Resumes 101

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Resumes…..”How do you look on paper?” by SBDC Outreach Counselor Pat Taylor

As I was going over a list of items needed for loan packaging, I discovered that a personal resume was part of the package. I thought, “Wow, even in the world of loan packaging the resume is part of the presentation.” And why not? Who are you and what are you bringing to the table?

Do you have a resume? When is the last time you updated your resume?

For many years, I taught resume writing and found out lots of interesting things. The number one thing that I discovered was that most people do not have a resume. Second, I discovered that most people did not know how to start writing a resume. And third, it had been many years since the last resume had been written.

Resumes are important. Not only are they important, but they are necessary in all areas of business and employment. It does not matter whether you work for someone else or are self-employed, resumes are necessary. So, if you are lacking a resume, my advice to you is to get busy and either update what you have or create one if you don’t have one.

What do you put in a resume? Well, after the main ingredients – name, and contact information, there are many ways to document your employment history and accomplishments. The internet is replete with suggestions. Choose a style that represents you. No two of us are alike; therefore, no two resumes are alike. What’s good for you may not be good for me.

However, there are a few things that need to be consistent. I recommend the following. Your resume should fit on one page. Sometimes, there will be a second page. Please do not go beyond two pages. The Human Resources office only has about thirty seconds to review each resume, and you want yours read. This forces you to prioritize all of your entries.

Next, consider the fonts. Times Roman and Arial are the best because they are readable and most offices have them in their font collection. For example, you email your resume to a prospective employer or loan officer, they will in all probability have either of these two fonts and your email will result in a successful send. Save the fancy fonts for invitations, announcements, etc.

Your name should be the largest print on the resume. I suggest 16 points font size, bold. Next, all headings should range between 12 points – 14 points, bold. Entries below each heading should range between 10 point and 12 point. Never below 10 points – things are too hard to read. Of course, be sure to adjust your font sizes according to the amount of data you have on the page. As an extra added touch, it would be nice to bullet the items below each of your headings.

Watch your margins. You can control the amount of information on the page by wise use of your margin settings. Each new document has a default margin. Please adjust this margin according to your needs. However, be careful to have enough white space. This keeps your resume readable and professional in appearance.

OK! What about style? Are you focusing on your accomplishments/employment history or on your skills, or … There are so many styles available to you these days: Functional, Chronological, Combination, etc. Of course, you can go to various websites and get great information. Here’s a book that I used, and it is wonderful, Best Damn Resumes by Yana Parker. It has great information, cover letters and a variety of sample resumes. The last time I checked, it cost around $8.00 and can be purchased online or at your favorite bookstore.

When visiting the internet, you will see “create a resume in minutes”. Please do not believe it. Remember, the resume is representing you and you want to be well represented. So, please take your time and develop a resume you will be proud to show. Don’t forget the cover letter! But, that’s another blog.

Just remember, whether you are going in business for yourself, or going to work for someone else, or if you are applying for a loan, you need a resume. Don’t have one?….Get busy! If you feel you could benefit from my help, I can be reached at 361/698-1026 or email me at: ptaylor@delmar.edu.

Good Luck!!

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