Monday, May 26, 2008

The Top of Your Resume IS Important

By Randi S. Lewis, Owner, Resume Boutique LLC
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Form and substance matter on resumes. Did you know that a recruitment or human resources professional, typically the person who decides whether to "continue reading" or "discard" your resume, takes about 5 to 10 seconds to make that initial decision? As a result, you want to make sure the top of your resume looks GREAT. Here are a few simple suggestions:
  1. Your name should be in bold and in larger font - 16 or 18 pts. There are a number of ways to postion your name and contact information. One clean way is to center your name and then on one or two lines you should place your address, the best telephone where you can be reached most often, and your email address. The address line should not be in bold and can be in the smallest font - no smaller than 10.5 but more commonly 11 pt.
  2. In the U.S., the most commonly used font is Times New Roman. Garamond if you want an elegant look. If you have a lot of information on your resume, you probably should use 11.5 or 11 pt. font. The font of the texts shouldn't be larger than 12 pt. Your headings can be larger but no larger than 13 pt. unless you are using SMALL CAPS.
  3. Objective vs. Profile or Summary of Qualifications. Most sample resumes suggest placing an objective at the top of your resume. As a recruitment professional who is the first stop for people's resumes, my view is that most Objective sections are meaningless and can serve to undermine the resume. So, my advice: don't waste your time writing an objective. Instead, write a Profile or Summary of Qualifications.
  4. Here is an example of one recent profile I wrote: Accomplished executive with 20 years of sales, marketing and operational leadership achievements in the insurance industry and track record of establishing, developing, maintaining, and growing profitable business relationships in a broad range of industries. Collaborative leader with refined networking skills and proven ability to recruit, train, and motivate top-performing sales teams. Lead and manage operations of firm’s largest revenue-generating department.
  5. Here is an example of a summary of qualifications (or profile): Employee benefits, ERISA, and retirement plan specialist with a recent law degree and more than 17 years of experience working with major companies and financial institutions administering retirement plans. Extremely thorough and detail-oriented professional with experience designing and drafting plan documents and amendments, conducting and overseeing non-discrimination testing, ensuring operational compliance with plan documents, timely governmental reporting, and disclosure of plan changes and modifications to participants.
  6. Here is an example of the profile of an army sergeant looking for employment after completion of his tour of duty: United States Army Sergeant with secret security clearance and eight years of experience in maintenance procedures and repair for Patriot Missile Defense Mission. Strong leader, responsible for the tactical training, morale, health and welfare of other soldiers and for the accountability and maintenance of section equipment. Loyal team player recognized for having unlimited potential, the ability to take direction well and manage time effectively, and creatively executing missions. Seeking civilian position upon completion of tour of duty. ~ ~ ~

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