Most job searches begin in the same way. A resume is sent to the company. An official in the company then sorts through piles of resumes searching for candidates who are qualified. The candidate is not there to persuade the official that he is the best person for the job, so it is vital that the resume be an accurate and powerful representation of the candidate’s skills.
While there are plenty of general how-to-resume guides, different fields have different resume expectations. Not following these expectations could lead to a long and drawn-out job search. Below are suggestions for formatting resumes to pursue a job in writing, education, or business.
General Resume Format
Before delving into the individual fields, I will first focus on some formatting conventions that all fields should follow. All resumes should be clear, concise, and highly descriptive because most officials only spend 30 seconds glancing over the resume. If they are not impressed with the format of the resume and the skills that they see, your resume will quickly land in the trash. In order to prevent this your resumes should follow these conventions:
- Fonts are easy to read. Font size of 11 or 12. Good fonts to use are Arial, Times New Roman, or Cambria.
- Use font styles like bold or italic to emphasis important points.
- Margins should be around .5” or 1”. Do not make the margins larger to fit more on your resume.
- Format your education, experience, and work sections in reverse chronological order (present experience listed first).
- Do not include your GPA unless it is above a 3.0.
- Begin descriptions of your experience with an action verb.
- Research your job field and company to determine keywords to include in your resume.
If you are pursuing a career in technical writing or journalism, your resume is more than a representation of your past experience. It is proof of your writing skill. Due to that fact it is important that you create a near perfect resume. Here are some resume formatting conventions to keep in mind:
- Include the URL of your online portfolio in your header. Online portfolios allow you to expand on your resume. It is also a great way to provide more writing samples.
- The resume should not exceed one page in length.
- Reference to writing experience is vital, so any internships, school projects, publications, and volunteer experience that focused on your writing should be given priority.
- Remember to include the writing styles you are familiar with and any computer software you know how to use.
If you are pursuing a career in education, your resume should be well-organized, grammatically correct, and with proper spelling. As a teacher, you are trying to set yourself up as an individual with the knowledge and skills to teach younger students. A bad resume could be taken as proof that you lack the basic skills to do the job—even if you aren’t applying to be an English teacher. Here are some important formatting conventions to keep in mind:
- Include the URL of your online portfolio in your header. Your online portfolio is a great place to include your teaching philosophy, lesson plans, syllabi, and exam sheets.
- The resume should be two pages due to all of the education, teaching experiences, and accreditations that you must have.
- Include an objective directly after your contact information. The objective should explain what teaching position you are applying for.
- Your education section must include your college, degree, major, minor, and concentration.
- Your teaching experience section should be placed after the education section. You must include your position title, the organization or school name, the location, and the start and end date for each experience.
- You are required to include any accreditations and license that you have received.
If you are pursuing a career in business after graduating with an information technology or business administration degree, you will need to tailor your resume depending on what type of work you are pursuing.
Applicants who are creating an entry level or internship resume should keep these formatting conventions in mind:
- The resume should be no longer than one page.
- Any honors, certifications, or license should be included.
- In the skills section on list skills that they would not expect you to have.
Applicants who are creating an information technology resume should keep these formatting conventions in mind:
- The resume is usually around two pages.
- You must include a Technical or Career Summary after your header and objective. The summary should be 6 to 8 sentences. It should tell the reader who you are, what skills you have, and what you will bring to the organization.
- Include a skills section that has all of the computer languages, operating systems, software, hardware, and networking skills that you have.
- In your education section you should include the college, degree, and major. Do not put the date that you graduated.
- Include any license or certifications.
As long as you pay attention to the general and field specific resume tactics, you can create a resume that can catch and hold the attention of the hiring manager. Remember if your resume fails to catch his or her attention, you will never land that job.
This article was submitted by Katherine Gredley.