Crafting a Résumé

Crafting an eye-catching résumé that will get you an interview is difficult, but this post will increase your chances of getting noticed; the contents of your résumé will get you an interview.

After I earned my B.A., I struggled to gain employment in a good economy, but now I have 3 jobs.  Through my research, the way your résumé looks either gets you in the “Call Them” pile or “Hell No” pile.  I’ve found that hiring managers/employers (I’ll just shorten it to employers), they glance longer at résumés that follow what I call, POCCS:

  • Professional
  • Organized (easy to find things)
  • Clean (not cluttered)
  • Consistent
  • Stands out

Professional.  Your résumé is an extension of your professional self.  You don’t want to use fun or fancy-schmancy fonts that require your employer to take any additional time figuring out what that cursive word actually says.  Same rule, you don’t want to dress ostentatiously when you go on interviews, because you don’t want the interviewer to remember what you wear; you want them to remember who you are, and what you can do for the business.

Organized.  Your résumé needs to be organized with headers: Education, Work Experience, Volunteer, Skills, etc., so it’s easy for your interviewer to find info. about you and what you can do.  Organize each header by most important or relevant at the top and least important or relevant at the bottom.  Also, have dates/years of those jobs aligned and easy to find.  Don’t clutter your résumé; leave a space in between the last item under one heading and the start of the next heading.

Clean.  Bullet-point tasks that are relevant and transferrable to the position you’re applying for.  If the job post doesn’t say, “take out the trash once a week”, exclude the fact that you took out the trash at your previous job.  Sometimes you’ll have a list of duties like a shopping list for an elaborate party, but you won’t have the space to put everything on your résumé.  The jobs I’ve had where I didn’t need to use my education was when I had the most duties, except being a student-teacher.  I would stay away from whole sentences, because employers don’t have a lot of time to read whole sentences.  You’re also saving space by not using sentences.

Consistent.  Be consistent with writing and listing.  For example, you’re listing the duties you performed as a babysitter.

Watched 3 children

Read books

Took children to the park

I kept them safe

Prepared meals

Notice that duties 1-3 and 5 start with a verb, but duty 4 starts with a noun.  You can see and hear that the list sounds inconsistent, and it won’t make you look better.

Stands out.  If you’re submitting a paper-copy of your résumé, I suggest you use thicker paper, because it’s a physical difference from normal flimsy printer paper, and your employer only has to hold it up once for it to stick upright.  If your résumé is neat and full, it also stands out.  I don’t recommend using colors except blue when you have your email address and websites or blogs that you have some relation to (got published in the local newspaper and here’s the link to that article, or were a guest blogger and here’s the link to my post, or my website where I sell my artwork and here’s the link to my website).  I would stick with just black ink for everything else.

Sample Résumé.  If you check out my sample résumé, I put my education at the top, so my boss sees which credential I have, where I went to school, and my extensive experience.

This is a post on how your résumé should look.  A post on what to put on your résumé next time.  Don’t screw yourself out of an interview with common mistakes the time after that.

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