A few weeks ago, we published 5 Resume Tips For The Politically Career Driven Woman – Part One. If you haven’t read the first five tips, go read them now. For the rest of you, part 2 is here.
The following are six tips I wish someone had told me when I was drafting my first resume. I believe each of these tips is crucial to developing a professional, easy-to-read resume.
6) Action verbs
Remember when you learned the difference between action and linking or “be” verbs in high school? Well, now is a great time to pull out those lists again. Each of the bulleted points describing your job responsibilities should begin with a strong action verb. Good examples of action verbs are instructed, facilitated, computed, collected, scheduled, conceptualized, processed, achieved, resolved, monitored, compiled – to list a few. Avoid words like helped or aided. These words are vague and do not accurately describe what it is you did.
7) One page
Unless you have ten years, or more, of relevant experience, your resume should fit to one page. There’s no exception to this. Condense your job responsibilities, omit a summer job, or move your education to a single line—always keep your resume to one page.
8) Address- for my D. C. jobseekers
I wrote about how to format your address in my previous article, but the content of your address can also be important. Let’s say you’re interning in DC, but you’re from Oklahoma and you want to stay in DC full-time following your internship. While applying for jobs in DC during your internship, be sure to list your current DC address rather than your Oklahoma address. Employers like to see that you’re already in the DC area which is often a plus for them. This way they know you’re local to set up an in-person interview. It saves them time and moving costs.
9) Font & font size
Times New Roman, Arial, Calibri. Stick to one of these readable fonts, and you’re golden. Font size should be 12 pt. If you’re really tight on space, 11 pt. is also fine. Avoid 10 pt. or smaller. Make the recruiter’s job easy by keeping your resume as readable as possible. Recruiters won’t often take the time to figure out what your resume says. They’ll just toss it.
10) Page layout
Keep your margins at default which is typically 1 inch all the way around. All of your content should be left-aligned, aside from your start/end dates which should be right-aligned.
Don’t get too creative with page layout. Always keep in mind that you want your resume as readable as possible.
11) Photos & clipart
Your resume should be text only. I’ve seen resumes where job applicants have pasted their headshots into the resume. Sometimes, recruiters can no longer consider applicants who add their photos, because this takes away from the unbiased point of view. Although, a recruiter will try to maintain an unbiased position, seeing a headshot of an applicant can make this difficult. Prove that you’re the best for the job by your work. To be clear, I’m speaking to those of you applying in the political field. For those applying for art or design positions, you may be required to demonstrate your abilities through your application. Never, ever, under and circumstance should there be clip art on your resume. Seems like a no-brainer; but, trust me, I’ve seen it—and it’s not pretty.