When preparing a resume, there is one resume rule that is paramount:
Keep. It. Simple.
Avoid the frills. Avoid the temptation to provide too much detail. A resume is not an autobiography of your career. It is a tool to allow employers to quickly learn about your skills and experience.
Here are a few tips to help you maintain simplicity:
Start with a brief summary. Write a one to three sentence paragraph summing up who you are and your experience.
Focus on transferable skills. Include your work history (generally speaking, go back about 10 years) and aim for concise phrases to describe your accomplishments. Concentrate on the skills that can be applied to your next job. Unless you have limited relevant experience, list education and certifications last.
Keep it to one page. Or don’t. Limiting your resume to one page isn’t a hard and fast rule. Definitely keep it under three pages.
Declutter. Out with the old and in with the new. Remove any unnecessary information, such as volunteer work from 2005 or an irrelevant award you won in college.
Use a template. Many people get too creative with formatting. Keep the design simple and easy to scan. (Side note: if you are a graphic/web designer, ignore this rule. Keep it clean, but feel free to exercise your creativity.)
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