Resume Help: Formatting Your Professional Experience

Today we are reviewing the professional experience section of a resume for a financial manager, Andrew.  Andrew’s resume is very similar to many resumes.  He provided a list of his routine job functions.  In some cases he simply listed two-word phrases to describe a function.  He also has a few formatting issues to clean-up to give his resume a professional appearance.  After clicking on the image to review Andrew’s resume language, follow these suggestions for revising this resume.

1.) Punctuate Each Line

Although the phrases on the resume are not complete sentences, it is proper to end each phrase with a period.  The period is there to signal the reader to pause and this helps a reader navigate your document.

2.) Skip the Articles

On a resume, articles (a, an, and the) are omitted.  Resumes are written in the staccato style to facilitate a quick read.  One element of that style is to omit articles.  Another aspect is that numbers do not need to be spelled out. Instead of writing, “three,” you would write, “3.”

3.) Get to the Point

Phrases that Andrew includes, such as, “Often having to” and “Experience working on,” should be deleted.  Instead, it is better to get to the point and start with a strong verb that states exactly what he did (or does).

4.) Pack a Punch Up Front

In some of Andrew’s phrases he begins the bullet with the routine aspect of what he did and finishes with the result.  Instead start with the result. For example, “Reduced costs by 27% by eliminating errors in monthly inventory report.” 

5.) Explain the Scope of Responsibility

Andrew’s first five bullets are very short phases, some as short as two words.  Andrew could make the description more compelling if he talked more about the scope of those duties in terms of number of reports, number of locations, employee count, dollar amounts, and other ways to define the level of his responsibility. 

6.) Try a Blended Format

If you have a long list of bullet points, as Andrew does, consider using a blended format.  Describe your major duties and responsibilities in a paragraph, consisting of the phrases as you did with the bullets.  Next follow with several bullets that describe your top accomplishments. This helps retain the reader’s attention and highlights key accomplishments. 

If you do not format your resume properly or follow resume standards, you can give the impression that you are not knowledgeable or that you do not care enough to do a good job.  Standard formats developed over the years were done so for a very good reason; they facilitate a quick read and enable the reader to easily find the information required to evaluate a candidate.

For more information on this topic, try reading these blog entries:

Resume Help:  Asking Questions to Uncover Accomplishments

Resume Help:  Muddled to Marvelous

Resume Help:  Get to the Point

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Resume Help: Formatting Your Professional Experience

Today we are reviewing the professional experience section of a resume for a financial manager, Andrew.  Andrew’s resume is very similar to many resumes.  He provided a list of his routine job functions.  In some cases he simply listed two-word phrases to describe a function.  He also has a few formatting issues to clean-up to give his resume a professional appearance.  After clicking on the image to review Andrew’s resume language, follow these suggestions for revising this resume.

1.) Punctuate Each Line

Although the phrases on the resume are not complete sentences, it is proper to end each phrase with a period.  The period is there to signal the reader to pause and this helps a reader navigate your document.

2.) Skip the Articles

On a resume, articles (a, an, and the) are omitted.  Resumes are written in the staccato style to facilitate a quick read.  One element of that style is to omit articles.  Another aspect is that numbers do not need to be spelled out. Instead of writing, “three,” you would write, “3.”

3.) Get to the Point

Phrases that Andrew includes, such as, “Often having to” and “Experience working on,” should be deleted.  Instead, it is better to get to the point and start with a strong verb that states exactly what he did (or does).

4.) Pack a Punch Up Front

In some of Andrew’s phrases he begins the bullet with the routine aspect of what he did and finishes with the result.  Instead start with the result. For example, “Reduced costs by 27% by eliminating errors in monthly inventory report.” 

5.) Explain the Scope of Responsibility

Andrew’s first five bullets are very short phases, some as short as two words.  Andrew could make the description more compelling if he talked more about the scope of those duties in terms of number of reports, number of locations, employee count, dollar amounts, and other ways to define the level of his responsibility. 

6.) Try a Blended Format

If you have a long list of bullet points, as Andrew does, consider using a blended format.  Describe your major duties and responsibilities in a paragraph, consisting of the phrases as you did with the bullets.  Next follow with several bullets that describe your top accomplishments. This helps retain the reader’s attention and highlights key accomplishments. 

If you do not format your resume properly or follow resume standards, you can give the impression that you are not knowledgeable or that you do not care enough to do a good job.  Standard formats developed over the years were done so for a very good reason; they facilitate a quick read and enable the reader to easily find the information required to evaluate a candidate.

For more information on this topic, try reading these blog entries:

Resume Help:  Asking Questions to Uncover Accomplishments

Resume Help:  Muddled to Marvelous

Resume Help:  Get to the Point

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