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  • Dr. CK Bray

The Ferrari of Resumes


Your resume is one of the most important tools in your career belt. “But I don’t need it!” you say to me. “I’m not looking for another job!” It doesn’t matter if you are the happiest employee in the land of Oz -- you need to always have an updated resume. You never know when you might have the opportunity for a promotion or you suddenly decide to change organizations. The time to fix, improve and reconstruct your resume is now, not when you are under stress looking for a new job or trying to prepare for a promotion interview. I can promise you that if you spend the time now you will be grateful later. All I am suggesting is that you update your resume once a year or when you change job responsibilities or tasks. That’s it. Spend 4-6 hours a year. Anyone can do that. Let me share some helpful hints and tips on creating the perfect resume.

1. Your resume should be no longer than one page. It doesn’t matter if you have been in the working world for 20 years or 300; your resume should only be one page. (There are a few exceptions, but they are rare.) In most cases it doesn’t matter, the organization only needs a glimpse at you so they can make the decision whether or not to bring you in for an interview. You want to give them enough information “at a glance” to want to bring you in and learn more about you and what you can offer to their organization. If you think that they are going to read through three pages of a resume you are dead wrong. I have interviewed over 1,000 people and I have rarely, if ever, looked at two pages of a resume.

2. Since you only have one page to fit all your information in, make sure and pack in as much as possible. There are no real rules around spacing, margins and size of type (although most resumes are in Times New Roman font). Feel free to play around with the spacing and the size of the font to fit in as much as you can. (Be sure not to make it impossible to read.)

3. I have seen numerous individuals make a truckload of money off of creating resumes for others. I would encourage you not to go this route. Don’t pay someone else to type up your resume. Instead, hop on the internet and search out resumes. I have also included some great example resumes on the resource page of my website to give you formatting examples. SECRET HINT: Search out resumes in your field (Google them) so you can look at the verbiage that is required; this will help you write your resume. Another suggestion is to get on some of the main job sites and look at job postings and use that verbiage when creating your resume.

4. One of the biggest mistakes on a resume is….MISTAKES! Go over your resume five times and then give it to another person to review at least twice. When they return it, give it to another individual to review. You lose instant credibility when you have mistakes on your resume. (HELPFUL HINT: Try to find someone who is a good editor. If you don’t know anyone personally who could edit, find local high school or community college English teachers and ask them to look at it.) You have plenty of options for assistance! Don’t give it to your brother-in-law who barely made it through 6th grade… Not a good idea.

5. The meat of your resume is the job history. Make sure that you start your resume with your most recent job and work back from there. Spend ample time on the job responsibilities and what you were able to accomplish. The job responsibilities give your potential employer an idea of what you did on a daily basis and the accomplishments let them know if you were good at your job. Don’t leave off jobs as gaps longer than two to three months don’t look good. This is where you should spend most of the time on your resume because it is what is going to get you an interview. Be very thorough, but not exhaustive (meaning use short and sweet bullet points). Provide dates of when you worked. When describing your responsibilities make sure you use action words like “supervise or oversee.”

6. When stating accomplishments make sure you are very clear on presenting those accomplishments. Be specific. Did you achieve 100% of the goal? What were you ranked in sales? What were your production numbers? You want to provide specific information so that your potential employer is able to understand your accomplishments.

7. Be sure and include your education. The most current education will go on top. Some like to put the education at the top and some individuals like to put education after their job history. Tailor the resume to the the job you are applying for. If education is more important, put that at the top. If work history and experience are more important, put those first. Your resume should look different for the different jobs you are applying for. You may need to change the verbiage of your resume to match the job description. (All companies and market segments have their own language and verbiage.)

8. If this is your first job out of high school or college you can put previous jobs that you worked during your education. If you are not a new graduate, don’t put college or high school jobs on your resume unless they specifically pertain to the job you are applying for. I love it that you worked as a hand model through college but your beautiful hands are not going to help you secure the sales job.

9. Here are some items that you should not include on your resume:

a. Leave out your personal hobbies unless they are accomplishments that show your tenacity and hard work. I love that you love to macramé but it won’t matter to the interviewer.

b. Don’t put objective purpose statements at the top of the resume. They are vague, annoying and don’t pertain to anyone or provide insight into the type of person you are.

c. Don’t include pictures—even if you are Miss America. Well, … if you are Miss America include a picture, but realize people may discriminate against you without even realizing they are.

d. Don’t use video resumes unless you are going for a creative company!

Having a current professional resume on hand is important to the development of your career. Remember that you only need to update your resume once a year so spend the necessary 4-6 hours to create an excellent resume. You won’t regret it! Remember, it is your career.