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Resume Guidelines

The thought of writing a resume intimidates almost anyone. It's difficult to know where to start or what to include. It can seem like an insurmountable task. Here are some tips to help you not only tackle the task, but also write a winning resume.

Contact Information. Include contact phone numbers, mailing address, and e-mail address. Your voicemail message should be professional. A message that is too casual can create a negative impression.

Career Objective. Your summary should be brief and include the following three points:

         1. Your title and years of experience.
         2. Your pertinent skills.
         3. Your character traits or work style.

Example: "Financial Accountant with over 10 years' experience with two Fortune 500 companies. Technical skills include P&L, budgeting, forecasting and variance reporting. Bilingual in Spanish and English. Self-starter who approaches every project in a detailed, analytical manner."

Professional Experience. List each position held in reverse chronological order, dating back at least ten years. If you held multiple positions within the same company, list them all to show advancement and growth. The body of each position description should describe your responsibilities and accomplishments.

Significant Accomplishments. Be sure to highlight significant achievements. Strive to be clear and concise. Use bullet points that begin with action words (increased, reduced, created, executed, designed) to outline accomplishments. Don't be afraid to call yourself talented or resourceful, but be ready to back up these adjectives with accomplishments.

Use #'s, $'s and %'s. Numbers, dollars, and percentages stand out in the body of a resume. Use them. Here are two examples:

  • Managed a department of 10 with a budget of $1,000,000.
  • Increased sales by 25% in a 15-state territory.

Timeline. Check all dates to make sure they are correct and in order. Include months and years.

Other Components. Include education, professional training, affiliations/appointments, licenses, technical skills and languages.

Personal Information. Do not include personal information such as marital status.

Presentation. Construct your resume to read easily. Leave white space. Use a font size no smaller than 10 point. Limit the length of your resume to 1-2 pages. Remember, resumes are reviewed quickly. Help the reader to scan your resume efficiently and effectively.

12 Accomplishments Employers Want To See:

  • Increased revenues
  • Saved money
  • Increased efficiencies
  • Cut overhead
  • Increased sales
  • Improved workplace safety
  • Purchasing accomplishments
  • New products / new lines
  • Improved record-keeping process
  • Increased productivity
  • Successful advertising campaign
  • Effective budgeting

Can't think of anything to write down about what you do in your job?

Answer 20 of 30 of These Questions.

We guarantee that you will come up with some new ideas about your job responsibilities and skills.

  • What experience, skills, aptitudes, or traits do you have, or think you might have, that could be of some use to some employer?
  • What skills have you developed, at least to some degree, that you have never used at work?
  • Do others, at work or elsewhere, come to you for any particular kind of help?  What kind?
  • Do you have military experience (include Coast Guard and Merchant Marine)?  Branch, grade, specialty?  Active duty, reserves, National Guard?  Discharge?  Duties?  Accomplishments?  Medals, citations, commendations?  Promotions ahead of schedule?  You can treat military experience as general background, or list each position as an employer in the Resume Questionnaire. Don't forget, military training can be particularly useful in private industry if it is relevant to your objective.
  • Have you ever published an article, report, or anything, even as a volunteer, even in your company professional association newsletter?
  • Have you ever given a talk, speech, or presentation, or provided training to anyone at work or elsewhere?  Give the specifics.
  • Computer literacy and related skills: What platforms can you use (PC, Apple, Unix, etc.)?  Which ones are you most comfortable with?  What operating systems are you familiar with (DOS; Windows; Unix; Apple; other)?  If you program, which languages do you know, and what is your level of ability or experience?  What programs, or kinds of programs, have you designed or helped design or debug?  What Internet research tools are you familiar with?  What programs are you familiar with (word processors; spread sheets; data bases; groupware or PIM's, such as Lotus Notes, Groupwise, Ecco; graphics, desk-top publishing, etc.); office suites (Suite; Microsoft Office; Word Perfect Office); LAN or WAN system software?  (If you know the latest version, mention it, as in "Photoshop CS " If you're not familiar with the latest version, give only program's name.)
  • What foreign languages do you know at least somewhat, and what is your level of skill in each?  (i.e. native speaker; fluent; moderate; phrase-book; write easily for professional purposes.)
  • What planning or analytical tools are you familiar with (e.g. critical path, PERT, quality function deployment, etc.)?
  • What experience have you had as a manager of or participant in TQM?  CQI?  Business process reengineering (which version: general structure/function analysis or computer systems analysis)?
  • Do you have any special travel experience, domestic or foreign?  If you studied, lived, or worked in a foreign country, how long were you there?  Did you live in an American enclave?

Responsibilities, Activities:

  • How many people did you supervise?  Orient?  Hire?  Train?
  • How large a budget did you manage?
  • To whom did you report?
  • What was the highest level in the company that you reported to or communicated with directly?
  • Did you coordinate anything?
  • Serve as liaison between groups or key individuals?
  • Mediate between groups or individuals?  Resolve any conflicts?  Serve as mentor to anyone?
  • Did you do, or participate in, strategic planning?
  • Did you set or evaluate or participate in the setting or evaluation of policy?
  • Did you evaluate any individual or group performance, or any task or project research?
  • How did you relate to the product or service?
  • Did you communicate with customers?  How?
  • Were you on any proposal teams, in-house or with a customer or subcontractor?  Did the proposal succeed?
  • What was your function on the team, or your contribution to winning?  Your team's percentage of wins?
  • Did you communicate with suppliers or subcontractors?  How?
  • Did you purchase services or supplies for the office, unit, department?
  • Ever serve as a troubleshooter?  In what area?
  • Did you back up someone?  Who?
  • Did you do any surveys or other research or studies?  Determine requirements?
  • Prepare recommendations?
  • Design or manage any processes, systems, or projects?
  • Organize any events, conferences, meetings?  How many?
  • Did you administer anything?
  • Consult for anyone, inside or outside the organization?
  • Did you gain experience in any special use software?
  • What kind of writing did you do, for yourself or someone else (e-mail, correspondence, memos, reports, concept papers, plans, proposals, office newsletter, etc.)?  What did you write about?  Did you write anything that was delivered to a customer as a product, or part of one?

Achievements, Accomplishments:

  • How much reduction in costs or increase in profits did you contribute to?
  • What did you do?
  • Did you add any smoothness, quality, or economy of operation that noticeably improved the way things were before you assumed responsibility?
  • Any concrete or specific signs of the gain you achieved?
  • Did you propose, suggest, or initiate any programs, changes, or improvements that were implemented at least partly because of your initiative?
  • What positive results occurred?
  • What did you do as a volunteer, beyond the regular duties of your position?
  • Whether you were paid for it or not, what were you particularly good at that made a difference in how the office (job, project, assignment) progressed from day to day?

Awards, Recognition:

Were you praised, recognized, or given a pat on the back for anything a particular assignment, a method of working, a trait of character?  How?  By whom?
Were you promoted ahead of schedule?
Selected for any special responsibilities or programs?

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