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In Creating an Online Resume: Hands-On Training, interactive design professor and enthusiastic educator Laurie Burruss teaches how to produce an online resume—and create a first web site in the process. Laurie suggests structure and information needed to create a winning resume, and shows how to design the pages with simple typographic principles and effective layouts. She explains how to use Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) and control the design and structure of HTML documents through hands-on development. Exercise files with additional supporting materials accompany the course.
So here we have two resumes, and we really need to drill down and look at some of the problems and some of the high points of making a good resume. So I have given on the left what I call the Good Resume, and on the right is the Bad Resume. So let's start off with bullet number one. What Samantha has done here, and what a great thing to do, is she is kept it short. It's one page. Try not to go over two pages. There will be times when you're getting promotions or doing professional development where you need a resume that's very comprehensive, but for your initial launch out there trying to get a job, trying to say everything about yourself in one page, making the information be very organized and very easy to read.
Samantha has done that on this one on the left. But this down here is bad news telling us there's more on page 2. Even the way it's written with underlines and dot, dot, dot. Remember my word of advice is to try to limit it to one page. Now let's look over here. The new popular way of talking about yourself is the summary. It used to be called the objective, but now the summary is sort of a two or three sentence sound bite about who you are, what you do, what your goals are.
Again, Samantha has done a very good job of being very specific about what her skills are, what she's trying to do, what are her best assets, and how she's looked upon inside of her company. It's really relevant to who and what she is both as a person to work with and as someone who can perform her task well. But if you look over here in the bad resume of the other, bad girl, Samantha, you'll see that this is really pretty generic. It doesn't really tell us anything that we wouldn't know about any person.
It just says seeking part or full-time position. It uses the word objective. We don't learn anything about Samantha when we read this particular item. So on bullet number three, Samantha has done a really good job of being very, very specific, and giving concrete examples. By concrete examples, I mean saying things like created five teaching videos, or she came in under $5,000 on the budget, or she's developed over 30 content outlines, or she's created assessments that improve people's scores by 20%.
In all places in the good resume, good Samantha has tried to be as complete accurate and detailed as possible, and whenever she can, she's included very specific numbers. But over here in bad girl Samantha, let's look at what she's done. Well, she's back to her vague general self. She says, "I'm good with people." What does that mean? That's sort of like that first date with someone we call nice. And she's using quotation marks all over the place and she says she likes to talk business.
A resume is a professional document. It's not a conversation. So try to again to be very specific, very concrete, very detail oriented. She's also not consistent in the way she describes herself. If she is starting off with a capital letter at each bullet point, then all of them should be started with capital letters. Now, onto bullet four, and this one is very important. Good Samantha over here on the left has done a great job of keeping it simple. She keeps it simple in a number of ways. She doesn't give you too much information.
She names her educational experience, where it's located, what degree she got, and when she got it. She also groups the content in a way that makes it easy to see exactly what's going on. Let's see what bad Samantha does when she does this. Well bad Samantha is up to her usual tricks. She's put all kinds of weird fonts in here. She's put her work phone number in here, which is not a good idea, and she's put her most recent e-mail at the last place she worked.
This is a big faux pas in resumes. Don't include your employer's phone numbers or your employer's addresses or your employer's emails as a way of contact. Again, Samantha has made a big faux pas here and things like this will make the HR person just put this into the No pile instantly. Let's talk about what things outside of education and work experience are important. It's important to include topical things as you can see in good Samantha's resume, here she's put some awards and affiliations and they directly relate to what she's trying to achieve in her employment.
She has degrees in engineering, and science and technology. She received a scholarship for woman in sciences. This shows that she was in a documentary film festival, that she has created online courses. All of these extra affiliations and extra words have something to do with her actual goals for herself in terms of her profession. But bad Samantha over here, she first of all doesn't know how to use spell check. She's doing all kinds of crazy things here.
She doesn't really give specific information. She changes her verb tenses. This is a nightmare here. I can tell you right off the bat, if I saw one spelling error, if I were in HR, I would put that into the No pile. So it's important when you're looking that you don't make it look generic. These descriptions created videos, developed animation. It really doesn't tell us anything more about bad Samantha than we knew at the beginning.
But what Samantha Dickson on the good side is excellent at doing is she has kept it clean, classic and graphic. She's really ordered the information using typography skills and using classic bullets and lists to help organize her content. It makes it easy to read and easy to scan. Remember that most HR people take less than 30 seconds to look at your resume. But over here in disaster land with pink Samantha, we have all kinds of problems that she's done. Instead of keeping a clean, classic, graphic design, I think she think she's making a scrapbook to send home to her mother about her life.
She's got photos all over the place. She's pinked it up. She's made it cutesy wootsy, and it really has nothing to do with the job that she's trying to go after. If there was one point I'd like to emphasize in this particular resume writing procedure is to be careful when you're editing and pay attention to the detail. Good Samantha has done an excellent job of keeping it to the point. She's using correct grammar, correct punctuation. She's being consistent in how she does her bullet points. She's consistent throughout.
But over here in bad Samantha's land, she's got spelling errors galore. She spells California three different ways. She hasn't used spell checker, or had a second or third party look at her resume and read it through. I don't know where she gets her bullets in Microsoft Word, but that's an interesting way of doing bullets, but again it's not consistent. Bullets are bullets. They are not graphic design elements. They are supposed to say this is a point, this is a point, this is a point. So don't distract the user when you're creating your resume.
It's not something you need to embellish. It's more about making information readable and telling your story. Again, my second and most important clue here is be consistent. Throughout good Samantha has created bullets, she's been consistent, if it says developed here, it says created, developed, edited. She is using all past tense verbs. She's very clear. She tries to keep it to one, maybe two lines, and she does this throughout. So there is consistency. Your eye itself can see this consistency when it scans it and it starts to organizing and ordering the information for the person reading it.
Again, the discrepancies in the bad resume of pink Samantha are almost too many to even calculate. Spelling errors all over the place, as I said California, Calif, CA. Some places there are bullets, some places there aren't bullets. Not paying attention to verb tense, using initial capital, then not using initial capital. It makes for a crazy document to look at. It's hard to look at. In fact, this is the kind of paper you wouldn't want to get back if you were in college. I don't think this point is emphasized enough. To be honest, to be current, and don't include personal information.
You don't need to volunteer any information about your gender, your sex, your family or where you live or even your taxes for that matter. The whole point here is to give a clean concise picture of yourself that tells your story. Don't make up things. You'll be asked to corroborate this information. People will ask for you to back it up. Anything you say in your resume should be able to be backed up by some evidence showing that you've done something. In this case, good Samantha says she wants to be an online producer.
She then gives two examples of actually creating educational projects. That substantiates her desire to be an educational producer. Over here in bad Samantha's resume, she puts an achievement. Well, first of all I like the way she breaks up the word achievement and the underlining and that really fun fiesta type font. But she says nominated for most likely to succeed in my high school yearbook. Now up at the top she says she wants to be a director/producer. This is irrelevant information.
It may be fun to put on Facebook, but it's not appropriate to put on your resume. It also shows that she doesn't have much spelling ability. "Received an a ward and trofy for best video producer." But doesn't say where the trophy came from or what the piece was or the project was about. Again, it's irrelevant and generic. Finally, a big word of advice. You do not need to include references. If you are that far down the interviewing process, HR will call you in and say, "Now I'd like to get three contacts from you." So keep those for yourself and when you get to that process you'll be asked for that information.
Over here in bad Samantha's resume, you'll see that she says references are available on request and then adding more on page 2. Well, all this does is take up two inches of her resume that could be valuable space for telling more about herself. So if you take these all into consideration, looking at bad Samantha and looking at good Samantha, you can be self expressive and self destruct here, or you can create a resume that really organizes information in a clean, classic way that you can be proud of, that tells your story, and lets people know all there is to know about you in one page and give lots of detail and lots of evidence that you in fact have done these things, can perform these skills, and do that job.
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