Archives for August 2009
Below are some suggestions to help your resume stand out. Please note, these suggestions are from our personal point of view. No industry standard is set or implied.
Length: Most resumes should be one page unless: 1) you are in a highly specialized discipline with extensive certifications that can’t be captured on one page; or 2) you have more than 15 years in one field.
To shorten your resume, focus on the three most important aspects of each position you’ve held. Three to six bullet points is usually sufficient to capture the essence of a given position. Positions that were held more than five years ago can have as little as two to four bullet points.
Rule of thumb: The more time that passes the less emphasis you need to place on a particular job. Unless, of course, the position was at a noted institution, or you worked with a well-known person, or you received a prestigious award.
A note about bullet points: We always preferred bullet-pointed to “paragraphy” resumes because they: 1) are easier to absorb at a glance; 2) look cleaner and more streamlined; and 3) are quicker to read. Your bulleted points should be no more than three lines long, with one or two being ideal.
Errors: Editorial workers, especially, should present resumes that are 100% error-free. This includes those minor errors that you may think don’t make a difference, e.g., spacing, periods, font changes, etc.
Setup: We advise a summary of qualifications/skills/profile section first, followed by work experience, then education, and finally professional, RELEVANT affiliations. Rarely is attention given to hobbies, special and/or other interests sections.
Detailing Your Experience: Make your resume as detailed, yet brief, as possible. Include such specifics as:
¶ Word count of articles; how many per week, month, quarter, publication, etc., you were/are responsible for;
¶ Whether or not you did the copyediting and proofreading, in addition to the editing and writing of each article;
¶ The style of editing used;
¶ The types of editing styles in which you are proficient;
¶ Supervisory/managerial responsibilities: did you oversee/hire freelance staff — if so, how
many were you in charge of; were you in charge of a budget (how much); did you save the company money; etc.
¶ The type of publication: daily, weekly, monthly, etc.; on- or off-line; a magazine, book, journal, etc.; and
¶ The types of software in which you are extremely proficient, have an average ability, are studying, etc.
Regarding Education: If you graduated three to five years ago, depending on how much relevant editorial experience you’ve gained, education can be placed at the top of your resume. This lets prospective employers know that you are still relatively new to the field. Otherwise, it should drop to the bottom.
Same Company/Different Positions: If you’ve held more than one position at the same company, be careful to note continuity. To accomplish this, state the company name only once and the total time that you worked there. Then, state each position, putting the title and dates beside each position that you held. For example:
ABCX Publishing, 1980-1991
Associate Editor (1983-1988)
Copy Editor (1980-1983)
If you were promoted from one position to the next, be sure to state that. This serves a double purpose. One, it demonstrates longevity (a highly desired trait); and two, it highlights your effectiveness within the company. Namely, that you were talented enough, resourceful enough, worked hard enough, to be promoted.
Freelance Experience: Categorize all freelance experience separately, especially if you have many listings. This will make you seem less like a “hopper” (job hopper) and will clearly separate this experience from permanent and part-time employment.
Submission/Attachments: Submit your resume in the form in which it is requested. For example, if a newspaper ad requests MS word documents only, do not submit a pdf; or, if the ad says “in the body of the e-mail”, please do not send an attachment.
Many employers do not like attachments for the obvious reason of virus transmission. Also, submitting an attachment forces the reader to open programs that he or she may not be in or may not have. Many resumes go unopened because the reader simply does not have the time or inclination to open an attachment.
If the resume is submitted in the body of the e-mail, the reader has ready access to your information. If no specific form is requested, we suggest that you send your resume in the body of the e-mail and as an MS Word document. Why Word? Because thanks to Bill Gates, this is the most widely used word processing software.