How to Build the Perfect Résumé

The one thing I have learned from attending business writing classes and seeking assistance from the career center at my school is that you can put in hours building your résumé, and your future (potential) employer will only look at it for about six seconds. That is hardly enough time to establish any kind of first impression to a potential future employer.

There are many steps one must take to build the perfect résumé. Everything from the format to the verbage used. Hopefully you’ll find this particular post useful.

1. Format
It has been said employers don’t like templates, and for good reason, too. Templates provide unnecessary open space and it actually makes the résumé look more cluttered than it actually is. You don’t need to provide a picture of yourself, or make your font obscenely small to fit all of your accomplishments.

Here is what you should do:

  • Have your name bigger at the top, maybe in a script font. Centered.
  • Personal details (address, phone number, LinkedIn address, etc.) should go underneath in some kind of Times or similar font. It should be the same size as the rest of your résumé. Also centered.Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 12.39.05 PM
    *NOTE: The blue box is only to protect my personal information. This part should look like this:

    11111 Some Street Name City Name, STATE 11111   (123) 456-7890

  • Align right for the rest of your résumé.
  • Begin with education in bold and caps. What I like to do is put down the university I attended, directly underneath would be my major. Underneath that is my concentration, but it is slightly spaced to the left of the margin. Underneath that is my minor. You should put the years you attended left justified directly across “Education.” You can do this by hitting the tab key.

I will guide you on making a master résumé. Your master résumé will have all of your work experiences and it will include all of the details of your tasks. Keep in mind that when you apply for jobs, you will tailor your master résumé to whatever job you’re applying to.

If you don’t have any work experience, clubs and organizations work the same. Employers just want to see you are dedicated and driven.

  • The work experience title should look like the education title.
  • You will want to list your experiences in order from most recent down to your first job.
  • You want to start with the name of the business you worked for along with the month and year you worked there for. Again the date will be right justified by using tabs.
  • I like to italicize the job title and then proceed with bullet points of the tasks I actually did at said job. This is where proper résumé wordage comes in handy. Make your résumé stand out by using some of these. You will want to tailor this part to whatever job you are applying for. If the job description requires applicants to have cash handling skills and you handled cash at your current or previous jobs, mention that in your résumé.

So far, the rest of your résumé should look like this:

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.06.34 PM

  • If you have participated in any organizations, it is important to list those as well as what you did as well. Try to stay current (last 5 years). The organization portion is built like the work experience portion of your résumé.
  • Volunteer work is also nice to put onto a résumé. It shows that, not only do you work and/or participate in organizations, you also give back to the community through volunteering.

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  • The last thing to add is skills, if you have any. Language is very important, so list those at the top of your skills list. If you are proficient in any Microsoft Office Suite programs, you can list those as well. This is also where certifications can be placed, or you can make a separate tab for that.

Screen Shot 2016-06-15 at 1.07.01 PM

2. Presentation
It is important that all of the bullet points and dates are all equally aligned, since that is what makes your résumé aesthetically pleasing.

Another important thing is length. Your master résumé can be as long as you want it to be, but if you are going to apply for a job and submit a résumé to an employer, it is best that it is kept no longer than a page length. If this means you have to cut out unnecessary detail or extend the margins out, then do so. My margins are at 0.5 all around and I eliminated the header to gain space. I did this instead of compromising the size of my font.

When going to your interview, make sure to leave the portfolio at home. Instead, print your clean-looking résumé on fancy résumé paper (bring extras, just in case) and hand that to your interviewer before the interview begins, and have a copy for yourself. More on interview etiquette to come on my blog in the near future.

I hope this blog post suited you well. Now you have a résumé that can be used and modified for years to come!


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