References are not necessary at this stage, though you should prepare a list in case an employer requests them later in the process. A referee should be able to comment on your skills and abilities, and will often be someone you’ve worked with in the past, such as a supervisor or co-worker. List their name, relationship and current phone number on a separate sheet of paper, but do not send with your resume.
Use short sentences and positive action words to make your descriptions as dynamic as possible. Avoid using the pronoun I when describing achievements, as it can make you sound arrogant. Instead of I initiated a new strategy with product vendors use note form and say Initiated new strategies with product vendors to improve quality of service, resulting in a 85% customer retention rate. Examples of action words that you can use are: completed, conducted, demonstrated, designed, established, expanded, implemented, increased etc.
Don’t view your resume as simply a record of your work history. Instead see it as a way to promote the skills and abilities you have to offer an employer. Put the focus on the employer’s needs and how you can be a solution to their problems. Try to anticipate any questions they may raise and incorporate the answers within the text of your resume.
Employers are looking for professional and efficient candidates, so avoid flashy and overblown hype when describing your achievements. Stick to the facts and avoid too many adjectives. Try not to overuse vocabulary taken from job advertisements or list the same cliche personal qualities as everybody else.
Be honest. Anything you state in your resume could be challenged in an interview, so don’t make any claims that you cannot prove. Things like employment dates and salary can be easily checked. Overstating the truth could come back to haunt you later.
Your resume should present you in the most positive light possible. Avoid any negativity and never criticize or make reference to any difficulties you may have had with a previous employer. Never include reasons for leaving a job, whether negative or positive. This is information that can be discussed later in an interview situation.
Avoid listing interests and hobbies, unless they demonstrate qualities that are applicable to the job’s requirements.
Avoid any mention of political or religious views.
Resume Presentation Tips
Employers and recruiters are far too busy to wade through your life story, so aim for a maximum of two pages. Academics and IT employees that need to list lots of technical information, can do so as an appendix on a third page.
Most employers will quickly scan a resume for 10 or 20 seconds before making up their minds to continue reading, so you need to make your resume as easy to read as possible. Avoid cramming too much text on the page and use lots of whitespace to make the most important facts stand out.
Use a single font and type size that is easy to read, such as Times New Roman, Arial or Verdana (10 or 12 point). You can use a slightly larger font size for headings (14 point) in bold or all caps. Avoid underlining and italics, as it can make your resume look cluttered.
Spell check and proofread your resume for typos, spelling and punctuation errors. Make sure any company names mentioned are correct and get a friend to look over your resume before submitting it to a potential employer. Remember your resume represents you and you don’t want to be seen as careless.