What Should NOT Be Included
Resumes used in the United States should not list your age, gender, religion, political affiliation, marital status or social security number. (The only type of resume in which you might include some of that information would be in a resume you are sending internationally.)
Don't include salary expectations or salary history on the resume. If you worked part-time, it is not necessary to include the number of hours worked per week. Don't write "References Available Upon Request." This went out of fashion some time ago, and employers will ask for references if they want them.
Scannanble Resumes and Electronic Submission
Many organizations are scanning resumes and maintaining their own databases from which they can screen applicants. Other firms are using on-line databanks, which store scannable information about job seekers. You may receive notices from various firms on and off the Internet encouraging you to send them your resume. The resumes you send will differ from the traditional resumes you have been using. Because computers scan your resume in as an image, not as text, there are some guidelines you should follow:
- Use white or light-colored 8 1/2 by 11-inch paper. Be sure to print only on one side.
- Left-justify the entire document.
- Use a laser or high-quality Inkjet printer. Do not fold or staple the document.
- Choose a standard 10 - 14 point font type.
- Use ample white space to separate sections of your resume.
- Keep name, address, and phone numbers on separate lines to avoid them becoming merged and unreadable.
- If you are a more experienced candidate who requires two pages, be sure that your name is at the top of the second page to ensure that both pages are viewed as one document.
- Don't use italics, underlining boxes, shading, graphics, hollow bullets or other design features as computers are unable to read them.
- Avoid parentheses, brackets, horizontal or vertical lines - they will not scan properly.
- You may use ALL CAPS or a boldface type to indicate section headings.
- If you are sending your resume electronically, send it in ASCII or "text with line breaks" format instead of regular/formatted text. More and more employers are accepting Word attachments. There are many things to consider when sending a web resume; visit The Riley Guide to Internet Resumes for some additional suggestions.
Send a cover letter if you are responding to an ad and send a hard-copy of all the documents by mail. Use key words, which is another way to describe your assets in your resume, because that is what the databases need. Degrees, names of schools, licenses or certificates honors/awards, numerical dates specifying the month and year (Jan. 2000 - Mar. 2002) for time periods instead of text ("two years"), abilities and training can all be key words. Results and accomplishments may be more helpful than duties. Try to use terms that are used within the industry that you are considering, as these may be key words. Remember, you are striving to be as close a match as possible. The more key words that you match, the better your chances will be for consideration.
Resumes in different countries may call for a different format than one for a position within the United States. In Sweden, the resume includes a date of birth. A personal photograph paper-clipped to the right-hand corner is included in the German resume. In the United States, on the other hand, one should never include a date of birth or photo. It is important to be aware of these different practices when preparing a resume. Check out these web sites for more information: