1. Choose a format that best suits you. For many, listing jobs and duties will suffice--however, for those who have had many jobs or perhaps jobs with a large scope of duties, it may be best to list key categories/skills with specific, quantifiable bullets. Also, if you're applying for more than one kind of job, you may consider having a few different resumes that highlight the varying aspects of your expertise. If you need inspiration for a new format, use google to search other people's resumes. It can be extremely helpful.
2. If possible, quantify. People reviewing resumes LOVE to see numbers because it gives them a better idea of the workload you have handled.
Which bullet is stronger?:
- Prepared bimonthly payroll for entire staff.
- Prepared bimonthly payroll for staff of 80.
Numbers are (almost) always a good thing.
3. Goodness, please check your spelling and grammar! Since a resume is an effort to "sell" yourself, make it your best effort. When I come across a resume with spelling or grammar errors of any kind, it is tossed out. Why? Because it tells me that I can't trust you to send out a decent e-mail to a client, or that you won't be able to create error-free correspondence. We're all humans though, and I am by no means perfect. All I am trying to emphasize is the importance of putting your BEST into your resume.
4. What e-mail address are you providing the potential employer with? My advice is to keep it conservative. "Daddysgirl4ever@ananymous.com" may be a cute e-mail address, but does it instill confidence in your potential employer? I would suggest a name-based e-mail address, like "email@example.com". If you don't have an e-mail address like this, you can easily set one up for free with gmail, yahoo, or hotmail.
5. Submit your resume in the format that the job poster requests. If an employer asks for a .doc attachment, send a .doc attachment. If it asks for your resume pasted into an e-mail, by all means just paste it.
6. Always include a cover letter. When I was applying for jobs, I had about 3 versions of a cover letter that I would tweak to highlight the skills needed for the job I was applying to. For instance, when I applied for a job with an Air Force contract, I emphasized my previous experience with the Air Force. When I submitted a resume for a Human Resources position, I highlighted the amount of HR coursework I had completed during my college career in the cover letter. A cover letter sets you apart from other applicants because you are taking time to do a step that 80% of other applicants are skipping. It shows that you're not out just posting to every job opening you see, but that you're a discerning employee who takes your time to evaluate the job description and to compare it to your skill set and strengths.
What is your advice for a good resume?
I'd like to offer my help to anyone reading this post. Want a second set of eyes to review your resume? Let me know, and I'd be glad to help. I am by no means an expert, but I am a seasoned editor and I have a decent grasp of what employers are looking for.