Résumé Preparation Tips

1. Look and Feel

Basics

  • End each sentence should with a period(.)
  • Margins should be 0.75 to 1 inches.
  • Check for spelling mistakes in English words. For technical keywords, protect the Word document as read only before distributing to hide the red and green squiggly lines.
  • Resume should be between 2 to 4 pages based on the experience.
  • Avoid images

Fonts

  • For headings use serif fonts 12pt like Times new roman, Garamond, Georgia, Goudy Old Style
  • For body use sans serif fonts 10pt like Calibri, Arial, Tahoma, Century Gothic, Lucida Sans
  • Don’t try to use fancy fonts. Readers may not have them in their system

2. Content

Grammar

  • Start with a verb – avoid 1st person pronouns (I, we) and 3rd person pronouns (he, she)
  • Avoid articles that crowd sentences (a, an, the) e.g., use ‘trained staff‘ instead of ‘trained the staff‘.
  • Helping verbs (have, had, may, might): Helping verbs weaken claims and credibility — implying that your time has passed and portraying you as a job-hunting weakling. Say ‘managed‘ instead of ‘have managed‘.
  • Being” verbs (am, is, are, was, were): Being verbs suggest a state of existence rather than a state of motion. Try “monitored requisitions” instead of “requisitions were monitored“. The active voice gives a stronger, more confident delivery.
  • Shifts in tense: Use present tense for a job you’re still in and past tense for jobs you’ve left. But, among the jobs you’ve left, don’t switch back and forth between tenses. Another big mistake: dating a job as though you’re still employed (2008-Present) and then describing it in the past tense.
  • Complex sentences: Unless you keep your sentences lean and clean, readers won’t take time to decipher them.
    • Process this mind-stumper:
      • Reduced hospital costs by 67% by creating a patient-independence program, where they make their own beds, and as noted by hospital finance department, costs of nails and wood totaled $300 less per patient than work hours of maintenance staff.
    • Eliminate complex sentences by dividing ideas into sentences of their own and getting rid of extraneous details:
      • Reduced hospital costs by 67%. Originated patient independence program that decreased per-patient expense by $300 each.
  • Overwriting: Use your own voice; don’t say expeditious when you want to say swift.

Miscellaneous

  • Accomplishment-oriented resume packs much stronger punch than a responsibility-oriented resume. Recommended keywords: persuaded, influenced, contributed to, participated in, or helped out with.
  • Quantifiable results: Don’t just say ‘reduced cost‘ or ‘improved efficiency‘. Quantify them with technical terms like: seconds of latency, number of bugs or prod incidents, or even an algorithmic improvement in big-O time.
  • Targeted resumes: Tailor your resume according to the role and company you are applying to. e.g., if you’re applying for a technical lead position after years of being a software engineer, you’ll want to mention the time that you led the design of a new feature.
  • Avoid long sentences: Make every bullet point around 1 or 2 lines.
  • No outdated skills under technical skills.
  • Summary/Value Statement: State the role you are applying for and what values you bring to job; Explain why you should be hired.
  • Core Strength / Technical skill summary:
    • comes before chronological project experience.
    • No outdated skills
    • Avoid crowding with too many technical skills.
    • Avoid obvious ones like MS Office, Windows, etc.
  • Experience:
    • Accomplishments, not responsibilities
    • Highlight company names more than the title, project title and the duration.
    • Ensure no gaps in experience timeline.
    • A résumé does not need to be a complete employment history. Do not go more than 10 or 15 yrs back.
    • Reduce the older job descriptions to 2 or 3 lines
  • Always prepare your resume in both Microsoft Word & PDF versions. Some automated systems prefer Word.

3. References