For once, I am specially qualified to answer this question because I was employed a couple of times as a Human Resources Manager and I kept getting hired far beyond my qualifications.
Even though I wasn’t good at the job, I looked at an awful lot of awful applications and awful résumés and saw all the mistakes that can be made by people who don’t look at a lot of résumés for a living.
First, consider calling it a C.V., particularly if you are dealing with people who prefer that lingo. C.V. stands for curriculum vitae, and as your “course of life” it emphasizes your academic work. Most people don’t know the difference, so calling your résumé a C.V. may alienate some people. Actually, if you didn’t already know what a C.V. was at the beginning of this paragraph, forget about it!!
Do not include your email address if it is “firstname.lastname@example.org.” (Yes, that happened). I do not recommend displaying any email addresses that are religious, political or bait of any type. (If you need a goofy, ambiguous email address, email@example.com is still available).
Do not misspell anything. A line like, “I am very dtail oriented,” while hilarious, will not get you an interview when details are important.
Do not use cut-and-paste, stock language. Not everyone can be an “exceptional interpersonal communicator,” so just be yourself, correctly spelled.
Do not use third person. “Margery is regarded as a very valuable member of her volleyball team,” just sounds like a crazy person took over the keyboard.
Most young people can keep their résumé on one page, and people who have to read or trash the papers appreciate that.
There are plenty of formats online to sample and muddle over, but the most important thing is to be clear and cover the most important information first.
A good résumé will have your name, contact information, work experience and other experience that makes you suited to the job you are trying to get. It will list your education and any degrees earned.
A good résumé will not have a scent.
Much as it pains me to say, do not be cute on your résumé, unless you are applying to be a children’s cancer ward clown or something extremely cute.
People who hold the decision pen over you are not going to like jokes or poor grammar or any indication that you are not deeply appreciative of the minute they will take to look at your résumé.
Including something like, “I live to serve customers,” or even, “My customer service will make your nipples flip to the inside!” will give you good stories to share at the bar but will probably not get you the interview.
Don’t list references, unless they are specifically requested. Instead, have a line stating, “References are available upon request.” You do not want some flunky HR manager prank-calling your elderly neighbors. (Actually, that probably didn’t happen; it just seems like a very good bit of discretion).
Pass your draft résumé around among friends if you can. Another set of eyes is always better when you are trying to communicate. They should catch that dtail for you.
Don’t sweat it too much. Like so many things, we learn every time we get it wrong. I’m pretty sure bigbootyho landed in a better place after that tip from her elderly neighbor!!
You got this.