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How to Make a Resume

Want to make your resume shine? Here's how to put together a resume that'll impress any employer.

1. Start by making a list of all your accomplishments to date. Don't leave anything out. Include jobs, awards, educational degrees, skills, personal projects: anything that would be impressive and/or interesting to anyone (even if not impressive or interesting to everyone. Even after your resume is finished, maintain this list. That way, you don't have to revisit those portions year after year. Organize your list by category.

2. Tailor your list to the position you're applying for (this will require a bit of research). Trim out each item that is not directly relevant to the job and add on two or three sentences explaining the relevance of each item. Whenever possible, list your experience in terms of accomplishments and achievements rather than tasks and responsibilities. Show your success. You may end up with many different versions of your resume, each one emphasizing a different set of skills.

3. Consider stating your objective. Again, keep this short and to the point, a single sentence. Personalize it to the position. Make sure your objective doesn't contradict the position you are applying for. Many employers will ignore an objective; so if it doesn't add something to the resume, don't include it.

4. Now it's time to format. Mind the look and feel of your resume. It should have clean lines and be easy to read. Make it two pages max, and only one page if you're just out of school - if you have more to share, save it for the interview. The font should be 8-13, no smaller, no bigger, but you should be able to read it well when you print it out. Black and white is best unless you're emphasizing your artistic or publishing skills (and even then be careful and tasteful). Keep the format neat and organized.

5. Include an address, phone number and email address. But, do not include an email that shows you shouldn't be taken seriously, like beerandboys@email.com. Don't use your current employer's name, number or email, either. If necessary, get an extra email address with a professional name that you can use for job searches.

6. Proofread, proofread and proofread again. Have a friend proofread. Have an enemy proofread. Have a stranger proofread. Then proof again! Don't boast about written communication skills with a typo.

7. Toot your own horn, but be careful. There is a fine line between arrogance and confidence. Try not to cross that line.

8. Follow directions. This is a huge indicator of responsibility to a hiring manager. If the ad says "no calls please," then don't call! If the job description asks you to provide your salary history, then include that information in your resume.


Remember: the point of a resume is not to get the job, it's to get the interview. Focus on your best accomplishments. Focus on things you've accomplished so that whoever reads the resume will think, "I want to find out more about how this person did that."

Be consistent! Format each entry in your resume in the same way.

You might not need to list your whole name if it takes up two full lines (James Michael Allan Hoffman III; James Hoffman is fine or even Jim Hoffman if that's the way you like to be addressed.

Don't over qualify yourself for a position. Give enough information for interest and save the "wow" factor for the interview. Write the resume for the position you are applying for without altering the truth.

Don't attach 6 letters of recommendation, your diploma, your birth certificate, and your CPR and fitness certifications. Indicate your current certifications and be prepared to give references upon request. Do not waste space on your resume by saying "References available".

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