Resume format writing, when properly planned, can secure an interview.
Keep a sample resume among your business letters and formatting instructions. You will, in fact, be writing business correspondence when writing resumes seeking employment.
You may wish to include Letters of Recommendation among your business letters repertoire. We offer superior suggestions on how to compose these as well. At times you may need to write a Biography about yourself. We offer a great deal of information in our Biography section of this site.
When writing resumes, four traits your qualifications need to stand out, even with a cursory read-thru of your information:
Compelling – The information you provide must compel the reader to want to know more about you. Then they will read your qualifications more thoroughly.
Persuasive – The personal image that you build must persuade the reader that you are qualified for the position which you seek. You either have previous experience in this area or you have education that would qualify you if you are changing career fields.
Powerful – You can grab attention by using powerful verbs and terms in your resume format. Lackluster descriptions tend to reflect the character of the person submitting the resume. Most employers want people who are proficient at self-expression. You needn’t be a linguist or be flamboyant, but communication skills are all-important.
Successful – Most of all, you want to show that you have been successful in your previous positions. In some cases, where a person has been outright fired, the job performance will be enhanced by having a command of the job they performed stand out in the resume format. Previous education can help overcome any negativity of being terminated, as is going back to school after being let go.
All employers have different needs. Some things you can do before you divert the information on your resume to mesh with a company’s needs:
Before preparing your resume format, know the company to which you apply.
The point here is to know something about the company to which you apply, and its employees, so you’ll have something to compliment or discuss as the interview moves along. That’s after your resume makes it into the “must see” pile.
Once you decide where to submit your resume, follow these guidelines. They provide a solid resume format.
Use one-inch margins at both sides and at the bottom.
Use Times New Roman 12 pt.
Keep it to one (1) page only.
Name, address, and other contact information. This may be on your stationary, which should be fairly plain and free of distracting artwork and logos.
If your resume is short, you can place all information centered in a column with your name in bold. However, with all the information needed on one-page, this uses up a lot of valuable line spaces. See both samples below. Both are acceptable resume format.
Drop two line spaces to…
OBJECTIVE - on the left margin and in all caps. It is fine to include “Objective,” however, this section is not necessary unless requested. It really contributes nothing to the resume format since your objective is the job you seek and for which you should be qualified.
QUALIFICATIONS – In this area include a two or three column bulleted list of any computer hardware or software in which you are proficient. Also list any other strong capabilities, like public speaking or perhaps writing. Maybe you’re a good conference organizer. Use one or two-word titles to describe these attributes.
Do not list personal attributes. So what if you’re applying for a construction job and just happen to be the strongest man in town? Let your experience speak for itself. Resume writing is the same as any business writing; it’s succinct and only provides the most important and relative facts.
EXPERIENCE - You’ll need to list your jobs for the last ten (10) years, as well as account for any spaces in between. For spaces in between, you might simply state “personal reasons.” If your resume is strong enough to place you for an interview, you can explain any spaces at that time.
Again, use bullets (the little round dots you see on this page) to draw attention to certain points.
Put the company name on the left with dates of employment on the right margin. Use the years and not the months and days. The year dates should be most recent date to when you began that employment. An example is 2009 – 2001 and not 2001 – 2009. Work backwards.
Under no circumstances should you say anything negative about the company or people you have left or plan to leave. A statement such as this included in an otherwise sparkling resume format will send you application to the rejection bin.
If you’ve been self-employed, you can state that you decided to seek employment with others to secure a steady income, something like that.
Go easy on stating any of your accomplishments. You want to show you know what you’re doing and can handle the job, but you don’t want to come across as bragging. This is a turn-off, a mark of a person too sure of him or herself, who usually can’t live up to their own hype.
Do not list every task you performed on every job you list. Interviewers know from a glance at a resume which candidate would be most qualified.
Continue listing your previous employers over the last ten years.
EDUCATION – Start with the most recent at the top and work backwards.
Listing your high school is not necessary unless by specific request. If you’re fresh out of high school then include it.
EXTRA-CIRRICULAR ACTIVITIES – Some people like to list this at the very bottom of their resume format. However, only do so if it pertains to the job for which you apply. If you’re a scuba diver applying for a job on a treasure hunting ship, by all means list it. But this is just more information that is unnecessary when writing resumes in the most straight-forward manner.
Some errors that show lack of professionalism and guarantee you will not be called for an interview:
Under this last flaw, should your resume have these types of errors, you will be seen as making the same mistakes on the job. No employer wants their work and correspondence sent out with errors. Get your resume proofed by someone capable of catching these flaws.
Below is a sample resume, totally fictitious, but representing an excellent resume format. First, choose your heading and proceed from there.
PO Box 0000 (Address on left, phone on the right)Phone: 000-000-0000
City, State Zip Code (city, etc. on left, Fax on right)Fax: 000-000-0000
(email on right)Email: Name@xxxx.xxx
PO Box 0000
City, State, Zip Code
OBJECTIVE: Seeking a position that offers opportunities to utilize my wide range of knowledge in graphic arts. (Not really necessary to include Objective. Save space!)
Small Graphics and Art (date on the right margin) 2009-2005
Book Cover Graphics (dates on right) 2001-2005
Self-employed Graphics Artist (dates on right) 1997-2005
EXTRA-CIRRICULAR ACTIVITIES: Am both a land and underwater photographer which is an aid my artwork.
As you can see, with the one or two categories you can leave out, you have plenty of space on the page to focus on your past experience. If you need more room, you can bring the bulleted job descriptions in the Experience section right up underneath the company names. Try to leave a space between companies.
When some companies put out calls for applicants, a few will require a resume format including some sort of binding with a title page included. In that case, simply put you name as the title centered about two-thirds of the way down the page. Add the title of the position if they say to include it.
If you are to mail your resume, I have always favored sending it in an appropriate sized manila envelope. I do this even when it is only one page. It is much more professional to be able to read a page that has not been rumpled or folded.
By the way, a personal Biography is one place where you can elaborate a little more about your life. Write that Bio with a slant toward the position for which you apply.
See my Biography section to learn how to write Bios from a few words in length to one paragraph to one page.
Too, we’ll soon be posting formats for various business letters.
As you can see on the sample resume above, room exists on the page to be a little more specific than this brief resume format. Play with your page to make it work. You can get all your information covered. Writing resumes should not be an arduous task. We’ve tried to make this sample resume as simple as possible to aid you in your search for new work.
When writing resumes, please do not hesitate to copy and paste and use the resume format provided above.