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Career Tips

What a Good Resume Should Show

Date Posted: 10/24/2014

An effective resume is a summary of your work experience and qualifications, usually about two pages long.  It is helpful to take note of the following:

1 .SPELLING. Double check to make sure your spelling is perfect.
2. GRAMMAR. It usually takes one or two pairs of eyes to spot errors in grammar and punctuation. Have someone else review your resume to ensure your grammar is correct.
3. FORMAT. A resume is not a showcase of how many fonts you have in your word processor. Use one standard font, punctuation and a clean format.

Your resume is made up of three major sections:
Name and Contact Information

Professional Experience and Achievements

Educational/Professional Development

1.  NAME AND CONTACT INFORMATION.  Your complete name should be in bold and on top of the page. Your contact information should include your full address and home or cell phone numbers and your email address.  Use a professional email address.  The last thing you want to do is turn-off potential employers by using tacky ones like, funkygoose@gmail.com or devilish@hotmail.com or sexydiva08@live.com. We’ve seen too many silly addresses that spell J-O-K-E right from the start. You don’t want to be set aside because of a poorly-chosen email address.

2.  PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE AND ACHIEVEMENTS.

  • Dealing with too little or no work experience.  The first thing you have to consider when responding to a job advertisement is to check the minimum requirements for the position.  If the ad states the minimum experience is four years, and you fall short of this requirement, go back to your work and training history and carefully assess if the difference in actual paid work experience can be increased by highlighting relevant practical training and certification work.  If you have prior work experience that is simply not sufficient to comply with the minimum required for the job and this is a non-negotiable item (for instance, professional licensed fields like nursing, engineering and architecture), it is best to explore internships and entry level positions in the industry and build your experience in the field before applying for this job.
  • Short-term employment that shows frequent job turn-over.  There are several ways to proactively address this challenge.
    • Briefly list down the reasons for those short periods of employment right next to the dates on your resume to avoid raising red flags. Examples could be: “company ceased operations”, “laid off due to economy, down -sized”, etc.
    • Dates listed next to each job do not have to include the months – instead, you can show them as a range of years.  That can often avoid the red flag of seeing brief periods of unemployment between jobs.
    • If you are unemployed, you can cite volunteer work, project-based work or simply state that you are self-employed and briefly give an overview of the work, while using keywords to describe your actual work that will prove useful in the job you are applying for.
  • Include numbers in your achievements. If you are given an award, it is because you have exceeded the standards set by the company.  For example: Exceeded the quota of PhpXX,XXX per month; Received special award for achievement of highest customer satisfaction rating.

3.  EDUCATIONAL AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

  • Educational and professional training and development must be in chronological order, the most recent being on top.  Keep this section brief. In most cases, the employer will want to see only the discipline and training programs you have attended that are relevant to the work you are pursuing in the company.
  • How to present lack of educational attainment (no college degree, incomplete college education). This is an honesty exercise.  Do not lie.  You can indicate the years you have attended college or a certificate course including actual work experience that has given you the practical and trade knowledge that helped you stay in full time employment for the period up to the time of your application.  However, for licensed professional positions like nursing, engineering or architecture, the lack of a college degree is a non-negotiable item.

4.  INTERESTS (Optional).  Only include your hobbies or pastimes if they support the position you are applying for.  For example, if you are applying for a nursing position, you may indicate that your interests include volunteering for health missions, attending/helping in organizing regular professional membership/association gatherings, or contributing to a healthcare newsletter in your association.

If you are an engineer or an architect, that your interests include keeping updated on the latest computer-software-aided design technologies in the market, participating in trade events and exhibits, attending and organizing professional membership/association events, etc.

5.  REFERENCES (Optional).  Include references only when requested.  There is no need to indicate ‘References: Available upon request’.  Make sure that you inform your contacts that you will be using them as reference in your job application if you are giving their names.
These days, the market is filled with a wide range of job options.  It is critical to tailor your application to a specific job opening.  Pay attention to job descriptions advertised, the company and industry you are planning to enter.  These tips should help you craft a resume that describes you and what you have to offer to your targeted employer.

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