Your resume is the first step to a successful job search and may also be your first chance to make an impression on any recruiter. Hence, it is important to work on your resume format first before looking for a job. Different countries have different resume styles. If you are planning to secure a job in the US, it is important to customize your resume accordingly. Your resume should entail a concise summary of the high points in your education, work experience, skills and other qualifications.
Your resume should not exceed the page limit of one page, single sided. You can extend the length to two pages only if you have extensive experience (10+ years). Make your resume on 8.5”x 11” paper with 0.5- 1 inch margins on all sides and font size should be 10-12 points. It is safe to use a conservative font, such as Arial or Times New Roman. Usually a recruiter will take between 10-15 seconds to scan your resume so make sure you leave sufficient space to make the page easy to scan.
At the top of the page, put your name, address and phone number. Do not include personal information such as age, gender, marital and health status. It is illegal for recruiters to seek this information in the US. Avoid writing, ‘references are available upon request’. Employers assume that you will provide the information when needed. Back your experience and how you contributed to your organizational goals by citing numbers for example, size and/or scale of projects, budgeting, staff etc. Education and work experience should be ordered chronologically with the most recent at the top. Education should include information about all post secondary institutions attended, degree received along with the dates attended. Work experience should include information about organization name, location, title and duration. At the end of your resume, you are encouraged to add a section about your accomplishments such as honors, awards, foreign languages and relevant skills.
It is strongly recommended not to use first person, I, or any pronouns. Instead use action verbs and strong adjectives to catch the attention of the recruiter. For e.g., Developed and conducted stay and exit interview for 300 shop floor employees. Few examples of action verbs are; analyzed, coordinated, supervised, designed, programmed etc. Try to leave out unnecessary words, sentences, and phrases such as “Responsibilities included/Roles/Hired to. Proofread to eliminate all spelling, punctuation, and grammatical errors and also use an English (United States) spell check program.
Tailor Your Resume
Tailor your resume according to the job description. Different jobs have different requirements therefore it is imperative to customize your resume according to the position you are looking for. Try to emphasize on the specific skills required for that particular job. Nowadays, some companies select candidates through online resume scanning technology. They use specific keywords to identify candidates so try and use as many of those necessary words. You can speculate keywords through job requirements and responsibilities.
Reference: Career Development Handbook- MIT