I am willing to pay up to $300. Mine is out of date and needs some help.
I was looking at careerbuilder.com and they want $239.
Don't do it online. Find someone that you know that looks at tons of resumes in your career field and get them to help you write it. I've got two resumes from online resume farms and one that was written according to what a friend who does HR for Microsoft told me. Guess which one gets interviews 50% of the time.
Here's some simple stuff.
Include an objective. If you are applying for a specific job, your objective should state that you want that job. This avoids confusion if there are multiple jobs that you qualify for or if your resume ends up in the wrong pile.
Include a summary of qualifications. Basically use the job description and list your skills/qualifications that are relevant to every listed item on the job description. If it's a long job description, you'll have a long list of skills/qualifications. One resume I wrote had a summary that covered over half the first page. This summary needs to be written in language that the HR department will understand. Don't drop technical terms and don't be "clever". This section gets your resume off the desk of the HR department and into the hands of the department that you'll actually be working in.
Don't be afraid of using multiple pages if you've been working for more than 5 years (total, not just relevant work experience).
If you've been in a particular career field for more than 5 years, your education and credentials are pass/fail. You should have learned far more in the 5+ years of actual work than you did during all your education and testing. (If you were underemployed and not expanding your abilities, say so. Otherwise your resume is going to read like you were a slacker.)
The ratio of the descriptions of work experience to education should vary based upon how much of each you currently use in your current job. As an engineer, my education (double major, one concentration, 7 major certs) gets 6 lines. My work experience is over a page. Scholarships can be included here.
Organize your work experience in the manner that makes the most sense. I had always listed my work experience chronologically. However, this made for a confusing mess as I generally have at least two projects and sometimes more projects active at any given time. Now, I organize my work experience by project (with dates beside the employer or contractor). The project layout shows my progression of skills and project leadership.
Regardless of organization, your work experience needs to show that you are progressing. You can also admit mistakes; just make sure that later work shows that you've corrected those mistakes. (Be careful with that.)
Don't lie. If you assisted, say so. If you only did a small thing, say so. Show what you learned or did and move on.
Not every job needs a paragraph of description. During college I worked construction. I wrote, "Worked as an apprentice carpenter." That's it.
Show contiguous employment. You don't need to show that every job you've had is relevant to the job you are applying for, but employers like to see that you have a consistent work history. If your work history is interrupted by deployment, list the deployment just like any other job. It was work after all.
If it's a professional job, you need to include references, or at least state that references are available upon request. I really don't know why. At this point references from former employers are almost useless, but it's still expected. With that said, I've gotten multiple jobs without including references.
Spellcheck, spellcheck, spellcheck. Make sure you used the right word. Every their, there, and they're should be checked at least three times. You can eliminate one problem by using they are instead of they're. from/for, is/was, accept/except...
Proofread, proofread, proofread.
Find an old elementary school teacher (preferably retired) and give them $20 (if they want money) to proofread and criticize your resume. Even professional editors struggle to match the proofreading skills of old school teachers.
Don't make a wall of text. Don't go smaller than 10 point. Don't include unnecessary information. No colored fonts. No colored paper.
Do organize the resume into clearly defined sections. Do leave whitespace. Do make the format of the page standout. Use good thick paper (not card-stock). Use a laser printer.
If I'm applying for a specific job, I never fold my resume or cover letter. I use a full-size envelope and pay the extra postage. I don't know if it matters, but when I'm hiring, I like papers that lay flat on my desk when I'm trying to read them.
Thank you very much for the in depth overview. It really helped.