A resume is intended to be a sales brochure, not an autobiography. Your resume should sell your ability to make an impact by clearly showing your past successes. It should be laid out in a fashion that allows an employer to see your past impact by “looking” at your resume.
People seldom read sales brochures; instead, they “look” at them. The same is true of an employer reviewing resumes. Therefore, your resume should be written in a fashion that allows an employer to see your past impact/accomplishments by “looking” at, or quickly reviewing, your resume.
Your resume should briefly describe what your product/service is and to what market it is targeted so that the employer has a context in which to consider your accomplishments.
1. Not only is your resume the first
thing an employer sees from you -- it is what the employer will use to decide
whether you move on to the next stage of the employment process. Make your first
2. Be concise. Limit yourself to
one printed page. A two-page resume is only acceptable when you have lots of experience
to emphasize -- and even then it may be too much for an employer to browse.
When you are finished writing your resume, give it to other people to proofread.
Typos and grammatical errors are inexcusable. Mistakes in your resume will cost
you the opportunity to advance in the employment process.
- Spelling Mistakes
- To avoid spelling mistakes:
- __ Don't
use words with which you aren't familiar.
- __ Perform a spell check on your finished
- __ Carefully read every word in your resume.
If you write "from" instead of "form," your spell check will
be unable to detect your mistake.
- __ Have a friend or
two proofread your resume for you.
- Punctuation Mistakes
- Things to
- __ Periods at the end of all full sentences.
- __ Be consistent in your use of punctuation.
Always put periods and commas within quotation marks. (i.e., Won awards including
the "John H. Malcom Memorial Service Award.")
Avoid using exclamation points.
- Grammar hang-ups to watch for:
Use appropriate tense within your resume. The duties you currently perform should
be in present tense (i.e., write reports), but ones you may have performed at
past jobs should be in past tense (i.e., wrote reports).
Capitalize all proper nouns.
- __ Make sure your date formats are consistent (i.e., 11/22/96 or November 26, 1996 or 11.22.96. Choose one and stick with it.).
Your Words Carefully
- Phrase yourself well:
- __ Be on the lookout for the following easily confused words:
accept (to receive), except (to exclude), all right (correct),
(this is not a word), affect (to bring about change), effect (result), personal
(private), personnel (staff members), role (a
assigned or a function), roll (to revolve).
- __ Use action
words (i.e. sold, grew, expanded).
- Other Potential Mistakes
forget to check:
- __ Dates of all prior employment.
- __ Your address and phone number -- are they still current
- __ The number of returns separating your
categories: are they consistent?
- __ Abbreviation of
state names. All state abbreviations are two letters -- no periods. For example,
New York is abbreviated NY, California is CA, and Florida is FL. Look up other
- Keep the following tips in mind:
- __ The most impactful materials should be located to the top or left hand margin where the eye is most apt to go.
- __ Don't overcrowd your resume; allow for plenty of white space.
- __ Use symbols and numbers instead of words wherever possible.
- __ Keep your resume to one page whenever possible.
Keep the number of fonts you use to a minimum -- two at the most.
Use a font that is easy to read. Times Roman works well.
Do not justify the lines of type on your resume. Allow the right side of the page
- __ Do not overuse capitalization,
italics, underlines, or other emphasizing features.
Make sure your name, address, phone number (preferrably a cell phone) and email address appear on your resume and all
correspondence, preferably at the top of the page.
Print on one side of the paper only.
- __ Put your education below the professional experience section.
- Do not put any of the following on your
- __ Salary history.
Sex, age, race, marital status, or other similar personal information.