Updating My Resume

I’ve been a stay-at-home parent since 2004. A good friend called recently about a job opportunity that sounded like a great fit, though, so I just finished updating my resume. I wrote my first resume about twenty years ago, and have learned some useful techniques over the years to polish it. Here are my top ten; do you agree, disagree? What are some of yours?

Tailor the resume to the position you’re applying for. Put the most relevant information first.
Check, double check, then check again. Errors on resumes are often deal breakers.
Use active, powerful verbs to describe experience. Eliminate passive constructions.
Edit for brevity.
White or ivory paper only.
Prepare a Word document and a text-only version. Use the latter to avoid sending an attachment.
Times New Roman, 12 point, at least 1-inch margins all around.
Use bold and italic sparingly, but consistently.
Use double spacing when possible for ease of reading.
Early in your career: one-page resume. Later, you can go longer, but keep it short and sweet.

4 Responses to “Updating My Resume”

  1. Amy Says:

    My understanding is that nowadays, your resume should read as a list of accomplishments, not a list of responsibilities. For example, not “I was responsible for this project” but “I headed up this project and we finished early and made a billion dollars.” That sort of thing.

  2. Kate Says:

    Yes to everything you list. Plus, I often have students who put in jobs which won’t help to get the job they’re applying for, but to demonstrate work history. I think after you achieve a post-grad degree (JD, here), you can just put the work history during your time at school and after–essentially, limiting it to the jobs (and internships) which help you get the job you want. Employment holes are bad, but so listing your work at Home Depot when you were 18 when applying to a large law firm at 25. This also helps with the constant “but I can’t get it down to one page!” complaint. This is also for much younger people who are just getting started in their field. If I have a non-trad student, we’ll sometimes keep jobs which demonstrate leadership, etc.

    I’ve slowly transferred over to a CV in recent months, and oh, the freedom!

  3. Sydney Says:

    Funny… since YOU did my resume, it uses all the techniques you list! :)
    Sadly, it did not garner me an interview at NetJets as I would have hoped. But I don’t blame the resume; rather, the idiots who didn’t see my fabulousness on every line. :)

  4. Kate Says:

    I have sorted through hundreds of resumes while working in human resources. Amy is right about accomplishments over responsibilities. Most of the time, it looked like people cut and pasted their job description. Not helpful.