A GUIDE TO EFFECTIVE RESUME WRITING
a product of C.E. Publications. Inc.
P.O. Box 97000 - Kirkland, WA 98083
Telephone (206) 823-2222 - Fax (206) 821-0942
As a contract employee your resume is your calling card. It sells you to your potential
employer. So, it behooves you to take extreme care in preparing a resume that will be a
professional presentation of your qualifications.
There are many acceptable resume formats and methods of preparation. This brochure
offers just one...but one with which our subscribers have found continued success. If you
use this format and the guidelines we suggest, we can't guarantee you'll land a job. But,
if you do adhere to this format, we can assure you that your chances of getting that next
assignment will have definitely improved!
BASIC GUIDELINES FOR RESUME PREPARATION
Typesetting . . .
Professional typesetting equipment produces the best presentation of your resume. Most
printing companies can provide you with this service (C.E. Publications can, too, at a
charge of $25 per page). You can also use your own computer with some type of word
processing software. The quality of this method depends greatly upon the kind of printer
you use with your computer. A third, and often less desirable method, is to use a
typewriter. If you do use a typewriter, make sure that it is in good condition...and use a
Printing. . .
Offset printing is your best choice for duplicating copies. All cities have quick
printers that can provide that service for you. Make sure you check out some samples of
their work, however, before you allow them to print your resume. If you have a laser
printer attached to your computer, you can elect to print multiple copies of your resume
that way. The quality of a resume which you type on your computer and produce on your
laser printer should be excellent...almost as good as one that is typeset by a
professional and reproduced at a nearby printer. The major difference between these two
methods is that professional typesetting equipment can condense more copy onto a single
page. Also, be aware that the typed copy on your laser-printed resume can
"crack" along the crease if you fold it. If that happens to your laser-printed
resume, mail them to firms flat in a 9"x12" envelope.
- Include only necessary personal information.
- List "Under contract to" for any contract assignments you may have had.
- Include total number of years experience.
- Give security status, if any. If your security clearance has expired, include the date
- Write job descriptions in easy-to-understand terms, and as completely as space allows.
- Include your name and page number on each page of a multiple page resume (except no
number on first page).
- If you want to use a better quality paper, consider a white bond paper with a rag
content (available from most printers or paper supply stores). Rag bond, however, should
not be used if you are printing copies of your resume on a photo copier (such as Xerox),
as the letters may break up on folds.
Tips to help you shorten a lengthy resume...
- Have it typed by a professional typesetter.
- Eliminate all extra spaces between lines (except between job assignments).
- Use narrower margins.
- Keep job descriptions to 3-5 sentences (especially for older positions).
- If your "length" problem is due to an extensive number of job assignments,
leave the oldest positions off and type the following at the bottom of the last page of
your resume: "Experience from (date) to (date) available upon request." Then
prepare a "complete" resume to furnish only to firms asking for it.
Things you "Should" do with your resume:
- Use 8-1/2" X 11" paper.
- Make your resume as legible as possible.
- Include both a permanent contact and present address and phone number. You may be
contacted through a permanent address or phone, even after you have moved from your
- Include your job discipline(s)...near your name at the top of page one of your resume
and as a title to each assignment.
- Include a summary paragraph near the top of your resume. Be brief but be complete.
- Include pertinent education and/or training.
- List jobs in reverse chronological order.
- Try to keep to a maximum of two pages (see "tips" if resume is longer than two
Things you "Should Not" do with your resume:
- Don't include personal references or hobbies.
- Don't include your Social Security Number.
- Don't include a cover sheet.
- Don't use a "Job Objective." This is normally found on a resume for someone
who is seeking a "direct" position. A "Job Objective" tells the firms
what you want from them whereas a "Summary" tells what you can do for them.
- Don't exaggerate your experience.
- Don't show salary or pay information.
- Don't offer explanations for leaving prior employers.
- Don't use your photograph.
- Don't use abbreviations (except those that are acceptable in the engineering/technical
fields, such as IBM, CAD, E/M, etc.).
MANY CONTRACT FIRMS USE RESUME SCANNERS
More and more contract firms are utilizing scanners to input resumes into their
computer databases. Because of that, new guidelines are required that will enable firms to
scan your resume. Here are a few recommendations that will make your resume "scanner
- Use white paper and black ink.
- Don't underline words.
- Don't use script or other fancy typefaces.
- All letters should be of the same quality (no light or broken letters, no smudgy or
filled-in letters, etc.).
- Use adequate margins (at least 1/2" on all sides).
- Don't handwrite anything on your resume.
- If using a dot matrix printer, utilize the best quality of type the printer provides
(i.e. letter quality, dark copy, etc.).
- Avoid boxes or unusual configurations.
NOTE: If you transmit your resume by using a FAX card in your personal computer, make
sure you see what you transmit. Many resumes received at C.E. Publications, in this
manner, have problems (extraneous characters, missing copy, strange lines, etc.). Also,
the format of the received resume is often different than what you think you are
transmitting. Try faxing to a friend or local fax number so you can physically see what
everyone else sees!