What Are Tips for Resume Preparation?

Job seekers can find numerous resources that provide tips for resume preparation at bookstores, libraries and on the Internet. Postsecondary schools and professional associations also frequently offer resume-writing workshops. Read on for a number of tips for resume preparation.

Tips for Preparing Your Resume

Resume preparation requires a commitment of time and energy. You can make the process as smooth as possible by focusing on key aspects including formatting and customization, described below.

Important Facts About Resume Preparation

Important Considerations Enhance readability by using bullet points and small chunks of text; include a link to your online professional profile, if applicable.
Key Skills Persuasive communication skills, patience
Other Considerations Maintain up-to-date online professional profile, if applicable; include a well-crafted cover letter with your resume
Professional Help Consider using a professional resume writing service, if needed

Choose a Format

Choose between a chronological format, which lists your most recent job or school experience first, or a functional format, which identifies your skills and accomplishments according to job type. Use text formatting, like boldface and italics, judiciously to create clear delineations and an aesthetically pleasing final product. Use a standard font like Times New Roman and 11- or 12-point font size.

Customize Your Resume

While many professional sources recommend keeping your resume to one page, some employers find a 2-page resume acceptable if there is extensive relevant experience to be listed. If your professional experience is limited or you are a recent college graduate, a single page is probably optimal. Be sure to include vital information about your education and job history, but avoid padding. Tweak each copy for the position for which you're applying - if you're an accountant seeking a job with an agency needing a tax specialist, for example, give prominence to your tax-preparation background.

Use Keywords

Keywords help hiring managers see your qualifications immediately. If the company seeks a 'reliable, detail-oriented' employee, work those words into your resume. Use terminology that is common to the field of your job pursuit. Use strong, active verbs (lists of these may be found through an online search for 'power words').

Online Resume Preparation Resources

Numerous sites offer resume-writing tools, such as resume preparation wizards, sample resumes and templates. The following are some government sites that offer free help in preparing resumes.

  • CareerOneStop.org: Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor, this site offers tips for preparing and improving resumes, as well as samples, templates and a final checklist.
  • USAJobs.gov: This source for acquiring a job with the federal government offers tips for resume preparation that also apply to the private sector. A resume-builder creates a document that can be used for any federal job.
  • NPS.gov: The National Park Service (NPS) posts the entire 48-page contents of the Federal Resume Writing Workshop, which is held on-site at various federal agencies. The document includes tips for preparing cover letters and using keywords.
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