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A good rule on resumes: be concise, to the point.

Advice has been given and books have been written on resume preparation. You’ve heard things like “resumes should never be more than one page” or “don’t choose colored paper.” The fact is, there is no universal format, but there are some guidelines to follow whenever you are writing your own professional resume. Advice has been given and books have been written on resume preparation. You’ve heard things like “resumes should never be more than one page” or “don’t choose colored paper.” The fact is, there is no universal format, but there are some guidelines to follow whenever you are writing your own professional resume.

Be factual when writing down all of your information and lay out your credentials in a way that is clear, concise and easy to read. It’s not always a good idea to give detailed descriptions of everything you have done; the resume may become too wordy or detailed, and a prospective employer may not take the time to read it. A good rule on resumes: go back about ten years when listing your employment history.

The main objective of your resume is to sell yourself for the type of work you are pursuing. It should state clearly the type of work you want and why you are qualified.

A college graduate would want to list any internships, activities and volunteer work while in college, as well as any employment prior to attending college if it is related in any way to their job objective. Most college graduates don’t have a lot of experience, so play up what experience you do have. List them under “Related Experience,” directly under your “Professional Objective.”

A teaching graduate would have student teaching experience and may select the heading “Teaching Experience” as opposed to “Related Experience,” in order to emphasize that teaching experience.

A college graduate with no experience should go into greater detail under the “Education” heading and list some coursework taken in order to better fill out the resume. If the employment held was prior to to college, simply list the names of the places worked and positions held, under “Other Experience” but don’t go into detail. This shows previous responsibility.

An applicant with little experience, for example a housewife who raised a family for the last several years, may feel as though there is nothing to incorporate on her resume. This individual needs to stress things that relate to the many responsibilities required to raise children and run a home.

The older applicant needs to play up specific accomplishments, rather than speak in terms of years of experience. If several positions were held at different companies but the duties were basically the same, there is no need to offer the same description over and over. A brief description of your most recent positions followed by just the names of the companies and positions held for previous employment will do.

The idea is to present your credentials in a way that will make the reader want to read everything you’ve put down.

Some common mistakes to avoid on your resume:

Misspelled words – Read and read again your final piece. Don’t let a typographical error spoil your chance of gaining an interview. This is extremely important.

Beginning each sentence with “I” – Never begin a sentence with “I”.

Large, unexplained time gaps – If you were laid off from a previous employer and did odd jobs until you obtained another full-time position, offer a brief explanation for each.

Too long and wordy – keep descriptions brief, factual and to the point. Don’t list every minor duty just the most important ones.

Unprofessional appearance – The resume and cover letter is their first impression of you, so your resumes and letters should always be typed and presented on good bond paper, with matching envelopes. Colors are OK if you keep them light. If your resume is more than one page, mail it in a large mailing envelope so it arrives flat, not folded.

Photographs – A picture can let a prospective employer form a misleading impression. Don’t send them.

Salary requirements – You may make the mistake of stating an offer too low or price yourself out of the job. This is best discussed in an interview.

References – It is more appropriate to have a typed reference sheet and to present this information at the end of your interview.

Hobbies and outside interests – Don’t list them, unless they relate to your objective.