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How to Create Great Resumes

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To submit your resume online please click here for template.

Bren's "Baker's Dozen" of Do's and Don't

Do:

1. Do use 14 point text. This allows the person reading your resume to view key words and skim quickly to see those things needed. Twelve point is too small as the lines seem to run together. This little adjustment works wonders, and feels good to the reader's eyes. (Notice the difference here.)

2. Do use a clean style, in text format, (especially when downloading as systems are incompatible these days.) Neatness counts when it is sent over Internet lines.

3. Do qualify who you are and what your objective is : i.e. Oracle DBA, Sr Systems Analyst, Unix Systems Admin.., Programmer Analyst, CNE etc.

4. Do qualify your best and most recent skills. Mention the skills you worked with in each position so one can tell how recent your experience is in that skill (Unix, C, Informix, conversion.)

5. Do qualify what you want: i.e. Contract or Permanent work , Part time, full time, fixed bid, hourly including rate or salary, or telecommute only.

6. Do remember to KISS. Keep It Simple Stupid. No one wants to look forever to see what you want and will throw your resume to the side.

7. Do regular updates. If you are a contractor, make sure you update your resume at the end of each assignment.

8. Do qualify your availability. i.e. Immediately, January 1997 etc.

9. Do qualify where you want to work and be specific. Bay Area is not as specific as the cities of Mt View or London, UK.

10. Do list three to five current references that can be called today. Make sure these people know you are using them as references. Preferably they should be people you worked with at companies listed in the resume. Your web site is also good to reference.

11. Do list your qualifications/education. Make sure your degrees etc. can be verified.

12. Do use Bold text to highlight new positions and company names.

13. Do write resumes of 1-3 pages in length. Sometimes more is acceptable, but 10 pages is ridiculous.

Do not:

1. Do not list every job or skill you have had since the beginning of time. If you are looking for a permanent position and have been employed for several years at the same company keep this in the past 10 years. If you are a contractor, the past 2-5 years with changes every six months or so.

2. Do not list children, wives, hobbies, age, political preferences, awards unheard of, and GPA's. In some states, these things are inappropriate to know or ask in interviews and should not be part of your personal profile. Keep it professional. A little mystery goes a long way.

3. Do not send photographs for positions in the U.S. (In Europe, it may be appropriate.)

4. Do not print false information, EVER. You would be surprised how many people have degrees that are not on record, or phone numbers that are disconnected.

5. Do not take on an American name if you have an unusual name i.e. Chapekar "John" Gangopadhya. Put in parentheses the correct pronunciation ( Chap Eh Kar Gango pod hi)

6. Do not spend money paying someone to write your resume unless it is for a top level executive position. Many people do not know the technology industry and the language we use.

7. Do not list managers' names with companies listed that may give you an unfavorable reference. The company name is enough. Some employers will call anyone listed on the resume much to the surprise of the job seeker.

8. Do not use extensive graphics, color, stickers, sparkles or anything else to surprise the receiver of your paper resume. Many meticulous people dislike surprise confetti on their desks.

9. Do not write your job experience in long ad nauseam paragraph form, but rather short bullets or phrases i.e. *Wrote C Shell scripts in Unix Environment *Developed new prototype for end user in C++.

10. Do not list future courses as present skills.

11. Do not list unrelated employment. It is nice to know you supported yourself through school, however retail sales, is of no interest when you want a programming position.

12. Do not use cursive fonts for resumes, or italics. Bold is Better for emphasis.

13. Do not send a resume that has not been put through spell check and proofread by another. To, Too and Two will all pass through spell check.

Bren has many more tips on how to create great resumes and can be contacted at bren@bren-bna.com

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