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Resume Writing Tips

Follow these tips to make sure your resume doesn't end up in the rejected pile.

Advertise Yourself

Have you ever seen an ad or flyer that really caught your attention? Did it provide key information? Design your resume as an ad that makes the employer want to learn more about you.

  • Focus only on the qualifications, skills, and occupational goals that are related to the position to which you're applying.
  • Create several versions of your resume. This allows you to highlight your qualifications for different types of jobs.
  • Describe your qualifications using measurable outcomes and specific accomplishments.
  • Do not make statements that you cannot prove.
  • Use "I" to refer to yourself.
  • Keep it brief (1-2 pages). Your resume is an overview of your qualifications, not your life story.
  • Correct all typographical, grammatical, and spelling errors.
  • Maintain an eye-appealing visual layout.
  • Keep it neat, well organized, and professional.
  • Include a cover letter when mailing your resume. It makes your application more personal. It also demonstrates that you are seriously interested in the job.
  • Avoid any mention of salary expectations or wage history.

Make Your Resume Scannable and Readable

Companies often do not have the resources to review all the resumes they receive. Large employers use electronic resume scanning systems that look for specific keywords or phrases. They use this to match your resume to the minimum requirements for the position. Your resume will have a greater chance of being read if you follow these tips:

  • Give priority to the skills on your resume. Scannable resume systems are designed to look for skills.
  • Use headings to draw attention to different sections of your resume.
  • Use bullets to breakdown blocks of text to highlight details and make your resume easier to read.
  • Use spacing consistently.
  • Use keywords for skills and occupation-specific requirements.
  • Use large margins and plenty of white space.
  • Use bold sparingly and consistently.
  • Use no more than two fonts and use them consistently.
  • Use 8 1/2" x 11" high-quality paper.
  • Do not use a font size smaller than 10 or larger than 14.
  • Do not use italic or underlined text.
  • Do not use graphics or shaded backgrounds.
  • Do not staple or fold your resume. Send it in a flat white envelope.

Source: Creative Job Search, Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.

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