Braille Monitor                         May 2021

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A Simple Resumé Format

by Dick Davis, chairperson, National Federation of the Blind Employment Committee

Dick DavisFrom the Editor: Dick Davis is one of the strongest advocates dedicated to helping blind people get and keep jobs. He heads several of the Federation’s employment efforts, and though he has recently retired from BLIND, Incorporated, he is still managing to keep Federation activity on a schedule that now includes more travel than before retirement. Dick has had the coronavirus, has survived it, and is looking forward to our national convention. In the meantime, he offers this article about preparing a resumé:

Resumés: it seems like nobody knows how to write one! Here’s an easy format I have used for years with the employment classes I taught at BLIND, Inc. The concept behind this is to make it easy for you to write and update based on the job for which you are applying. Never send a generic resumé to an employer; always customize it.

Studies have shown that the average resumé screener will spend between five and fifteen seconds looking over a resumé before deciding to screen it in or out. This resumé format is designed to make sure the important stuff shows up in the first half of the first page. That’s where five to fifteen seconds takes the reader. References are included because many employers like to check them first.

Generally, a business style resumé should be one and no more than two pages. If you use a second page, put your name on it in case it gets separated. Never duplex a resumé (print it on both sides of the page) because if it is copied the second page may be lost.

Remember that your resumé is a sales document. It is a summary of what you can offer an employer. Anything that is not relevant to the job in question should be omitted. If there are gaps in your work experience, you can put the word “Relevant” in front of “Employment” or “Experience.”

Remember to leave out first person singular in a resumé. Start your sentences with verbs. Use the strongest verbs you can, while avoiding lying to the employer. People who do that get fired. Some people may tell you that resumés are obsolete. That is nonsense.

Here’s the resumé format:

Cell phone and email
Personal website or LinkedIn page (optional)

Objective (or Goal):
This should state exactly what you are looking for. If you are applying for a specific job, that is what you put here. If not, be as specific as you can. The people who screen these things want to know if you are applying for something they have. If not, they will stop reading at this point.

This is the other important part. It depends on what kind of job you are applying for. Use bullet points and include only those things that are important. If possible, include outcomes. Everything can be measured in some way.

Experience (employment) or education comes next, depending which is more relevant to the job. Let’s assume it’s education:

Wichita State University, Wichita, KS: BS, Science 05/2020. Studies included Physics, Chemistry, Physical Science, and Science Education. Worked four years in chemistry lab. Developed creative presentations to encourage blind persons to consider STEM careers. Received honor scholarships from National Science Foundation, National Federation of the Blind, and Wichita State University. Research projects included: “The Effects of Hallucinogenic Drugs on Muskrats.”

Chemistry Laboratory Assistant, 09/2016 through 05/2020: directed the enrollment of students into the lab, signed out lab coats and equipment, taught safety methods, helped students and answered questions, reported to professors on student progress in achieving lab goals.

The above are of course, complete fabrications but should give you the idea. If you have more than one job or source of education, use bullets to separate them. You don’t need to use them to separate duties, as that makes the resumé too long.

(Optional) Activities (or Interests):
This is where you put in anything relevant to the job that could not be included above. Anything that would show you to be a caring, community-oriented individual or cause the reader to say “Wow!’

References (three to five):
Name, connection (supervisor, professor, etc.), name of organization, phone, email.

You add references because many employers like to check people out before deciding to interview them, and you want to meet their needs.

I have found this resumé to be easily customizable and to work well. Use Word and avoid weird formatting. Arial is the most impressive font. You can do up to two pages for a resumé, but an academic CV can go on much longer, as can a federal resumé, both of which require more extensive written documentation.

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