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Career Counselor
Sizing Up Your Resume

Sept/Oct 2007 If you're updating your resume and you've been advised to limit it to one page, you may want to reconsider this advice.

In a survey conducted a decade ago by Accountemps, 73 percent of executives said they preferred a one-page resume, while 23 percent found two pages acceptable. The same survey conducted in 2007 suggests that times and resumes preferences could be changing. While 52 percent of executives polled felt one page is the ideal length for a staff-level resume, 44 percent said two pages are more optimal.

Though longer resumes are becoming more acceptable, you should still strive to be concise and make every word count. Employers want to see that job applicants can prioritize information and succinctly convey their experience. Here are some do's and don'ts for crafting an effective resume:

  • DO describe key contributions you made in previous jobs and how they impacted the bottom line.
  • DON'T use exact dates of employment. Months and years are sufficient.
  • DO summarize software expertise and other specialized skills.
  • DON'T include irrelevant details about your personal life or list your hobbies.
  • DO devote extra space to describing work experience that is most relevant to the job description.
  • DON'T use unexplained acronyms or abbreviations.
  • DO use terms referenced in the job description if they apply. Firms often scan resumes for these key words in order to find the most suitable match.
  • DON'T list references or include a lengthy career objective.
  • DO reference your activities with professional associations, community involvement and knowledge of a second language if they relate to the job opportunity.
  • DON'T use complete sentences; short bulleted statements are sufficient.

Your resume should be clean and clear in both appearance and content. Though elements such as bold font, underlining, or capitalization can help you emphasize certain sections of a document, be sure that the overall look is simple rather than busy. Your resume is the first impression you will make on a hiring manager. Make sure it accurately reflects the professional behind the paper.

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ACCOUNTEMPS is a specialized temporary staffing service for accounting, finance and bookkeeping professionals. Accountemps provides support throughout an accounting department. Headquartered in Menlo Park, Calif., Accountemps and has more than 270 offices in North America, Europe and Australia. Accountemps' Career Counselor column, a SmartPros staple for over four years, is refreshed twice a month.

2007 SmartPros Ltd. All rights reserved.

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