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Engaging in your Job Search (Part two) - Your Resume

Welcome back!

Last week I posted a few recommendations regarding how to start your job search Clarify your goals, values and where you want to go and Assess your capabilities, competencies and development needs

You didn’t see my last post? No worries you can find it here as my last blog post, on LinkedIn, and/or Facebook

If you answered the questions in my last post, you should now have a better idea what is important to you in your next role and with your next company. Additionally, you should also have a better idea about what it is you do well and enjoy doing. The next step is to put this information into your resume/CV and into your LinkedIn profile.

There are many ways to format your resume, you can simply put “resume formats” into your search engine and you’ll get thousands of formats. Remember that special designs, tables, etc. typically don’t translate into applicant tracking systems (ATS), when applying for positions online. For the purposes of this post, I’m going to reference a simple chronological style resume. Some real basic formatting recommendations:

  • Use a common font such a Calibri, Times, or Arial. The font should be no smaller than 10 pt.

  • Your margins should be a minimum of one-inch top, left & right, it’s okay to have ½ inch on the bottom.

  • We recommend limiting your resume to two-pages, try not to have positions bleed over to the next page and place your name and page two on the top of the second page.

Your resume is always, always written for the reader and for the position you are seeking. Even though it documents past work and accomplishments, it must be future focused. For example, if you’re an expert on Lotus notes, this is no longer relevant or important for your next role, so leave it off. If you’ve done a lot of work developing curriculum and a.) don’t want to do it anymore, or b.) it’s not important for your next role – leave it off. And, if you're interested in a role where you haven't had the title, but have done the work - highlight the skills/work that are transferable for your next role.

Think of your resume as your “brochure” it’s your written sales document.

And lastly, your resume is a legal document – enough said

Header: What you put on your resume header is similar to your letterhead – meaning, how this looks should be the same as what you put on your cover letters and any correspondence that you use for your job search. Your header should include:

  • Your name – if you have a formal name and a name that you prefer to be called, list both, for example: If your formal name is James Smith and you prefer to be called Jim, list it as James (Jim) Smith

  • City, State (it’s not necessary, or recommended to list your street address on your resume)

  • Phone number (it’s not necessary to write “cell phone” – a phone number is a phone number)

  • Email address – please take a look at your email address. Does it represent you in your work life? For example is not an appropriate email address for your professional brand

  • Your personalized LinkedIn URL (we’ll discuss LinkedIn in another blog)

Summary: This is a two-fold statement. First it outlines who you are as a professional. What you bring to the table, your experience, your skills and traits (this is where responding to the questions in my first post will come in handy). Your summary also summarizes what is in your resume. I recommend writing your summary after your resume is written. Your summary should be brief – no longer than a short paragraph, 3-5 crisp, clear sentences. If you have special skills, list those as one or two-word bullet points under your summary. We also recommend not to use the word “I” anywhere in your resume. Note for older workers. The summary is where many older workers scream that “I am old”. For example, saying “40 years’ experience….” Says I’m that old, where I have 40 years of experience. No company will post a job saying they are looking for 40 years of experience in anything.

Work experience: List your work from your last position to your oldest. We recommend not exceeding more than 10-15 years of experience. Why? It will tell the reader that you’re old. Secondly, experience from 10-15 years ago is probably no longer relevant.

If you’ve had several positions at one company, list the company and the full length of employment, then list each job separately. It’s not necessary (in your resume) to include months, it’s perfectly okay to simply list the years. If you are no longer employed, your end date should be the year when you stopped working.

Also include a brief description of the company and a brief description of your work

For Example:


Fortune 100, International Consumer Electronic Retailer with 500 store in the US and 200 stores globally.

LAST JOB WITH ACME 2014 - 2016

Primarily responsible for purchasing of X product, managed a staff of 20 geographically distributed employees, budget responsibility of $X,XXX(k)

Write relevant bullet points that include accomplishments that are important for your next position and those that demonstrate work that you enjoyed doing. When writing your bullet points, think of what I call the “so-what?” factor. When the reader reads your bullet points – what do you want them to know. Think about:

  • Did you increase productivity, by how much?

  • Did you save money, how much?

  • Did you increase customer satisfaction, by how much?

  • Did you increase employee engagement, by how much?

For Example:

Partnered with field leadership to design each organization structure to reflect the current business and economic environment resulting in a reduction of over $30 million in payroll expenses.

Then list the bullet points in order of importance for your next role. You may have worked on a project that you think is really cool, but if it’s not relevant for the next role, then it shouldn’t be listed as the first bullet point. This really cool project might be important for an interview (more on that later). Limit the number of bullet points – more for those positions where you spent five or more years, and less positions with five or less years of experience. Also, more for the most recent positions.

A good source to remind yourself of the good work that you’ve done is your performance reviews and evaluating your goals and results.

Education: If your education is more than two years old, it should be placed after your work experience. If it’s recent (less than two years) it’s fine to place it before your work experience.

List your most recent education first. Also list formal education before training, or certifications. List your degree MBA, BA, etc. then the program, then the educational institution. You don’t need to list your date of graduation.

If you’re in the process of getting your education, list the degree, program and “in process”. For example, BS Information Technology (in process).

Certifications: List your certifications that are relevant to the role you are seeking.

Memberships: List any professional memberships, board work, and community activities that will support your objective for this position and that won’t “call you out” for belonging to a political party, etc. Listing Memberships is an optional part of your resume – If you need to fill space, then membership is a good option.

Your job search is never about your resume. Your resume is a tool to complement your search.

My post next week will pick up from here and I’ll provide helpful tips for Social Media for your job search.

Jean Radeztsky is the owner of Avail Coaching and Consulting

Avail focuses in the areas of Leadership | Organization Development | Career Coaching | Human Resources

Please contact Jean for any of the above services; she can be reached at

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