A helpful Guide to a complete resume
If you listed an Objective, have you limited it to one or two short sentences?
Is your Objective clearly stated or is it ambiguous?
Is your Objective focused? (i.e. never write “To obtain a position where my experiences and abilities will be effectively utilized,” see Resume Pitfalls if you’re unsure why).
Does your Objective serve your interests (i.e. “… to gain a position where I can gain experience and knowledge …) or your prospective employer’s (i.e. “… to gain a position where I can utilize my management skills to create a powerful sales force…)?
Is your Objective realistic considering your previous experience and education?
Is there a logic to the way that your Work Experience evolves?
Does your Work Experience seem to form a coherent whole, or does it jump around between industries and types of position?
Have you made sure that there are no unexplained gaps in your Work History?
Does each position support and corroborate the resume as a whole, or does it present conflicts? (Resume reviewers learn to look out for conflicting information).
Are dates of work and job titles clearly highlighted either by use of bolding, italicising, underlining or some other method?
Could an employer quickly scan your Work History and find a number of key words and Action Verbs to easily grasp a picture of your as a worthy employee? (Remember, an employer looking at your resume is always comparing you to an imaginary ideal that they have up in their head. As they read through your resume, they are checking off qualities they are looking for in their ideal person. Be that person!)
Have you limited the number of past positions described to 3-5?
Have you limited the information in each item to that which seems relevant to the position you are applying for?
If the company is not likely to be known to the employer, have you supplied some context to the job description? (i.e. mentioning that it was a small or large company, an industry leader or part of a larger corporation).
Have you written your Work Experience items as direct, comprehensible paragraphs (advisable) or as bulleted lists of duties and accomplishments (inadvisable unless a technical/engineering candidate)?
Have you placed your Education at the top of your resume (under the Objective if you’ve included it) if you are a recent graduate?
If not a student or a recent graduate, have you positioned your Education after your Work Experience?
Have you made sure that it’s clear you obtained your degree if you finished college?
If you didn’t finish college, but you started a degree, is it clear that you have not yet obtained a degree? (Employers become very irate if you imply you have a degree but never finished school. Be honest early to avoid hurt later.)
You may only include details of your courses if a recent graduate.
Is your resume well laid out? (i.e. not too many white spaces, but not too crowded either).
Have you used a conservative font throughout your resume? (Please don’t use an exotic font, even for your name; you may have to fax your resume and it will become illegible in the process).
Have you managed to inject some of your unique character into your resume? (Difficult to do, but worthwhile because it will make you memorable. This becomes highly important when an employer is reviewing a number of resumes).
Do you come across as a good person to hire when you and your friends read your resume? Get responses from outsiders who can point to problems with your resume objectively.
Have you used a spell-checker or dictionary to make sure there are no obvious spelling errors?
Do you like your resume and feel it does you justice? (The best critic is yourself. If you don’t like it, review it or start over).
If you made it to the end of this checklist and everything is more or less checked, your resume should be fine. Start sending it out now, changing the various parts to reflect the different positions or industries you might be targeting. Never follow the one-size fits all method for resumes. All you’ll end up doing is wasting postage or online time.