Educational institutions teach us lots of things that will (theoretically) help us succeed in our jobs. But they rarely teach us how to write a resume, which is what you need to get hired for those jobs. As a result, we have a lot of otherwise smart people who are pretty much clueless when it comes to resume writing. If you, too, are unclear on the concept, here's some basic information to help you get a clue (and a job). We'll start with your...
Contact information refers to the name, address, phone and email address you put at the very top of your resume to tell employers how to... [wait for it] ... contact you!
Simple as it may seem, this section trips up an amazing number of job seekers—especially when it comes to that pesky email address. (I'm talking to you, bustycougar and mrluvmaster! Hiring managers are rolling their eyes at you!)
The bottom line is that you really DO want to make it easy for employers to call you for a phone screen or to schedule a job interview, and you really DON'T want to offend them or make them laugh at you in the process.
So, without further ado, here are more basic Dos and Don'ts for putting your contact information on a resume:
- Do include your first and last name, in full.
- Don't use your middle name, or even your middle initial, unless you're professionally known that way, like Samuel L. Jackson. (Same goes for titles like Jr., Sr., II, III, etc.)
- Do include an advanced degree or certification if you have one that's relevant to your desired job (e.g., Jennifer Brown, RN or Thomas Gomez, CPA).
- Do weigh the pros and cons of changing the name on your resume if your first name is unusual or unpronounceable, or if you're generally known by a nickname.
- Do include your full mailing address if you're applying directly to a specific job.
- Don't publicize your address if you're posting to an online job board for everyone to see.
- Do include a permanent address (e.g., parents' home) if you're away at college and your school address is temporary.
- Do try to include a local address if you're relocating (e.g., a friend or relative's address in the new city).
Your Phone Number(s)
- Do include your home or cell number; both if possible.
- Don't give out your work number (if you still have one). Employers both current and future tend to frown on job candidates who use company time and resources to job search. Imagine.
- Do make sure your voice mail greetings for your cell phone and home phone sound professional—no kiddie voices, no barking dogs, no smartass jokes, and no roommates screaming in the background.
Your Email Address
- Do use an email address that's based on your name (e.g., something like firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, or firstname.lastname@example.org). If necessary, create a new email address specifically for your job search.
- Don't use your work email (for the same reasons you shouldn't use your work phone number).
- Don't… no, make that NEVER, EVER put an email address on your resume that indicates how sassy, studly, sexy, hot, or bitchy you are; whose parent or significant other you are; the size or quality of your body parts; your favorite team, band, video game, or fictional character; your sexual, religious, or political orientation; your favorite branch of the animal kingdom; your preferred intoxicant(s); your age, Social Security number, or other personal data. And don't be gross. If it's any of those things, get a new one. Email addresses are free, you know?
That's all for today. In upcoming posts we'll present more resume tips for the clueless, with each installment focusing on another part of the resume.
Meanwhile, please share your thoughts or additional tips below by leaving a comment!
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Writing a Resume When You Haven't Worked for Years