Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Resume Tune Up

Resume Tune Up
Like your car, it is always wise to review your resume to see if it can be tuned up for better performance. Let’s look at a checklist for the various parts of the resume and make sure they are in peak performance.


The name / address section is called letterhead because it is the letterhead for your stationery. This same letterhead should be used at the top of your cover letter, your reference list, and all career correspondences to give you a professional look. Here are a few points to check about your letterhead.

1. Your name should be in a larger font than the rest of the header

2. Your entire letterhead should not be the smallest font on the page or squeezed up at the top making it look like an afterthought. You want the reader to see and remember your name

3. You do not need to preface your e-mail address with “email:” The format will indicate that.

4. Simplify things for the letterhead and for the hiring manger by listing only one phone number.

5. Have a professional and individual (versus a family or couple) e-mail address. Using your college mascot name in the e-mail address indicates your school spirit but is not professional.

Top Third of the 1st Page

The top third of the first page of the resume is the most important. The typical reader of a resume will spend only seconds looking at your resume before deciding what to do with it - read on or discard. You want to be sure your most important skills, abilities, and accomplishments are at least mentioned in this section. Therefore, the combination resume format is recommended over the old chronological format. (See the link at the bottom of this article for an example of the combination resume format.)

1. A career summary section is more powerful and unique than an objectives statement. The typical objective is so vague that anyone could write the same statement, where as a career summary statement is uniquely you.

2. Use of category headers will help the reader understand how this section is formatted.

3. Do not use blocks of text in this section. Points should be concise. Use bullet points where possible.

Career History

A combination resume is recommended because it provides the important points in the most important section of the resume and the career history most recruiters and hiring managers like to see.

1. If you have worked several positions for the same company, be sure the formatting clearly indicates it. The start and end date at the company should be placed on the line with the company name and position start and end dates can be placed on the line with the position.

2. Under each position and in paragraph format, use no more than 5 lines to provide the job description. This description should define the role for anyone who serves in that position.

3. Under each position use bullets to list the accomplishments you had in the position; i.e. what you brought to the job.

a. Quantify your accomplishments as much as possible; ex. Saved the company 120K

b. Sort your accomplishments in priority order. This is important for two reasons 1) in case the reader stops reading them, they have read the most important accomplishments first 2) when you go to trim your resume to make room for your new accomplishments, you can trim from the bottom.

4. Put the results first. We have been told to put power verbs up front and to be consistent with tense. We have also been told to answer interview questions in the format situation / task, actions, and results. In the accomplishment section, put the results first. Here is an example of an accomplishment statement before and after applying this principle.


Automated system installation process for a saving of $120,000 for a rollout schedule of 120 systems.


Saved $120K by automating the system installation process for a rollout of 120 systems

5. Be 100% consistent with formatting. Start at the bottom and read up checking everything including the spacing around the dash in your dates, fonts, commas, capitalizations, etc.

6. If you are changing careers and not all previous positions are relevant to the job you are seeking, consider using Relevant Experience and Other Experience groupings of your job history.

7. Spell out acronyms with the first use. This not only helps the person reviewing your resume but also increases your chances of getting picked up in a keyword search.

Cut the Extras

There are sections on the old resume format that are no longer needed. These should be excluded from the new resume format.

1. References Available Upon Request.

2. Hobbies and Interests

3. Non relevant certificates

The File Name

People use all kinds of file names for attaching resumes. In one case a person used a name that was not her name, the position, nor the word “resume”. It is still a mystery how the person came up with the name.

1. The name should include your name and preferably the position you seek. Do not name the file Resume.doc

2. Minimize using any other items in your file name such as the date or version. Store old resumes in another folder on your PC and rename them instead of renaming your current version.

Running your resume through this tune-up checklist may help increase your performance.

For a sample of a combination resume format that can be used for any industry go to: http://technicaljobsearch.com/resumes/combination.shtml

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