Surely you know what a resume is, right? Simply put, it’s your chance to brag about your professional accomplishments. It’s your job history compacted into just a few short pages with the goal of making you stand out above other candidates. It’s your chance to WOW a prospective employer enough to land an interview.

I review many resumes in our content development practice here at Content Rules. Our goal, as with all employers, is to find the most talented people in our industry with which to fill our open content development positions. I have reviewed some beautiful resumes. A beautiful resume is well-written and laid out. It is very easy to find the candidate’s strengths and goals, and to view their job history. I have also experienced the frustration of reviewing resumes that have not been well thought-out. There is no single way to write a good resume. However, there are things you can do to make your resume stand out above others.

Unless you have learned a specific trade, the job you are doing now has provided you with skills that fit into more than one position. A smart job seeker will prepare more than one resume. If you are an Executive Assistant, for example, you may have the skills necessary to be a Project Manager. Before you sit down to write your resume, review your skills carefully. Place them into buckets to help you identify the positions for which you are qualified to apply. After you’ve done that, you can tailor your resume(s) to align with the position you are seeking. Be sure to list quantitative examples from your job history to show off what you have done and the value that you bring to a potential project or employer.

Here is a short list of “dos and don’ts” to help you craft a prefect resume.

Be sure your contact information is listed clearly.

It should go without saying – your resume needs to include your name and contact information. From time to time, resumes arrive with no clear way to contact the candidate. You just lost the job! Ensure that your name and contact information is the first detail a recruiter sees.

Spelling, grammar and formatting are important.

I have seen many resumes come across my desk containing spelling errors. It is a minor detail that can cause major damage. Don’t rely on spell check alone. Your brain knows what you wrote and so you may not see even the most obvious typo. Have a close friend or two review it, and ask them to highlight any spelling and grammatical errors they find.

Pay close attention to your formatting, as well. If you are using bullets, be consistent with the look and feel. Check and double check your spacing. If you are using tables, the same advice applies. Most recruiters will throw away a resume that contains more than two errors.

Keep it professional.

Your volunteer work at the local animal rescue is a very generous way to spend your time, however it is not necessarily relevant to you getting hired as an editor. If you volunteered your time to edit for Translators Without Borders, be sure to include that on your resume! Be sure that the volunteer work you list is relatable to the position you are applying for.

Internships – List them.

Don’t discount an internship because you were not on the company payroll. If you started your career as an intern, it counts as job experience. List those internships on your resume. You may not have been earning a paycheck, however you were earning valuable career skills.

No photos necessary.

Restrict your resume to your skills and job history. Pictures of you and your family will not help you land a project or position. Those photos take up valuable space needed to brag about the cost cutting ways you helped your previous employer. Recruiters and hiring managers are only interested in your job history and professional skills. Once you are hired, you can dazzle them with those wonderful family pictures at your desk.

Speaking of your professional skills –list them and make them obvious.

Listing job responsibilities is not a bad idea, however if you do not highlight the measurable skills you have, a potential employer may miss something important you want them to know about. Spell it out and make it easy. A few bullet points under each of your previous positions highlighting your key contributions is perfect.

There are many ways to write a good resume. You can attend free workshops offered by your local EDD, or look on-line for resume tips. Take some time to fully analyze your skills so that you don’t miss anything important. Keep it professional and informative, remembering that you’ve earned the right to brag about the things you do well!

Gaela Schlak
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