The term professional resume can be interpreted in two ways. The first has to do with producing a resume that looks professional or polished. The second has to do with the types of information a professional would include on their resume.
Both of the above topics are interesting, so they'll be addressed in this article. We'll start with a discussion of putting together a professional looking resume; one that looks "professional." Later on, we're going to provide an example of a resume that a professional might use in practice.
Professional Resume Template
There is no doubt the resume format, and the words used in the document, will have an impact on the reader. But the purpose of a resume is more than just to convey information to the reader; it is an advertisement. The job seeker is attempting to sell their services to the hiring manager. In the competitive workplace that exists today, job applicants need every possible edge. This means their resume (the advertisement) needs to look professional too.
Fonts and Paper
In most instances, this translates into a simple black and white resume with the appropriate use of bolding, fonts, and white space. Unless the applicant is looking for a job in an area that demands creativity on paper, it's important to stay away from colorful fonts and paper stock.
There are really only three acceptable fonts to use on a resume: Times New Roman, Arial, and Calibri. These fonts are used universally in written papers because they are easy to read, and they're the only fonts a writer should use on both their resume and cover letter.
Simple rules of thumb when creating a resume include:
- Use only 8.5 x 11 white paper stock
- Select one font type for the entire document
- Use font sizes that range from 12 to 14; sizes that are smaller than 12 can be difficult to read
- Print each document; avoid making copies since they are typically poor quality
- Use bold, underline and italic styles sparingly, avoid using more than one style at the same time
- Use tables without borders to organize information into multiple columns; avoid using multiple spaces or tabs to align words in columns
Don't be tempted to use a fancy script font to sign a name on a cover letter. It is quite obvious to the reader that this is not a real signature. It also sends the message the job applicant does not think enough of the hiring company to take the time to sign the letter by hand.
Individuals that have a lot of information to convey in their resume should use two or more pages. White space is extremely important, as it allows the reader to see different sections of information on the document; writers should spread the information out if necessary.
This technique is illustrated in the following professional resume template. The document is in Word format, and takes advantage of tables to right and left justify information. This resume also uses bold type sparingly.
Professional Resume Sample
The second topic we're going to cover has to do with putting together a professional resume; one that an expert would send to prospective job openings.
The initial decision everyone needs to make is the choice of a resume format. The correct format is one that best highlights career achievements, and does not draw attention to areas of weakness. Anyone that does not understand this concept should first read through the following article: Resume Writing Samples.
Once the writer understands the correct format to use, they can start to think about the information needed on the resume. This website has several resources, as well as various resume samples that demonstrate the differences between the formats. Don't make the mistake of composing a resume, only to later discover that another choice is better at highlighting areas of expertise or experience.
Finally, the following is a link to a downloadable professional resume sample. This particular example uses the combination resume format. The real value of these examples is to provide a visual rendering of the techniques mentioned above; thereby helping individuals to understand how to organize their information on a resume.
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