Tools for Finding Employment: Building a Resume
Resumes are a necessity in the job seeking process. It’s important to always have a high-quality and current resume prepared and on hand for whenever a potential employer might ask for one. Most employers will formally require that you submit a resume at some point in the application process. Even when it’s not formally required, nearly all businesses will be pleased to accept a resume when you are applying for a job. Your resume may be your best opportunity to sell yourself to an employer before an interview.
Resume Development Tips
Follow a General Format
Use consistent formatting and always provide the same pieces of information for every job you list. Include the month and year that each task, job, activity, accomplishment, or certification occurred. Be consistent about formatting for dates. Use a legible, professional typeface, a clean and uncluttered layout, and a basic heading structure.
Keep to a Standard Length
For most job seekers in the early stages of their careers, a one-page resume will be the normal size required and preferred by employers. Employers often have dozens or even hundreds of resumes to go through for a single job—they don’t have the time to read through a long resume making sure they’ve caught all of the important points. One of the most critical parts of resume development is to make sure that you have made it easy for them to see everything about you very quickly. You might find that your first draft of your resume is longer than a single page. In that case, ensure your writing is as clear and to-the-point as possible. Next, take a look at your font size, margins, and other formatting options and make adjustments so your full resume fits completely and legibly on one sheet. As your career progresses and your work history grows, longer resumes will be acceptable and expected.
Always be Accurate
Never lie on your resume. Businesses regularly perform fact-checking on applicants before hiring. If it appears that you have misrepresented your accomplishments or the facts of your past employment, your application will be dismissed and your reputation will suffer. If you are hired and it is later discovered you lied or misrepresented yourself on your resume, most employers will immediately fire you.
Maintain Your Resume
Keep your resume up-to-date because you never know when a job opportunity will pop up. It is important to make sure your contact information is accurate and appropriate.Use a Professional E-mail Address
Your e-mail address should be formal and standard such as your first initial and last name or your first name and last name. If necessary, create a new e-mail address through a free e-mail site (such as Gmail, yahoo, lycos, and hotmail) and use it just for applying for jobs. It might seem like a small thing, but it is important to always present yourself in a professional manner. Employers will not hesitate to dismiss a resume due to an inappropriate e-mail address.
Customize Your Resume for Each Job
Once you have developed a solid master resume it is a good idea to customize each resume you submit to suit each specific job or employer.
Adjust and edit your work history based on the position for which you are applying.
Provide the most detail for the jobs that are most relevant and downplay positions that are not relevant. If you have gaps in your employment history, make sure you have thought about how to explain them. As well, if you had to take a position or positions that don’t apply to your career goals (e.g., because of a bad job market/economy, or if you lived for a time in a location that did not have good prospects in your field, etc.), downplay them on your resume and think about how you will explain your circumstances to a potential employer.
Put your best foot forward by ordering the sections. Suppose you have a strong work experience for a specific job, but not as much relevant educational experience. In this scenario, it would be a good idea to put your educational experience above your work experience. Analyze your resume and decide which category is most applicable to the specific job.
Get Feedback from Others
Ask someone who does not have a visual impairment to review your resume for formatting and other issues. This can be helpful to any person developing a resume, as they are difficult documents to perfect.Make Use of AFB CareerConnect
Remember, AFB CareerConnect can be a great asset in developing a good functional resume. If you are a registered user of CareerConnect, you have access to a Resume Builder tool that can make the resume composition process easier. The resume you build on the site can then be copied and pasted into a word processing document for more customization.
The Job Seeker’s Toolkit
This article is based on the AFB Job Seeker’s Toolkit, a free, self-paced, comprehensive, and accessible guide to the employment process. Set up a My CareerConnect account to get started with the Toolkit—it’s an easy and fast process that will give you access to many helpful job hunting resources!
This article and The Job Seeker’s Toolkit are based on the 2nd edition of The Transition Tote System, by Karen Wolffe and Debbie Johnson (1997, American Printing House for the Blind).