Laura Decarlo: Hi! I am Laura Decarlo, certified expert resume writer and President of the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches, Career Directors International. I am sharing strategies for creating your dynamic and compelling resume. Right now, I am going to give you final tips for putting all the strategies together to create your new resume. The greatest challenge you face now is blank page syndrome. This phenomenon occurs when you know everything you are supposed to put in your resume, but you have no idea how to get started. So I am going to make getting through this very easy. Depending on where you are more comfortable, you might start with a stack of notebook paper or a blank computer screen. All you are going to do on this pass is to perform an information dump. You might want to assemble some reference materials such as job descriptions, diplomas or transcripts, letters of recommendation, awards or evaluations. In short, anything that can help you remember what you have accomplished and what you have done. Now, you can begin putting down information, listing everything you can think of in each section of the resume. You'll spend the majority of your time in your work history section listing all your responsibilities. On your second pass, you will hone in on your list of responsibilities to flesh out each one with your CAR stories or Challenges, Actions and Results. On your third pass, you will hone down your CAR stories and begin to craft the final, concise and dynamic wording for your content. This is most likely when you will finally fill in the Summary and Keyword sections of the resume.
On your fourth pass, you'll attempt to format each section from top to bottom, looking at ways to make information standout visually and be quick and easy to read. Now, you might have exactly what you want to say but it is just too long. Too long for all but the most senior of executives, consultants, or some health care and scientific professions is anything over two pages. Your next or fifth pass is going to include taking your beautiful content and rewriting it, reformatting it and honing it down to fit the space you have. A few formatting elements to think about in this final formatting and wording include white space on each page so that the document does not feel too crowded or hard to read. You can do this by keeping large margins such as 0.
8 inch or 1 inch. Make your section headers larger than your body text, so they draw the eye. Use techniques such as bolding and italics sparingly to draw the eye. Avoid underlining as it can inhabit the keyword scanning of your resume; maintain consistent verb use with past tense being your best option when including results. Avoid thick content, such as long lines of bullets or heavy paragraphs. Instead, find ways to break the content up into bit-sized pieces. Stick with standard font choices such as Arial or Times New Roman and use body font sizes that are readable such as 10-12 points. Writing your resume is not one hour process where you type it into a template and are done. If you are going to create a dynamic and compelling resume that helps you stand out from the competition, you'll need patience, creativity and perhaps a little bit of time looking at your thesaurus for vibrant words. The time you put in will pay off in the quality of your final document.