Preparing Your Job Resume or CV

The resume, or curriculum vitae (CV) as it is known in some circles, constitutes one of the key documents throughout your life in your search for work. You will constantly need to update it whenever finding a new job, so being able to manage it instead of letting your resume manage you will be one of your first victories in your job search.

Make it visually interesting. Key points to make it visually interesting includes writing in a font size that is large enough for the reader, having lots of white space so that the resume is not totally cluttered with words, and organizing it so that is visually appealing to the eye even without reading the words are some of the key elements to making the resume visually interesting. Use bold, underlining, and ALL CAPS when you feel it is necessary, but don't overuse those features. Use tables (make the borders invisible perhaps), and write in point form if possible. Remember to include one inch margins all around.  Also try to use fonts that are easy to read and not straining to the eyes. For example, italics is generally harder to read. Arial is probably quite standard and may be the easiest type of font to read. Similarly, do not make the font size so small that people have to squint to read it. The font probably should not be smaller than font size 11 if using Arial, and even better if it is font size 12. Sometimes, though, bigger fonts tend to give the appearance of excessive clutter because there is not enough white space, so it is important to balance the amount of clutter with the size of the font.

Include only important content. Try to strip away all unnecessary information, but at the same time, try to include as much details and relevant information about yourself as possible. Each type of job you apply to may require you to tailor your resume to emphasize certain traits about yourself, so you may need to modify your resume accordingly. You want to paint a picture of yourself that you are the best person for this job, and it is done through the various sections of the resume. Each section should further strengthen the picture of you as a competent individual suited for the job. However, you do not want to include so much information that you bore the reader or that they have to plough through huge paragraphs to read about what you have contributed. Therefore, try to be as concise as possible, but at the same time, including as much pertinent information and information that emphasize your good qualities.

Use chronological or reverse chronological order. One of the most common mistakes that applicants make when preparing their resume is not including events in chronological or reverse chronological order. Choose one or the other and use that style throughout each of your sections. It makes the resume much easier to read through.

Revise and revise. Go through several drafts of your resume. Just try experimenting with different layouts and including different amounts and types of information. Eventually, you will find style and amount of content that you will really like, and you can use that. Feel free to put it away for several days and then come back to it. That is why it is important to try to prepare the job search earlier so that you have time to work on your resume way before you need it. Also, if you devote more time to your resume initially, you can spend more time on your cover letter later on. 

Just check, double check, triple check, and have others check the spelling and grammar of your resume. Remember to leave enough time after you finish revising to let other people read through it to see if there is anything that they don't understand or for typographical errors because it is really easy to miss something if you are too familiar with the document yourself. It would be advise to print out a copy of your resume because sometimes errors are not spotted on the computer screen but only seen after printing.

In summary, to prepare an outstanding resume, try to

A. Make it visually interesting

B. Include only important content

C. Use chronological or reverse chronological order

D. Revise frequently

Life Skills > Work Skills > Preparing Your Resume or CV


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Last Checked 2015