Miscellaneous Resume Tips Honesty Really is the Best Policy
Be honest. The last place you want to lie on is your resume. Recruiters these days check references; run background and credit checks; verify employment, degrees and certifications; and may require pre-interview skills and personality tests. Some employers also do drug testing; take classes on how to spot when someone is lying by verbal, visual and written clues; and even use lie detectors. During your interview loop you may be required to demonstrate what you know. If you've brought work samples, employers may call who you said you did the work for and try to ascertain you really did it and for how much of it you were responsible.
So, everything you put on your resume should be the verifiable truth. If it isn't, you'll get caught. And, when you do, that future employer will lose all respect and trust for you and most likely will not offer you a job. If you do manage to get a job through lying, you may find yourself back out on the street quickly. Somewhere during your interview process you'll probably have to sign an application form which states that you will be fired if your employer discovers you lied during your candidacy. So, you'll be out the door as soon as your deceit has been uncovered.
Don't believe your future employer will run a background check? According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 96% of employers do. Be prepared.
Your Written Communications Skills
Check your spelling, grammar and usage of industry terms. People really do lose out on opportunities because they didn't get these right. If you're going to send your resume with a cover letter or have e-mail conversations with your future employer or their recruiter, you should know that these rules apply to ALL communications, not just your resume. If English is your second language, have a trusted friend with good English skills review your work and coach you.
If you're really having a tough time with English, you might want to pick up a reference to help you. A book that I've used in the past with young staff members is Communication at Work - Writing and Speaking, by Roger P. Wilcox. Its ISBN10 # is 0395243726. Chapter 7 talks about basic English grammar. Another book that I do not have, but looks like it has promise, is Business English by Mary Ellen Guffey. You'll find it for sale on Amazon. If you want the most up-to-date reference, you can subscribe to The Chicago Manual of Style website at http://www.chicagomanualofstyle.org/home.html. Cost to subscribe is currently $35 / year.
If you're simply having trouble spelling something, try using dictionary.com. If you don't get the spelling correct the first time, it'll give you options. You can check out the options to make sure which one is correct by reading their definitions. Looking at a word's definition often will provide what the plural of the word is or how various verb tenses should be spelled. Dictionary.com will also let you hear how the word should be pronounced, give you a thesaurus and other on-line reference materials.
Do NOT include your hobbies unless they have something to do with the job you're seeking. For example, if someone has told you that you have to be willing and able to hike through rough terrain to check out a dam site, it might be OK to list that backpacking is a hobby of yours, assuming it is, of course.
Likewise, do not include your picture, your family members' names, the ages of your kids, your age, your religion, your marital status, your sexual preference or the name of the store from which you live around the corner. Only put down what pertains to you as a professional and the position you want to get.
Paper, Electronic Formats and Databases
Should you print your resume on fancy paper? Probably not. If you only give an employer a printed version of your resume, it will be scanned into their Applicant Tracking System at some point. Not all papers result in a successful scan. Stick to a nice, white paper of heavier weight.
If you e-mail your resume to an employer, stick to .doc or .pdf formats. Since you want your resume to wind up in the employer's Applicant Tracking System, it's important to give them an electronic format their system can handle. Not all systems will accept all file formats, but most can take .doc's or .pdf's. It most likely won't be necessary to send a .txt and I don't advise doing so.
As a recruiter, I prefer getting a .doc. That way when I talk to you I can take notes electronically right on an electronic copy of your original document for future reference or even for communicating with a hiring manager. This enables me to note additional information you've given me using your resume as a frame of reference. I save both a clean copy of your resume (ie, no changes) and an annotated version.
If you decide to put your resume up on a selection of job boards you may have to make a decision between cutting and pasting it in, uploading it or re-entering it. If the system provides you with a fill-in-the-blanks form, use it. As painful as this may seem, it will better enable you to be found. After all, a job board is a big database system. Its search engine is somewhat dependent on what you put into your record's fields. Be sure to use them........all of them, with the exception of entering your references. If a site provides you with the capability of entering profile information and uploading your resume, do both. This will make sure your findability has been maximized and the employer will be able to see a nicely formatted resume.