I recently compiled a list of the “classic” do’s and dont’s for interviewing and thought I might do the same for preparing your CV or resume.
There can be conflicting advice when it comes to preparing your resume; some people suggest getting creative with paper, fonts and formatting to stand out (my experience tells me recruiters don’t like that much), while others stress making sure your resume has keywords that are machine scannable (not as important as human readability).
So here are the classic rules for preparing your resume or CV.
- Review professionally written resume samples to familiarize yourself with what a strong resume looks like and contains.
- Make sure your resume is as easy to read as possible, using bullets, a font size that’s comfortable to read, and so on.
- Customize your resume based on the position for which you are applying.
- Include a career objective that is focused on what you can do for the employer — not what you hope to gain from the position.
- List your past positions in reverse chronological order.
- Include for each job: title/position, name of employer, city/state of employer, dates of employment.
- Include measurable results you achieved at each job position rather than listing job duties.
- Lead with action words instead of passive words. Avoid the word “work.”
- Include publications, patents, presentations, honors, relevant volunteer experiences, and professional licenses or certifications, especially if they pertain to the position.
- Emphasize transferable skills, especially when changing industries.
- Provide relevant contact information including one phone number, email address, website, and city and state.
- Proofread meticulously.
- Consider including a “summary of qualifications” or “profile” at the top of your resume to provide a clear focus.
- Be a little creative with your resume format to help you stand out, especially if applying for a creative field (blue ink on cream paper, for example).
- Test how your resume will look when emailed or submitted online, as well as printed.
- Put the word “RESUME” or “CV” at the top.
- Copy any part of a resume sample posted online word-for-word.
- Worry too much about the old one-page resume rule, especially if you have a lot of experience or are using more of a CV format. But make sure that the first page can stand alone if the pages get separated.
- Provide personal data like marital status, date of birth, height, weight, etc.
- Repeat the same action word over and over again. Find different ways to say the same thing.
- List your job duties. (focus on accomplishments.)
- Go into detail on how you achieved results at each job. Save that for the interview.
- Use a lot of acronyms or jargon, especially if you’re changing fields.
- Don’t abbreviate words that aren’t normally abbreviated, even to save space.
- Emphasize experience more than 15 years old.
- Bother to list high school or secondary school if you have college or university experience.
- List a funny or crude email address; get a new one for business use if necessary.
- List references on your resume; have them on a separate document, and only provide them when requested.
- Include hobbies or skills that have nothing to do with the position.
- Sacrifice clarity or readability for creativity when it comes to format.
- Print on colored paper.
- Use graphics.
This article is published in collaboration with LinkedIn. Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.
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Author: Bernard Marr is a globally recognized expert in strategy, performance management, analytics, KPIs and big data.
Image: A Japanese new graduate, who wishes to be called Shinji (R), speaks with a counsellor. REUTERS/Yuriko Nakao.