If you want to build a professional resume, you have to expect to spend some time doing so. Great resumes do not build themselves. They are written, then revised and proof read many times. Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t send it out after the first draft or two. If a position you want comes up and you need to apply for it right away or lose the opportunity, then by all means, send out what you have prepared. Just remember to revise it, proof read it – and have your friends and family to do also – to ensure it is free from errors and reads well.

Make it legible

Your resume should be easy to read. You want the hiring manager to easily read and absorb your work history and accomplishments. Therefore, use a legible font (such as Times New Roman, Arial, or Calibri). Make sure the font is not too big or too small (choose a size between 10 and 12).

Also be sure that there is enough white space on the page to make it easy to scan. Avoid dense blocks of text, and use standard margins. Use white- or cream-colored paper if you are sending a physical resume – colored paper can be very distracting.

Be consistent

Professional resumes need to have consistent formatting. For instance, if you use bullet points to describe your responsibilities and achievements at one position, be sure to use bullet points on all other positions as well. Also, make certain that the bullet points are formatted the same way throughout. For example, don’t use circle bullet points in one section, and diamond bullet points in another section. Be consistent with font, font size, and style (such as use of bold and italics).

Keep it focused

It’s important not to include extraneous information. Your resume should focus on the skills and attributes that qualify you for the job. Here are the top 15 things not to include on your resume.

The last thing that needs to be covered here is the tendency of some job applicants to “embellish” their resume or outright lie on it. You cannot build a professional resume on deception. If there is anything you think you need to overcome, you can handle it in the cover letter or in the interview.

When you make the effort to write a resume that garners an employer’s attention, then you will be rewarded with an interview and a job offer. Take the time to do it right.