Make a Good First Impression.

On average, employers spend less than 30 seconds scanning each resume. Most employers are more concerned about career achievements than education. Place the most interesting and compelling facts about yourself at the beginning, such as a list of accomplishments in order of relevance.

In the Internet Age, sending your resume electronically in a Word document via an attachment to an email is usually the best and quickest way to contact a placement service or company in a hiring mode. These guidelines can help you create a better electronic resume:

  1. 1. Use a Professional Email Address.

    Since this may be the first thing an employer notices about you, make sure it’s a professional email address. An example would be
  2. 2. Make It Look Professional.

Never use colored paper or backgrounds. If you are mailing printed copies, have it printed on white bond paper.
  3. 3. Proof Read for ANY Errors.

Catch all typos and grammatical errors. Make sure to have someone proof read your resume, preferably someone attentive to details. Even the smallest error could land your resume in the electronic recycle bin.
  4. 4. Objective - or - not.

Do not start your resume with a trite Objective like, "My objective is to obtain a position with a growing company where I can utilize my skills." An objective is only useful if it is specific to the job title you are seeking. You are better off using the heading Summary and outlining your skills that pertain to the job for which you are applying.
  5. 5. Stick with Common Section Headings.

Use common sections headings employers will recognize. Examples: Objective, Experience, Employment, Work History, Skills, Summary, Summary of Qualifications, Accomplishments, Strengths, Education, Professional Affiliations, Publications, Licenses and Certifications, and Honors.
  6. 6. List Recent Information.

The general rule of thumb is to show your work experience only for the last 10 to 15 years. For long tenured jobs, use complete dates. Example: 1983-2001.
  7. 7. Chronological Order.

Organize employment by the most recent job first. Use years (2008-2010) for dates. Only use months if it is less than a year in tenure.
  8. 8. Highlight Skills and Accomplishments.

Focus on highlighting accomplishments that will arouse the interest of employers who read resumes asking themselves, "What can this candidate do for me?" Remember that the goal is to get the interview by selling yourself.
  9. 9. Avoid Personal Pronouns.

Never use personal pronouns such as "I" or "Me" in your resume. Instead of complete sentences, use short action-oriented phrases, such as: Developed a spreadsheet to calculate cost of projects; supervised twenty employees.
  10. 10. Use Action Verbs.

Portray yourself as active, accomplished, intelligent, and capable of making a contribution. Examples: Managed, Launched, Created, Directed, Established, Organized, and Supervised.
  11. 11. Quantify Your Experience.

Numbers and percentages are powerful tools. Instead of saying, "Responsible for increasing sales in my territory," use "Increased sales in my territory 150% in six months. Managed 30 accounts for annual revenues of $2 MM."
  12. 12. Be Organized, Logical and Concise.

In addition to reviewing your experience, employers also use the resume to get a sense of whether you are organized, logical and concise.
  13. 13. Use Appropriate Job Titles.

Use job titles employers will understand. Don't falsely elevate your title.
  14. 14. Use Key Words.

Electronic resumes are being searched for specific key words to match your resume with an employer's specific requirements. Be sure to include key words and phrases that describe your skills and experience, such as Product Launch, Income Statement, Balance Sheet, Sales, Account Management, C++, Visual Basic, Word Processing, MS Excel, Adobe Illustrator, Graphic Design, and Advertising.
  15. 15. Speak to Your Industry.

Use industry jargon and acronyms to reflect your familiarity with the employer's business, but not to the point where it makes your resume hard to read or understand. Spell out acronyms in parentheses if they are not obvious, such as CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
  16. 16. Highlight Key Points.

Although most formatting such as bold, italics and underlining may not show in an electronic resume, you may use capital letters, quotation marks, even asterisks, to emphasize important words or section titles.
  17. 17. Omit Salary Information.

Never make reference to salary in your resume. If salary history is required, this would be included in your cover letter. If you are utilizing the services of a placement firm, they will handle salary negotiations in your behalf.
  18. 18. Avoid Questionable Subjects.

Never make reference to personal information such as race, religion, marital status, age, political party, or even personal views. In all but a few instances, it would be illegal for the employer to consider such issues. Also, avoid the use of humor and clichés in most resumes.
  19. 19. Be Honest.

Lying or exaggerating your abilities will always come back to haunt you. Since placement firms and employers have you undergo testing and check references, you will want every detail to check out.
  20. 20. Be Positive.

    Remove any negative comments or feelings conveyed in your resume, especially when it comes to previous employment experiences. Emphasize a positive, can-do attitude.