Saw this article on Monster and thought it was a great one to share for future reference. I have shortened it and included the link because there is a lot of good advice and continued support links on the site. CLICK HERE to view the whole article and additional links.
Writing a resume is like exercising: You may not look forward to it, but you feel better once it’s done. And like the results of a good workout, a well-presented resume can help you keep your career in shape.
Title and Objective
Enough with the stupid titles we dismiss and make fun of. This is your career we’re talking about.”
And an objective must get an employer’s attention quickly or it won’t get any attention at all. Your resume must grab my attention within the first few words of the objective. It must be clearly written and relevant to the position you are applying for. Take a little extra time and customize the objective to the position you are seeking…. If you cannot sell yourself with your resume, you might not have the opportunity to sell yourself at an interview”
Look and Feel
For the hard copy of your resume, make sure you invest in good paper stock, says one HR professional who has also composed and drafted resumes for professional clients. “Before our prospective employer even takes one glance at our resume, there is something they do first, and that is FEEL it,” she says. You can double the effect if you choose good-quality paper in a professional color other than white.”
When President Lincoln was asked how long a man’s legs should be, he said they should be able to reach from a man’s body to the floor. Likewise, your resume should be long enough to sell you properly without overstating your accomplishments.
Style and Grammar
Trust me: I won’t give a second thought to deleting a resume and/or cover letter that is fraught with mistakes.”
Resumes normally get less than a 15-second glance at the first screening. If someone has asked you to review his resume and you want to help him ensure it gets read — or want to know if your own is up to par — be sure you can answer yes to the following questions:
Does the resume look original and not based on a template?
Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the applicant’s value proposition?
Is the length and overall appearance of the resume appropriate given the career level and objective?
Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?
Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?
Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers’ eyes through the document and highlight important content?
Is there a good balance between text and white space?
Are margins even on all sides?
Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?
If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?
Are all resume sections clearly labeled?
Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant’s strongest credentials?
Is the work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?
Is the career objective included toward the top of the resume in a headline, objective or qualifications summary?
Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-fits-all document?
If this is a resume for career change, is the current objective clearly stated, along with supporting details showing how past experience is relevant to the new goal?
Does the resume include a solid listing of career accomplishments?
Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success?
Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?
Are accomplishments separated from responsibilities?
Is the information relevant to hiring managers’ needs?
Does the resume’s content support the career goal?
Is the resume keyword-rich, packed with appropriate buzzwords and industry acronyms?
Is applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, included, while personal information like marital status, age and nationality unrelated to the job target omitted?
Is the resume written in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns, such as I, me and my, avoided?
Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?
Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar or syntax errors?