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Effective Resume - Top Ten Checklist 

Top 10 Checklist for an Effective Resume... Surviving The Screening

© David Alan Carter
All Rights Reserved

Painful fact: the hiring official at Acme Wingnuts–-or any company, for that matter--would rather not read your resume. Don’t take it personally. He’d rather not read anybody’s resume. Labored, The Effective Resume - It Must Survive The Screeningunexciting text, pat phraseology, fluff and puff exaggerations. It’s torture. Still, he’s going to read the sorrowful lot of them because it remains the best (only?) way to get warm bodies in the interview chair. And when there’s a job opening that has to be filled, warm bodies need to be seated in that chair.

But don’t expect him to like it. In fact, expect him to do everything in his power to get rid of your resume as fast as humanly possible. His immediate goal is to eliminate you from further consideration in the placement process. The more applicants he eliminates and the faster he does it, the sooner he can get back to the life he prefers–regaling his subordinates with tales of fly-fishing in the Rockies.

Resumes Are For Screening

The lesson to be learned here is that resumes are first put to use to screen out candidates from further consideration. Those resumes that don't screen out their owners are effective - simple as that. To keep your resume from screening you out of the running, to make your resume effective, you must do a few basic things right from the beginning. Compare your resume to the following checklist to ensure your resume is an effective resume.

Top 10 Effective Resume Checklist To Survive The Screening

1) Keep it short. The effective resume is preferably one page, two at the most. If you’ve written a novel, tear it apart and whittle it down to one/two pages.

2) It must be easy to read. That means the effective resume is well organized with clear headings, brief statements of responsibility, bulleted points for emphasizing achievements.

3) It must avoid overly specific professional jargon. Keep in mind that your resume is likely to be read first by someone in the HR department who may not have a clue what you’re talking about when you say... "Chaired brain dump resulting in a turnkey solution to improve customer’s ROI." Rather, talk like an earthling and state it plainly: "Boosted customer sales 20%." Take care to craft a resume with universal appeal so as to at least get to the starting gate.

4) Curb your design enthusiasm. That means limiting your font selection to one or two. Use the traditional and popular New Times Roman if you prefer lettering with a serif, or consider Arial, Helvetica or Verdana if you prefer san serif fonts, lacking the slight projection finishing off a stroke of a letter. Go easy on the bold and the underlining. And limit your paper selection to white or beige with a weight of 22 or 24 lb. Black type.

5) The effective resume is tailored for a specific position. I understand that may mean cranking out slight variations of your resume every day of the week to Your Effective Resume Is A Problem Solver - Like You!target different job postings. Nobody said a job search was a walk in the park. Jump over to Job Resume Objective for more on this.

6) Portray yourself as a problem solver.

7) Quantify your accomplishments with hard numbers whenever possible.

8) Don’t mention your current, or expected salary on the resume.

9) Don’t mention personal information, like whether or not you’re single or married, whether or not you have kids, whether or not your hobbies include golf or listening for extra-terrestrials with the modified ham radio contraption in your garage. Especially that last one.

At some point... in the resume writing process, you're going to be asking yourself, "Should I have a professional do this?"

The answer may be yes... if your resume is going to be fighting for attention in an extremely competitive field, or if your work history or job qualifications are difficult for you to express in a promotion and unbiased manner.

Former recruiter David Alan Carter can help you identify that "pro," that special writer who is qualified to deliver a polished document that puts your best foot forward in a tough job market. Carter put the Web's most popular resume writing services through their paces – comparing writing quality, customer service, pricing and more. See who came out on top...

Reviews of Resume Writers

10) Check, check, check for misspellings. Don’t ever, ever, ever submit a resume or post it online without doing a spell check.

In fact, take it a step further and have one or two friends or colleagues proofread the resume for spelling and grammar problems. Do this because an automated spell check program will not know whether you meant to say "principal" or "principle." Both are spelled correctly but mean totally different things. It will not know that you erred by using a verb in the present tense when referring to a job in the past tense.

None of this may seem that critical to you, but trust me, it’s critical to the hiring official.

Where we go from here: Wondering which format makes the most effective resume? Chronological or functional? OK - let's get into the nuts and bolts of the Effective Resume Format.

David Alan Carter is a former recruiter and the founder of Resume One of Cincinnati. For more than ten years, he personally crafted thousands of resumes for satisfied clients from all occupational walks of life.

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Your resume has just 7 seconds... to make a good first impression. Is yours up to the task? Could a professional touch make the difference?
We took the most popular resume writers on the Web and put them to the test. We looked at writer certification, quality of work, customer service, pricing and guarantees.
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