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Simple guidelines for writing a stellar résumé

Lori Michelle Ryan, JIST Publishing

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Your résumé should communicate vital information to a potential employer, but how do you know if yours is up to par and will compete with other résumés?

In their new book, "Expert Résumés for Managers and Executives," authors Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark say that strict rules for writing résumés don't really exist, but that job seekers should consider some simple standards that most employers have come to expect. Here are some of their tips:

Content standards
-- Writing style: Always write in the active, not passive, voice.
-- Phrases to avoid: Do not use "responsible for" or "duties included," which are passive.
-- Résumé style: Organize your résumé chronologically, functionally or both.
-- Résumé formats: Use paragraphs, bullets or both.
-- Email address and URL: Include your email address and URL at the top of your résumé.

Presentation standards
-- Font: Use a clean, conservative, easy-to-read font. Some suggestions include Tahoma, Arial, Krone, Soutane, CG Omega, Century Gothic or Gill Sans.
-- Type size: 10- to 12-point fonts are generally easy to read.
-- Page length: One to two pages is usually enough.
-- Paper color: Use white, ivory or gray paper.
-- Graphics: Entry-level or midlevel job seekers may use graphics to enhance their résumés; senior or executive job seekers should avoid them.
-- White space: Leave plenty of white space to ensure readability.

Accuracy and perfection
"Your résumé must be well-written, visually pleasing and free of any errors, typographical mistakes, misspellings and the like," Enelow and Kursmark say. "Carefully proofread your résumé a minimum of three times, and then have two or three other people also proofread it.

"Consider your résumé an example of the quality of work you will produce on a company's behalf," they say. "Take the time to make sure that your résumé is perfect in all the details that make a difference to those who read it."

Lori Michelle Ryan is the marketing communications specialist at JIST Publishing, America's Career Publisher. In this role, she helps job seekers, career changers, students and working professionals develop the knowledge and skills needed to succeed in the job market and world of work.

Last Updated: 19/12/2011 - 3:48 PM

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