Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Avoid writing Dumb Resumes

In the next few lines, I will be attempting to take you through the complete process of writing an effective résumé that will boost your chances of nailing a great job.

Most resumes are usually written in either of these two formats:

? The chronological format… and
? The Skills-based format.

Don’t bother your head over the second one because that is not the type you will be writing.


A one-page resume is OK… if and only if you have not omitted any vital qualification or experience, skill or experience that is relevant to the kind of appointment you are seeking tin that company. Otherwise make it a two page resume.

But please note that your resume should not exceed two pages except you are an academic where you will be required to present an extensive list of your publications.


Use a word processor instead of a manual typewriter. At least you should be able to use a computer with a word processor like Microsoft Word. Typewritten resumes have outlived their relevance and therefore no longer acceptable.

Do not use fonts of more than two families. Let me give you a couple of ideas:

? A single serif font family (such as Times New Roman) throughout, with the body set at 11 or 12 points and bold centered headings at 13 or 14 points.
? A single sans-serif font (like Arial) throughout with the body at 10 or 11 points and bold centered headings at 12 or 13 points.
? A serif font for the body at 11 or 12 points, with bold sans-serif font for centered headings at 13 or 14 points.

Use Bulleted statements rather than long paragraphs. Don’t let your statements exceed 3 lines … because at this point it becomes difficult to read. Instead make things easier for the reader by using bullets.



This helps you to indicate to the reader that you are focused. Your job statement sets a positive tone for your credibility. The fact that you are presenting a proposal with it makes it extremely necessary. Let your job objective match the proposal you are presenting. This largely tells on whether or not you know what you are doing.


Use four to six bulleted phrases. A good qualifications section should include the following;

? Education
? Interpersonal skills
? Foreign language skills
? Specific computer skills


For each job described state title, employer’s name, city, and state, and the period of your employment. Particularly the years you began and ended.

E.g. Job Title, Employer, City, State 1995-present

Never use a pronoun like “I”.

Related tips:
? Briefly summarize the scope of your responsibilities
? Give preference to accomplishment statements over general duties and responsibilities in bulleted verse phrases. Avoid stating responsibilities in general terms.
? Keep phrases short and concise
? Avoid weak constructions.
E.g. Instead of saying, ‘responsible for handling the slitting section’ say ‘supervises the slitting section’.
Instead of, ‘Perform analysis of year-end reports’. Substitute ‘Analyze year-end reports’

The key here is saying a lot with a few words.

? Use accomplishment statements that are result oriented. Explain benefits of each relevant accomplishment you had I the past. Express them in quantified forms… like impressive number of items processed, percentage increases in productivity.
? Do not rely solely on your initial ideas.

For each degree, include a line similar to:

B. Sc, Sociology, 2004. University of Benin, Edo state.

If you attended a programme without finishing, use a line like:
NIM program, 2005-2006. NIM, Lagos.


The number one skill you should indicate here is computer literacy. No company will tolerate computer illiteracy for any reason. But the good news is that no matter how limited your knowledge of computer is, you are a computer literate as much as you can boot a system and familiar with the basic Microsoft packages.


? Use your word processing tools to spell-check your document before printing.
? Always proofread the printed version. If you have friends or family members who have good verbal skills, you can let the go through your printed copy before printing the final one. It is sometimes easier to spot errors on a monitor.
? Get someone else to proofread your printed copy. And like I said earlier, your success in this job-hunting bid is largely dependent on the quality of your writing.


Print the originals or final copies of your resume with high quality paper. Don’t be tempted to go for cheap and substandard materials that may end up speaking ill of you to the reader.

By following the above stated tips I’m sure you will present a resume that will procure an invitation in no time.

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