
  • The need to recharge their batteries with a new challenge;
  • The opportunity to have a position with more responsibility that encourages creativity and initiative;
  • The wish to expose their children to another culture and the opportunity to learn a second language, and
  • The recognition that many of those who have “climbed to the top” of the corporate ladder have leap-frogged ahead after a global work experience.
Résumé guidelines are constantly changing. Best advice: Find out what is appropriate, vis-à-vis the corporate culture, the country culture and the culture of the person making the hiring decision. The challenge will be to incorporate several different cultures into one document.
MYTH: References play an important role in the job search process.
FACT: References are important indicators of a job candidate’s work habits. Assembling good references helps reinforce a candidate’s candidacy in the job search process.

Electronic Résumés Tips

  1. Use a plain font. Use a standard serif typeface, such as Courier, Times, Arial, Verdana, or Franklin Gothic. Simplicity is the key.
  2. Use 10 to 12 point type sizes.
  3. Keep your line length to not more than 65 characters (letters, spaces and punctuation).
  4. Do not use graphics, bullets, lines, bold, italics, underlines or shading.
  5. Use capital letters for your headings.
  6. Justify your text to the left.
  7. Use vertical and horizontal lines sparingly. Lines may blur your type.
  8. Omit parentheses and brackets, even around telephone numbers. These can blur and leave the number unreadable.
  9. Use white paper and black type.
  10. Use a laser quality printer.
  11. Print on one side of the paper only.
  12. Don’t compress space between letters. Use a second page rather than pack everything into one page and have it scan unclearly.
  13. Do not staple pages of a résumé together.
  14. Use industry “buzzwords”. Searches often look for industry jargon.
  15. Place your name as the first text on the résumé. Do not put ­anything else on that line.
  16. Fax résumés should be on the “fine mode” setting. It is much easier to read than the “standard mode” setting.
  17. Do not fold your résumé. A crease makes scanning and retrieving difficult.
  18. If you are sending your résumé in the body of your e-mail, do not distinguish between pages, as the full e-mail will be downloaded into the database as one sheet.
Don’t send a résumé as an e-mail attachment unless you are ­specifically instructed to do so. Many employers discard unsolicited ­attachments.
MYTH: Acquire only heavy-weight references, even if, they do know your personally or professionally.
FACT: Past supervisors usually are most familiar with a candidate’s abilities, but past co-workers, supervisor’s supervisors and others from work, educational, or community settings will also be familiar with the candidate. Students should be encouraged to seek references from both employers and non-employers.

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