There are certain resume habits that might lead to a resume being put through the paper shredder. If you can’t put together a decent resume, how can an employer expect you to be very professional for the day-to-day work in the office? After all, you have days, if not weeks, to put together your resume. How are you going to react to on the fly decisions?
To start, your work experience ten years ago is not nearly as important as your most recent experience. Employers are generally most interested in your most recent employment. Highlight your experience in this area.
This mainly applies to younger candidates. For instance, an older applicant may have worked at the same job for twenty years, which ended ten years ago. If this is the case, then by all means you should include your work experience for a job that lasted for such an extended period. Younger applicants should highlight internships and relevant recent jobs, rather than that high school summer job working at the beach.
If you’re just out of college, you may need to add your recent college experience as a primary “work” reference— especially if you have not done any hands-on work. Generally though, your educational experience should be included at the bottom, including brief information about your focus and degree.
Younger candidates also have a tendency to add extraneous information to make up for their lack of direct work experience. Don’’t add personal a lot of personal information. It is not even recommended that you add your age, marital status, number of children, or health issues. Really your work experience is of the most primary concern.
Though some jobs do ask for a photo, it is not necessary to include this with a resume. Some companies might file this under over-embellishment. So if the company does not ask for a photo, don’t include one. References may or may not be necessary, depending on the job. Some jobs will request references up front while others won’t need references until after the interview.
Never use flashy paper, fonts, or graphics. Even if you have top-notch credentials, this will be seen like you are making up for something that is lacking in the resume. It will create a sense of prejudice right off. The idea is to make your experience stand out from the other candidates, not the resume itself.
Be sure to proofread your resume several times to make sure there are no mistakes. It is also recommended that you don’t use abbreviations. These can be less clear than writing out words in their entirety.
Listing your jobs by the year— rather than the month and the year— give the best impression that you have had longer term, stable employment. If you have been promoted within the organization, list the overall years you worked as well as the increasing work responsibility you may have had. There are ways to embellish your work experience without overwriting. Instead of writing “secretary,” write “office assistant,” and highlight the many responsibilities.