Westaff of Helena

Personnel Plus Consulting Services

210 East Lyndale 

Helena, Montana 59601

phone: +1 406 443 7169

fax: +1 406 443 5803

© 2019 Westaff of Helena

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Resume Tips

When submitting a resume to Westaff, keep in mind that we staff for many types of jobs. It is important to keep your resume simple, yet still show your qualifications. If you have a degree in a specialized field we recommend you bring two resumes, one with general office experience and one for your specific field of expertise. You should also keep in mind the following things when writing a resume for Westaff or any other position you are applying for:

Don't forget the basics

  • Your resume is an employer's first impression, therefore, make sure everything gives a professional impression.

  • The first thing on your resume should be your name. It should be bold with a larger font than the rest of the text. Make sure that your contact details are clearly listed. Secondly, both the name and contact details should be included on all the pages of your resume.

  • If necessary, create a professional e-mail address just to put on your resume. If you have an email address such as onehotchick/dude@hotmail.com if does not give a professional impression.

  • Add your phone number but consider the impression your voice mail greeting and even your ring back tone are giving an employer when they call.

The purpose of a resume is to end up with an interview, not to get a job

  • Keep your resume brief without skipping pertinent details.

  • Back up your qualities and strengths.

  • Use the right keywords. For tips on keywords click here

Use effective titles

  • Like it or not, employers will usual make a judgment about your resume in 5 seconds. In that time frame the most important aspect will be the titles that you list on your resume so make sure they demand attention.

Proofread it twice

  • It would be difficult to over-emphasize the importance of proofreading your resume. One small typo and your chances of getting hired could be gone. For tips on proofreading click here.

  • Have someone who is detail oriented proofread your resume. Someone else doesn't know what you meant to say so they will be more likely to catch missing words and typos.

Put the most important information first

  • This point valid both to the overall order of your resume, as well as to the individual sections. Most of the times your previous work experience will be the most important part of the resume, so put it at the top. When describing your experiences or skills, list the most important ones first. Make sure to include a response to any questions asked by an employer.

Attention to the typography

  • Make sure that your font is big enough. The smallest you should go is 11 points for the body, but 12 is probably safer.

  • There is nothing worse than trying to read a resume with too small of a font. In fact, most people won't even try. This being said, don't make it obnoxiously large either.

Explain the benefits of your skills

  • Resumes that include a long list of responsibilities are plain boring and are not effective in selling yourself.

  • Explain how it will benefit the company, and connect it to tangible results.

  • Don't merely mention that you increased the annual revenues of your division, say "increased revenue by $1000,000", or "by 78%". This looks much more impressive.

Avoid discrimination

  • It is illegal to discriminate against people because of their age, race, marital status, etc. but, some employers do take these things into consideration when given the information. Why risk the trouble? Unless specifically requested, do not include your age, race, or marital status on your resume.

  • Other things to avoid putting on your resume are religious or political affiliation, sexual preferences, and your social security number.

  • Do not include a photo unless specifically requested to do so.

You don't need to list all your work experiences

  • If you have job experiences that you are not proud of, that are not relevant to the current opportunity, or were so long ago you can barely remember it, you should just omit them. Mentioning that you used to sell hamburgers when you were 17 is probably not going to help you land that executive position.

Go with what you got

  • If you never had any real working experience, just include your summer jobs or volunteer work. If you don't have a degree yet, mention the title and the estimated date for completion. As long as those points are relevant to the job in question, it does not matter if they are official or not.

Keep the salary in mind

  • The image you will create with your resume must match the salary and responsibility level that you are aiming for.

Get someone else to review your resume

  • Even if you think your resume is looking great, it would be a good idea to get a second and third opinion about it. We usually become blind to our own mistakes or way of reasoning, so another person will be in a good position to evaluate the overall quality of your resume and make appropriate suggestions.

Volunteerism/Hobbies

  • Address hobbies and volunteer experience only if they provide you qualifications related to the position you are applying for.

Update your resume regularly

  • It is a good idea to update your resume on a regular basis. Add all the new information that you think is relevant, as well as courses, training programs and other academic qualifications that you might receive along the way. This is the best way to keep track of everything and to make sure that you will not end up sending an obsolete document to the employer.

  • It may be an advantage to have different versions of your resume that reflect different aspects of your qualifications; for example, one that speaks to management skills, another that speaks to technical skills, etc.

No scattered information

  • Your resume must have a clear focus. It would cause a negative impression if you mentioned one year you were studying drama, and the next you were working as an accountant. Make sure all the information you include will work towards a unified image. Employers like decided people.

Make the design flow with white space

  • Do not jam your resume with text. Yes, you should make your resume as short and concise as possible, but that refers to the overall amount of information and not to how much text you can pack in a single sheet of paper. White space between the words, lines and paragraphs can improve the legibility of your resume.

List all your positions but...

  • If you have been working for 20 years or more, there is no need to have 2 pages of your resume listing all your work experiences, starting with the job at the local coffee shop at the age of 17. Most experts agree that the last 15 years of your career are enough.

  • If you have worked a long time for the same company (over 10 years) it could be a good idea to list all the different positions and roles that you had during this time separately. You probably had different responsibilities and developed different skills on each role, so the employer will like to know it.

No jargon or slang

  • Slang should never be present in a resume. As for technical jargon, do not assume that the employer will know what you are talking about. Even if you are sending your resume to a company in the same segment, the person who will read it for the first time might not have any technical expertise.

Create an email proof formatting

  • It is very likely that you will end up sending your resume via email to most companies. Apart from having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should also have a text version of your resume that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms. Attachments might get blocked by spam filters.

No fancy design details

  • A tasteful, good quality paper is enough to make your resume stand out there is no need for fancy fonts or images on your resume. Sure, you might think that the little flowers will cheer up the document, but other people might just throw it away at the sight.