It can be very confusing in preparing a resume. What are potential employers looking for in a candidate? Am I being too wordy or too short with my bullet points? Do I include bullet points? Below are some tips to help you prepare a resume to show off your talent, education and experience.


General format of a resume should be preferably in a Word or PDF document. Many candidates are concerned about sending Word documents, yet the reality is Word documents open easily and can be shared easily, which is what a candidate would like to have happen to their resume. Sometimes a Human Resource Director would like to highlight your pertinent experience before sending it to a Department Supervisor, which can be done easily in Word format.

Please, no tables, fancy designs, fancy fonts, multiple fonts, colors or anything that may cause issue to digitally sharing your information. If it's too hard to share your resume, it could land in the virtual garbage can, particularly if you are not the best candidate by review of your resume. Use one font (two sizes of the same font is OK), a "clean" font (no script, etc.) and bullet points.

Use Searchable and Effective Titles with the Right Keywords

You may have been a specialized Process Engineer or Lab Technician with a fancy title, yet by listing your title as just that, "Process Engineer" or "Lab Technician", your resume will make it easier for recruiters and HR Directors to find you. You can place your specialized skills in the bullet points showing your experience under your title.

Use your Numbers and Your Skills

Did you manage a budget of $100,000 or $2m? Did you manage 1 budget or 5 budgets for 3 different departments? Did you manage 3 employees or 33 employees? Where those employees Technicians or Vice Presidents? All these data points are crucial in conveying your experience to someone looking for a candidate such as yourself.

List every software or skill you have comfortably acquired. Meaning, if you could sit down and complete the basic to moderate level of tasks . . . it counts. Many candidates forget to put down systems, interfaces, databases, or just general Microsoft Office Package programs; you would be left out of the search when looking for your candidacy.

Do Not Include Irrelevant Information

It's nice that you volunteer for the Little Tots soccer team, yet the reality is a potential employer really won't focus on this information, nor will it potentially assist your candidacy. Any hobby information such as Eagle Scouts, or volunteer work will not assist with proving your worth as a viable candidate unless it is listed in the minimum job requirements.

If you are married with children, please remove this and any personal information from your resume. Employers do not want to know this information, plus, it provides potential discriminatory information which employers will not and cannot include in their assessment of your candidacy. If you graduated from High School or College, remove any date of graduation from your resume. Remember, this provides too much personal information and not related to your candidacy or proof of your viability for the job.

List All Your Work Experiences/Positions and Remove Your Older Work Experiences

List experience in order from MOST recent.

If you experience in over 20+ years, it's probably no longer relevant to your current work circumstance or the position you are attempting to acquire. It may be time to remove it.

Most resumes, dependent on experience, would be 2 to 5 pages. This would be an entry level position to a CEO or Senior Leader resume. Count each page as 5 years of experience. Meaning, 15 years of experience should equal 3, no more than 4 pages of resume.

List all of your experience in bullet points in one or two lined statements, usually one bullet point per sentence or statement. Writing a paragraph of your experience makes it difficult for recruiters or human resource personnel to quickly find your skills.

Use Action Verbs and Update Your Resume Regularly

Remember, your previous jobs required action on your part, so list it as such. Examples include "Experienced, Administrated, Balanced, Created, Implemented, etc." There should be at least one action verb in each bullet point.

When receiving a potential opportunity is not the time to update your resume. Update your resume with every new skill(s) you acquire. This way, you will not forget all the things that make you unique.

Sell Yourself but No lies . . . Please

Make sure you make a true assessment of your skills and that they can be verified. In a digital world, it is fairly easy to confirm your work abilities and capabilities without having to ask the candidate. There are also many experts whom may interview you, verifying that you are able to complete the tasks on the job.

If you oversell yourself or lie on an interview, you could be wasting your time and missing another opportunity at the same company, possibly in a different department or area.

Analyze Job Ads, Spellcheck and Get Someone Else to Review Your Resume

Analyzing online job ads can be the best help in writing a resume. Many candidates review the ads after writing their resume, only to find out "I do that!!" and make the addition to their resume. It's amazing how many candidates might not spellcheck their resume. Remember, to an employer, if you don't check your resume, this conveys you don't check your work as well.

Get someone to review your resume. Then, act like you're the recruiter. Ask the other person "what do I do for a living?", "what skills do I have that are unique?", "what position am I looking for?" If the answers are not correct for what you do or want to convey, time to edit your resume again.