I have received several resumes from friends lately, many who are not chemists but are currently “investigating new opportunities”. I try to give them leads and other resources, but I can always at least provide a critical review of their resume. Here is some advice I’ve given some of them, which I also share with you.
Make sure to put your contact information (address, phone, email and web site) on your resume. Seriously. I got one yesterday that just had a name, no more. Even if I’d wanted to hire the guy, I would have to track him down.
If you are a “newbie”, don’t think using a bigger font will fool anyone. If you don’t have enough professional experience to fill 2 pages, don’t use a huge font thinking they won’t figure it out. 10 to 12 point font is good for everyone. Give some thought to volunteer activities that show transferrable skills, or other relevant information you can include.
If you are a more experienced professional, you don’t have to list jobs all the way back to high school. I saw a 4 page resume that listed 20 jobs, going back over 20 years. A skills-based format would have served this person much better – he could have highlighted recent, relevant accomplishments that would be of interest to the company to which he is applying. Very few hiring managers will have the time to wade through 4 pages of tiny font to see if you once had the skills for which they are looking. It’s also okay to group jobs that were further back in time, or just list the company name and date, without all the gory details.