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Resume Writing Made Easy

Presenting yourself on paper? Follow these seven simple steps.

1. Start with the Basics
List contact information at the top of your resume: your full name, address, telephone number with area code, and e-mail address. If you have an answering machine or voice mail, record a friendly but polished greeting. Choose an e-mail address that sounds professional.

2. State Your Objective or Goal
What are you hoping to do? Write an objective that spells it out to potential employers. Be specific. Example: “To obtain an entry-level stylist position that allows me to refine my cutting and coloring skills and build a base of repeat clients.” You can tailor your objective to each job you apply for.

3. Describe Your Education
If you’re a new graduate without much work experience, list your educational information first, starting with the most recent and working backward. Include your degree and the name of the school(s) you attended. Be sure to highlight any honors or awards you earned.

4. Outline Your Work Experience
Briefly list the jobs that have helped you develop relevant skills. Use action words—taught, streamlined, produced—to describe your job duties. For example: “Served as a team leader for customer service call center.” Again, start with the most recent experience and work backward to your first relevant position. For each job, include:
• Title of your position
• Name of company or organization
• Location of work (city and state)
• Dates of employment
• Work responsibilities
• Specific skills and achievements

5. Collect References
Ask people if they are willing to serve as references before you offer their names to a potential employer. But don’t list references on your resume. Instead, at the bottom, say something like “References available on request.” Type up a separate sheet that you can provide as needed.

6. Make It Pretty
Resumes are usually received by the stack and reviewed very quickly. Make sure yours is attractive and easy to read. A few tips:
• Use black ink on white or off-white paper
• Use 8 1/2- x 11-inch paper
• Print on one side of the paper, not both
• Use a font size of 10 to 14 points
• Use a plain, easy-to-read typeface
• Limit yourself to one page of key details

7. Proof Your Work. Then Proof It Again.
Run spell check on your computer before anyone sees your resume. Then ask a friend (know any grammar experts?) to do a review. Ask another detail-oriented friend to proofread. The more people who see your resume, the more likely that typos and other problems will be spotted and fixed before you apply for jobs.

Good luck!
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