17 Basic Resume Writing Tips to Get You Started

  1. The overall appearance of your resume must make the employer want to read it. Presentation is everything.
  2. Your resume layout must be concise, professional in appearance, and eye-catching.
  3. Information must be organized for easy reading. When the recipient first glances at it, key skills and accomplishments must be easily seen. Remember, five to twenty seconds of attention is all your resume gets when it is first screened.
  4. Does the quality of the print look impressive? Don’t mix fonts. Highlight and capitalize relevant job titles.
  5. Quality paper is a must. Avoid colored paper as most recruiters prefer white, ivory, or beige. If you are faxing the resume, use only white paper.
  6. There must be no typos or grammatical errors. Remember, this is an indication of your best work.
  7. Your writing style must be clear and concise. Do not use inappropriate jargon or slang.
  8. Statements should begin with action verbs; they should communicate results, accomplishments, and the value you can offer a company.
  9. Verb tenses must remain consistent. Sentences must be parallel.
  10. If including a career objective, make sure it is clear and well-written. Your resume should focus on this objective if you want it to accomplish its purpose, and that purpose is to obtain an interview.
  11. Are your strengths relevant to the objective, and do they stand out? The reader must know that your qualifications are what the company is seeking.
  12. Stress accomplishments and skills, rather than responsibilities and job duties.
  13. Communicate you are a trouble shooter and can solve the company’s problems. Include examples and quotes from previous supervisors; this increases your credibility.
  14. Include community, volunteer, or unpaid work experiences that might be relevant to the position you are seeking.
  15. Keep your resume to one page if possible; however, it is imperative not to leave out relevant points. Note that it is extremely common for job seekers with less than seven years of experience to have a resume of only one page. Experience spanning more than seven years will more than likely require two pages.
  16. Keywords and industry buzzwords are a must. Use this terminology in your resume to ensure that it gets put in the “Yes” pile.
  17. When you are sending your marketing documents by email, send both an ASCII text version (fix the formatting after the conversion) and an MS Word version to ensure that your documents are read. Many companies don’t open attachments because of software incompatibility or fear of viruses.
  18. Please remember that these are only basic tips. For further help with your resume, contact Candace, owner of Cando Career Coaching and Resume Writing.
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Candace Alstad-Davies
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