How to Write a Resume That Works

Over the years we have read tens of thousands of resumes if not hundreds of thousands. Here are some suggestions that you can take into consideration when writing or updating your resume.

1. A resume is a marketing tool used to help you get an interview.
It is not a catalog of everything that you have ever done in your career.

2. List achievements, not job duties.

After you write a bullet point on your resume, ask yourself why it matters and what makes it interesting. If you cannot tie to a quantifiable result, then tie to a qualitative or intangible result that is meaningful. The objective of each bullet should be to prove that you did your job well, not just that you did your job. If you cannot link it to an achievement then delete it.  If it is not as relevant to the job you want then think of better accomplishments that will be more compelling.

3. Make sure that your resume communicates at the right level.

Speak to the person who would be your boss and consider what keeps them up at night. Consider the scope of your roles and include details on staff size, budget and reporting relationships.

4. Consider the length of your resume.

Most experts will tell you that you should keep your resume length to one page. We think that it is okay to have 2 pages if you have more than 10 years of work experience.

5. Using too many adjectives will diminish your accomplishments and could make your resume seem less believable.

6. Always tailor your resume for each job and company to improve the fit between your achievements and the position requirements.

7. Adding in endorsements or quotes from key people that you have worked with can be helpful and useful in building interest

8. Use an economy of words.

Cut to the chase and be efficient with your communication trying to pack in as much detail as you can in the shortest sentences possible.

9. Do not try to be innovative by veering from the standard reverse chronological resume format.

List your most recent job first. The objective is to get your target audience to quickly consume as much as they can about you. The trained eye will be confused if the information is not where it should be. It’s like reading a newspaper with the headlines at the bottom of the article. You want them to be at the top because that is just how it is done. If you have had 6 jobs in the past 5 years or are trying to switch industries use a “functional skills resume” format

10. Include months in the dates.
It is important  for the reader to know if you were at the company 6 months or 23 months.

11. Eliminate widows.

Widows are lines with only one word. You do not want to use up a whole line for one word.

12. No spelling errors!

Not even one.

13. It is implied that references are available upon request, so there is no need to say it.

Just have them ready if someone should ask for them.

14. Personal interests are only helpful to list if it related to the job or if it helps you stand out as an achiever.

For example, if you are applying for a brand marketing position at an athletic apparel and footwear company, then it may be helpful to let them know that you are a marathon runner.

15. Do not put “married, 2 kids”

While you may think it is helpful to show that you are family oriented, it is not necessary or helpful in achieving the goal of your resume.