Voices From the Lab: Update & Enhance Your Resume Today at Austin Free-Net

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blank resumeAustin Free-Net staff works with both unemployed and underemployed Austin adults each and every day to help them strengthen their resume and Austin’s workforce.  We follow the accepted and general rules of resume  building.

“Padding your resume” is a hot topic right now in the news.  AFN Trainers encourage our clients to be honest, forthcoming and to always seek the positive within both their work and life experiences.


Here are the top 10 things YOU can do to enhance YOUR resume:

  1. Check your spelling! Always use spell check and have a friend for family member read for errors.  You are responsible for the accuracy of the information.
  2. Do not discount life experience.  Education achievement is important, but so too is your experience with life.  Have you cared for someone in your home?  Worked since you were 15?  That counts as life experience and in many cases will stand in for educational requirements.
  3. Write in bullet point format (complete sentences have punctuation, fragments do not). Paragraphs and sentences tend to be judged for grammar and not the quality of the content. Plus, bullet format is easier to read Watch for your use of past and present tense. By the way….the numbers in this list are considered a type of bullet point!
  4. Be consistent in the formatting of your resume.  A BOLD here and underline there indicates a lack of attention to detail.
  5. Make good use of the space you have, but be sure to leave some white space for reviewer comments.  The employer possibly has 100s of resumes to read, make yours stand out by keeping it simple and easy on their eyes.
  6. A resume is a business document.  Don’t use perfume, colored paper, hand-drawn pictures done by your children or anything else that isn’t pertinent to the position you want.  Let your personality shine during the interview – the resume is all business.
  7. Always use a consistent font, because:
  8. Remember, a resume is not an essay.  It is a sales flyer designed to grab the attention of the prospective employer.
  9. Concentrate on inner strengths as much as particular skill sets.  The employer is
    hiring you, the person, not just a set of preferred skills.  Talk about your honesty, integrity, loyalty and sense of humor, for example.
  10. Add references, if requested, to a separate sheet of paper.  This is now accepted as
    a secondary step and generally asked by the employer if they are interested in pursuing placement.

In addition to the above, remember that if it is on your resume, you must be prepared to discuss it.  Never put something false or misleading on a resume.  The purpose of the  resume is to catch the eye of the prospective employer, hiring manager or HR professional with your history, skills and professionalism.  Once you obtain the interview, it’s up to you to earn the position.

You also should cater your resume to the specific job for which you’re applying.  For example, let’s take John.  He has just had his hours reduced at the restaurant where he works.  His resume features his serving and dish washing experience.  But, he wants to apply to work in the front office of a landscaping company.  We would recommend he restructure his resume to reflect his past work as a receptionist at a dental office rather than focusing on his restaurant experience.  He’d list his skills in customer service and his time management skills for certain; but he’d concentrate on his ability to type, answer multi-line telephones, and use certain computer programs.  We recommend most people have a minimum of two versions of their resume.

Helping Austin’s adults create or upgrade their resumes is but one of the things Austin
Free-Net does.  Our computer labs and classes are free to the public and our staff wouldlove to help you if you are in need of resumespell check assistance, or just want a second pair of eyes for that all-important spell check.

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