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Winning Resume

"5 Keys To A Winning Resume"

From Career Tips, 2004 Volume 1, January 2004


1. Create a Clean, Professional Appearance

  • Never use a font less than 10 point, or margins less than 1".
  • Make sure Name & Address, Section Headings and Content stand out from each other via variations in font size, bold, italics, capitalization, etc.
  • Leave sufficient white space so that it is pleasing to the eye and easy to read; double space between sections, etc.
  • Make certain all indentations and bullets line up exactly.
  • Consider using full-justification (like a book or sales brochure).
  • Make sure there are no misspellings, bad grammar, or spacing problems.


2. Open With a Strong Summary of Qualifications

A brief, generic job objective is OK, but frankly, it doesn't add much to your resume. After all, everyone knows that your real objective is "I want a job!"


What is really key is your opening statement of the skills, qualities and qualifications you bring to the table. A common error is to make this primarily a list of technical skills. Be sure to describe the business and leadership skills you offer.


3. Keep to the Right Length

Never, ever go beyond two pages - unless you want your resume to wind up in the circular file!


At the other extreme, many people recommend limiting resumes to one page. I disagree. Don't arbitrarily limit your resume to one page, AS LONG AS YOU HAVE SOMETHING WORTH SAYING. And if you've been working 10 years or longer, a one page resume can be a red flag - it gives the impression that you haven't accomplished much in your career, since you don't have much to say about it.


4. Experience Bullets Should Be About What YOU Did

Phrases like "member of team that created..." convey little about YOUR contributions. Tell what specifically you did and accomplished as a member of that team. And be sure to use active words and tenses.


5. Don't Just Tell What You Did, Talk About Results

A potential employer doesn't just want to know what you accomplished, he or she wants to know that you are capable of producing results. (This is also a good way to show that you understand the implications of your work.) Particularly powerful are statements about improving profits, increasing revenues, saving expenses, and more efficient use of resources. And whenever possible, include numbers.


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