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Creating a Professional Resume

A professional resume is important for both passive and active job seekers. You should make sure your resume is well written, free from grammatical errors and  typos. Make sure you’ve saved a resume in a place that is easily accessible at all times, even during the middle of the day, particularly if you are an active job seeker. Here are some pointers to help you create a strong resume.  

  • Always use reverse chronological order with your most recent experience listed first.
  • List dates to the right of the page and align neatly.
  • Consider looking at mock resumes or use a resume formatter.
  • List education and degrees on the very last page, at the end of the resume.
  • Avoid cumbersome borders, headers and graphics.
    • Recruiters and employers usually delete colors and gaudy borders around a resume. Your goal is create a nice clean resume free of unnecessary  images, borders, colors, and pictures.
  • Center your name and contact information at the top.
    • Indicate whether a number is a cell phone or home phone number and include your first middle initial and last name especially if you have a common name.
    • Include your email address!
  • Create a Professional Summary.  Draft three or four sentences briefly speaking to your skills and experience.  Follow that up with four or six bullet points honing in on valuable key terms to further identify the breadth of your skill set. 
  • Use  appropriate font.
    • Times New Roman, Calibri, and Arial are examples of clean easy to read fonts. 10.5-12pt font is best.
  • Make good use of your bullet points.
    • Start your list of responsibilities from 90% of what your job entails, to 10%. In other words your first bullets should include the important  aspects of your role and the least important at the bottom.
    • Include active verbs and achievements, i.e. (Spearheaded the organization and management of all company vendor agreements and contracts.)
    • Summarize your responsibilities in 5-7 bullet points.
  • Grammar and punctuality are key.
    • Double, triple, quadruple check over your resume. Employers will quickly toss resumes with typos. Be confident that your resume is flawless and free from grammatical errors.
  • Condense your resume to no more than 2-3 pages, if possible.
  • Make sure to indicate whether a job was temporary or permanent.
    • Name the company you contracted with and for how long. Do not simply place the name “consultant” on your resume.
    • If there are long gaps in your resume, make sure to include any temporary work.
  • List references in a separate document.
    • Do not list references at the bottom of the page of your resume.
  • Do not include odd jobs or unrelated work experience on a professional experience.
    • Cashier, sales rep, coach, babysitter jobs, for example, should not be on a professional CV.

If you’d like to learn more about working with a recruiter/developing your LinkedIn profile/crafting a resume, join myself and my colleagues Sonya Som and Keri Lindsay at the Minority In-House Counsel Association  (MIHCA) 2016 conference October 26 at the Metropolitan Club in Chicago. We’ll be hosting one-on-one counseling sessions to help you get noticed in the market. You can also benefit from the enriching professional development sessions throughout the two-day event, which supports MIHCA’s mission of promoting the development and career advancement of minority in-house counsel and furthering diversity in the legal profession.

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