Job Hunting Advice

Refining Your Resume: The Finishing Touches

A resume is written in a modified business writing style with extra emphasis on brevity and precision. The idea is to save space to allow room for important information. The writer should avoid speaking in the first person and use conjunctions sparingly. The statement "I managed a staff of 30 employees for a Fortune 500 Company," for example, should be pared down to "Managed staff of 30 employees for Fortune 500 Company." This is not a complete sentence and is not grammatically correct. However, it is accepted resume style.

Text visibility is vital to passing the initial screening. Hiring personnel typically spend 30 seconds or less per resume on this first pass. Specific qualifications or accomplishments can be set apart in bullet points. Underscoring or italics can also be used for emphasis, although care should be taken not to clutter up the text.

Keep in mind that employers will likely be viewing your resume as an electronic document. Most companies scan the submitted paper resumes into their computer system. Writers should use black ink and at least a 12-point text size to ensure that the resume can be read easily after scanning.

It is also important to retain enough "white space" to avoid crowding and to maintain clear boundaries between sections. Sections can be set apart by setting the headings in boldface or using a larger text size. Headings can also be set in a different font for additional contrast.

Spacing and indents should be checked for consistency between sections. The spacing of the text itself should not be too loose or too tight. Avoid excessive word breaks between lines, and do not end a sentence or paragraph with a single word on a line by itself.

Be sure to make a final scan of your resume for overall appearance. Employers look to it for hints as to your performance as an employee.

Last Updated: 05/23/2014

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