By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Your resume is a marketing tool to help promote you for a potential job interview. Writing a great resume takes practice and attention to detail. The purpose of a resume is to show the hiring manager that you meet the qualifications for the position. Your resume should be easy to read and it should sell you. Most employers will initially spend between 10-20 seconds looking at a resume.
So how long should your resume be? Your resume needs to be long enough to show your experiences and accomplishments, but short enough that a potential employer will read it. When you first graduate from college, your resume will probably be a page or so in length. As you advance in your career, your resume will grow in length.
Your resume needs to effectively use fonts, bullets, bold, and underlining to get the search committee to notice what you want them to see. People naturally view written pages from the top of the page and down the left margin. Therefore, your name needs to be listed on the top of the page and your most important information located down the left side. As you write your resume, keep the following thoughts in mind.
Format and Appearance – Since the hiring manager will spend approximately 20 seconds reviewing each resume, you need to create a format for your resume where they can view your education, experiences, and accomplishments within this short amount of time. To accomplish this you need to effectively use white space on your resume to help make your information stand out. Margins should be no less than one inch on all four sides. In addition, you will want to use bulleted items, short statements, and occasionally a sentence to describe your skills and experiences. Written paragraphs are not as effective.
The Font – The font size on your resume should be 12-point and a conservative type such as “Times.” This size is most commonly used for the majority of the information on your resume. Your headings should be a little larger, perhaps 14-point Times. You might want to consider using all capital letters for your headings. Certain items that you want the search committee to notice should be bulleted, bolded, underlined or italicized.
Personal Information – The personal information on your resume should only include your name, address, telephone number, and e-mail address. Your name and personal information should be aligned on the top of the page and either centered or on the left side of the page. Your name should have a font size of approximately 24-point. The address, telephone number, and e-mail address are a smaller font size such as 10-point.
Objective – If someone is applying for a job in the industry in which they are currently working, they probably do not need an objective. However, if a person is changing industries, or is a recent graduate, an objective is probably warranted. If an objective is used, it should be located immediately following your personal information. It should be in 12-point and in the same font (e.g. Times) as the body of the resume.
Education – If you have a college degree(s), list your highest degree first and do not include your high school diploma. However, if you do not have a college degree, you will want to list your high school diploma. You might also want to consider bolding the name of your degree.
Experience – List each of your applicable jobs by most recent position first. You will want to list each of your positions by title, organization, dates of employment, and your achievements. You might want to consider listing the title of your position in bold. This is so the search committee can scan your resume and see what type of experience you have. Make sure the dates of your employment coincide so that it does not appear that you were out of work at any time. However, if you were unemployed at some point, do not try to hide something by falsifying dates. Instead, list the accurate dates in years, such as “2009-2013”. Using this format, instead of listing months and years, you will help to possibly defuse any questions about your unemployment.
Professional Activities – If you are a member of a professional association you should include this on your resume. Since this is a new category, the heading should be in a 14-point font size and the activities should be bulleted in a 12-point font.
Publications – If you have published an article, a research study, or a book, you should also include this on your resume with an additional heading. This too would be a new heading and would be in 14-point Times.
These are just a few suggestions to get you pointed in the right direction. Please let me know if I can help you in any way. Best of luck on your upcoming job search!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com or his new book Execute for Success at www.ThePositiveLeader.org.
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Director of Athletics
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