I’ve been doing some interviews as my husband and I are figuring out what we want to do with our near futures. I’m originally from Connecticut so we would ideally settle down where I’m comfortable and where the bulk of my family is. I’ve pretty much solidly decided that I can’t be anywhere else especially given my emotional attachment to my family. Worse/Better, my grandmother is very ill. I just feel in my heart that I need to be near her. I’ve covered all of Northern Connecticut/Southern Massachusetts, Western Connecticut/Westchester County, Anywhere New Jersey, and finally Philadelphia (the search has gradually brought me back to the Mason Dixon Line area– exactly where I want to get away from). My technique has been to apply to as many jobs as I possibly can. That means covering a broad range of geography.

First, you’ll need a resume. Here is a discreet copy of mine as I walk you through how to set it up.

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1I start with the standard font size and margins– 12pt, 1″ all around. The name and contact info will always be at the top and centered. I’m a little traditional in that way. These modern resumes are cool to look at with the aesthetics and all but I stick to what works for me. The name should be bolded and bumped up a couple sizes before you move on.

Next, we’ll talk headers. A resume typically has four to five headers– Objective, Education, Employment, Skills and Qualification, and optionally Awards and Publications. The sizes of your headers should be ever so slightly larger than your text but smaller than your name, flushed left, and bolded. Your objective should be a one-liner that could be overthought into a plethora of things such as your current role, skillset, wants, where you see yourself in ten years. It’s like a little haiku for employers. For education, in order to preserve space, I utilize vertical bars on one line to cover location of education, date of graduation, and GPA.2

Third is employment history. As you all may know, employment history is setup in chronological order. Again, I utilize the resourcefulness of one line and vertical bars. The title of your position is important because there are ways you could zhush yourself up. Say for example, you pushed papers at a fast food joint. That formally makes you qualified for administrative work, clerical work, office assistant work, and so on. Mithril & Mages is a good site to put into words the broad range of your role and skills but there are other sites you could use. The military even has its own way of translating military skills into civilian verbiage.3I try to keep the bullets to six with a sentence format of “action” followed by an infinitive. The original descriptions you use are not critical and I’ll tell you why later. Submitting a resume straight from a resume builder is tacky but the descriptions they provide is an awesome starter so by all means, fill ‘er up with a bunch of mumbo jumbo and get back to it later.

7Lastly, you’ll throw in your skills. We all have some! I mean, every piece of technology you’ve touched contributes to your knowledge even if you’re an amateur on the low-low. If you want, you could get ahead of the game by initiating your own training on the stuff. I started with my clearance here because it’s a major feature under my belt. Next, technology is hugely valued. You could include your operating system proficiency and then your proficiency with Microsoft Office Suite followed by each program. Everything else falls under that but it’s again not critical and I’ll again tell you why later!

When you’re all done, you might find that the resume has exceeded one page. My quick fix for that is to first bump it down to 11.5pt font. If that’s not enough, don’t decrease the font size any more than that. Instead, select the entire text, right-click, select paragraph, make sure the box for “Don’t add space between paragraphs of the same style” is checked (correct the spacing later if the text looks crammed), and then select the dropdown menu for Line Spacing. You’re gonna select “Multiple” and then enter .9 in the “At” box. If the resume pushed up so much there’s a lot of space at the bottom, you’re gonna select Multiple at .91 or .92 or .93 and so and so forth until the text is exactly at the bottom. This option enables the spacing to be a little snug so you should choose the least snug option when possible. If the resume still exceeds one page with Multiple at .9, try .89, .88, etc.

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To summarize, name a few sizes larger than the headers, the headers a couple sizes larger than the text, name and contact information centered at top of the page; everything else flushed left, six bullets, bold here; italicize there, one page, vertical bars, and lots of tweaking. You got it!

Next, you’ll likely go to Indeed– “the world’s number one job site.” Stay tuned for more advice on how to guarantee locking in at least two interviews.

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