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03/12/2012

Quick Resume Tips

We get a lot of inquiries from international clients who have questions about resumes. If you’re unfamiliar with the application process, or if English is not your native language, composing a resume and communicating with prospective employers can indeed be daunting. Here are a few very general tips to get you started.

Your resume should not be any longer than one page, especially if you are a new graduate or have less than ten years of work experience. Employers receive dozens (sometimes hundreds) of applications for one posting, and want to be able to see your relevant information at a glance. There are a few exceptions to this one-page rule, such as for academic or high-level executive jobs, but overall, one page is all you need.

Don’t cram a bunch of information onto that one page, either. It’s important to leave a lot of white space for readability. Employers are unlikely to wade through a resume packed with tiny text and unnecessary detail.

Don’t send the same basic resume with every application; tailor your resume to each specific job. Study the job requirements and qualifications listed in the job posting, and play up your relevant experience in your resume. This is especially true if you include an objective in your resume. A generic objective filled with buzzwords (“optimize,” “incentivize”) is sure to land your resume in the reject pile.

Stay away from fancy fonts and formatting, which do not hold up when you send your resume electronically. Keep it simple.

Include sections for relevant work experience, education, and special skills. Many applicants start off with a “qualifications summary,” which highlights the most relevant skills and experience that make you a good candidate for the job. If you include a qualifications summary, do not repeat the same information later in the resume.

Resumes used to include personal information, such as your age and whether you are married or have children. This isn’t done anymore. If you do want to include personal information, such as volunteer work or organizations you belong to, make sure it is relevant to the job.

Instead of using valuable space to list your references, include a line at the bottom saying “References available on request.” You should prepare a separate document listing your references’ names and contact info, and have it ready to immediately send if the employer asks.

Proofread your resume carefully. Having mistakes or typos in your resume is the fastest, surest way to have it end up in the reject pile.

You can find excellent resume tips at The Purdue University Online Writing Lab. Best of luck!

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