Niles Associates, Inc
Resume Tips                                                                                                                 

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There isn't one "right" way.

We read many resumes. On this page we share with you our opinions regarding resume format and information. Our opinions are divided into three categories:

 
So, please read on, considering the parts that speak to you, and ignoring the parts with which you disagree. We hope you find this beneficial, but remind you that for expert advice, seek out a professional resume service.

Overall, keep the purpose of the resume in mind to guide your decisions, critiquing it from the viewpoint of the reader. You only get a few seconds to make a positive impression, so make the seconds count!

 
 

Basics

 
Chronology
  • It's standard practice to list positions in chronological order, most current position first.
 
Font Style and Size
  • Use easily legible font styles and sizes.
  • Avoid fancy script styles and keep at 10 points or above.
 
Grammar and Spelling
  • Proof-read once, twice, then repeat!
  • Don't guess on grammar...look it up. In addition to some internet resources, The Gregg Reference Manual by William A. Sabin is an invaluable desk reference book.
 
Length
  • One to two pages is considered acceptable.
  • Possibly three pages are OK for a highly experienced person.
 
Name, Contact Information
  • Include your name, address and contact information.
  • Don't forget your e-mail address!
 
Transmission
  • Put your resume in e-mail format.
  • The most commonly used format is MS Word. Be sure whatever format you use is easily translated by most computer systems.
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Our Preferences:
 
Accomplishments vs. Responsibilities
  • Here is a golden opportunity to "toot your horn."
  • Explain what you do and how well you do it with concrete, measurable achievements.
 
Bullet Points
  • Bring your information to the attention of the reader.
  • Be sure bullets line up correctly.
  • Important information is easily lost in prose.
 
Computer Competency
  • OK to include statement of your computer proficiency, but in today's business climate, it is assumed.
 
Dates
  • Use month and year, not just year.
  • Omitting dates raises questions.
 
Education
  • Include the degree earned in addition to the name of the college or university.
  • If no degree was earned, say so.
    • When we conduct the education checks, it doesn't look good if no degree was earned, but the resume implies (or worse, states) you earned a degree.
  • If listing seminars, classes, etc., they should be relevant to the position.
 
Employer Description
  • Provide needed information.
    • For example, explain if XYZ Company is a clothing retailer or a high-speed manufacturer of industrial widgets, and has annual revenues of $5M or $500M.
 
Header/Footer
  • Include your name on each page.
  • Indicate page # of ## on each page.
 
Metropolitan Area
  • If not obvious, include major metropolitan area nearest your home.
 
Multiple Positions with Same Employer
  • Put positions under single employer heading.
    • Show progression of responsibility.
    • Avoid impression of job-hopping.
 
Personal Information
  • Include information relevant to employers, such as participation in industry related organizations, how you have exhibited leadership, language abilities, etc.
  • Avoid protected status information.
 
Pronoun "I"
  • Vary the sentence structure to reduce the number of the first person pronouns.
    • This reflects good written communication skills.
 
References
  • OK to provide statement that references will be provided upon request, it is assumed so not really necessary.
  • Pages of references letters are premature.
 
Skills-Based Format
  • Format can be frustrating when one can't determine if accomplishments and experience are current.
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Choices
 
Keyword List / Branding
  • Create branding statement at the top of the resume.
  • Increase your chances of being singled out by companies that use a scanner for the first round of screening. Keywords can be anywhere in the resume.
 
Objective Statement
  • Provide substance.
  • Customize to fit the person/company receiving your resume.
  • Focus on what you will bring the employers rather than vice versa.
 
Omission of Company/Candidate Name
  • Omission is understandable in light of confidentiality issues.
  • Provide enough information on employment so your work history isn't a mystery!
  • Provide a clear way to be reached.
 
3rd Person Perspective
  • Pro: Conveys a sense of professionalism.
  • Con: Implies the resume wasn't written by the candidate.
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