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52 Resume Writing Tips

  1. Like diamond quality, resumes have four C’s. Be consistent with your formatting, style, and wording. You want to present an integrated image of yourself as an organized person.
  2. Be concise, since employers do not want to read a novel about you.
  3. Clarity counts for resumes, as well as diamonds. Be sure your resume is readable and makes perfect sense, even at a glance.
  4. Employers also need a complete resume, in order to appropriately evaluate you.

  5. Formatting

  6. Ensure that you use plain formatting in your resume to accent and highlight important parts, but do not distract from the content.
  7. Standard fonts should be used for the same reason. Stick with fonts such as Arial, Times New Roman, etc…
  8. Use a minimum number of font sizes throughout your resume. Most sources suggest using no more than 2 or 3 different sizes of the same font.
  9. No matter what font or sizes you pick, be sure nothing is too small or too large. The key in resumes is moderation, especially for formatting.
  10. Unless you are in an artistic field, do not use pictures or clip-art on your resume. Once again, this is distracting.
  11. To keep your resume from being monotonous, break up paragraphs with bullets. This also makes for quicker and easier reading.
  12. Just be sure your bullets are plain. Do not use anything like Wing Dings. Also, limit yourself to one or two types of bullets throughout.
  13. Do not fill every spot on your page with text. By using space effectively you can give your reader’s eye a break and draw attention to certain sections.
  14. Whether you use hyphens or dashes, be sure to remain consistent. Do not use a hyphen to separate one date range, then shift to a dash for the next one.
  15. Facilitate quick reading by aligning your dates and position titles in a column.
  16. Find out if your industry has an expected length for resumes, and stick with it. For example, legal resumes are widely accepted to be only one page.
  17. If your industry allows (or even encourages) more than one page resumes, be sure to use effective page headers for subsequent pages. Remind your reader who he is reading about, and also make sure pages 2+ do not get irretrievably separated from page 1.

  18. Writing

  19. Emphasize your strengths with powerful action words. Don’t be a writing wimp.
  20. Make your words jump from the page with active voice. In other words, stray from “passive” words, such as: is, was, am, do, did, etc…
  21. Tailor your resume to the specific employer to whom you are applying.
  22. Likewise, tailor it to the position you seek.
  23. As part of your tailoring process, find out the industry key words and use them in your text.
  24. Be careful with abbreviations; in fact, you should not use them if at all possible.
  25. It should go without saying that you use perfect grammar in your resume. For a little help on grammar, check out Strunk & White’s Elements of Style.
  26. Aim your resume carefully by tailoring it to your employer.
  27. Make your point even stronger by tailoring to the position for which you are applying.
  28. Provide clear guidance for your reader with clear section headings.
  29. When writing descriptions of jobs and activities, keep them short to minimize reading time.
  30. Be consistent when typing out dates. For instance, always abbreviate in the same way or never abbreviate.
  31. Use the proper names for all companies you have worked for, positions you have held, and schools you attended.

  32. Content

  33. Include a phone number that has a professional voice mail greeting.
  34. Likewise, ensure that your email address is professional (not cooldude@server.com) and that your signature (if any) is professional.
  35. Type your name on your resume like you want it to appear professionally. If you do not want your middle name used, leave it off or just include your initial.
  36. Do not include references on your resume, but offer them during your application process or interview.
  37. List any languages that you speak, even if they do not directly pertain to the job description.
  38. If you have special skills (such as computer or technical abilities), include them if applicable to the position or company.
  39. Include any major publications you have authored, such as a magazine or journal article.
  40. Many career counselors debate whether or not to include an “objective” section. Here is a good article that sums up a lot of the debate. Find out the standard in your industry, and follow it.
  41. Include old jobs on your resume (even if not directly applicable to the position), but feel free to shorten their descriptions.
  42. List all education you have had, and explain how it will help you in the target position.
  43. Activities listed on your resume should reflect positive job qualities in some way. If they don’t, cut them.
  44. Leave no time gaps, since this will make employers wonder what you did during that time.
  45. Tell the truth! Check out the top resume lies, and don’t do it.

  46. Revising

  47. Spell check to catch any glaring errors.
  48. Proofread your resume several times, during several different sittings, on several different days.
  49. Get feedback on grammar and content from a friend, family member, or colleague.
  50. Closely tied to feedback, you should find an editor that will work with you during the writing and revising process. You need a sounding board for wording and another pair of eyes for proofreading.

  51. Presentation

  52. Print your resume on professional resume paper. You can find this at your local office store. Unless you are in an art field, stick to white, off-white, or ivory. Go for paper around 24 lb in weight.
  53. Be sure your printer will produce a quality printout. If your printer is not up to speed, use a friend’s or go to a local print shop.
  54. When you buy your paper, don’t forget matching envelopes. You will need to mail some resumes and cover letters, so you want everything to coordinate.
  55. If you are submitting documents electronically, send them as PDF files. This prevents formatting changes on different computers. Here is a free PDF creation program (print anything to a PDF file)

  56. Final Thoughts

  57. Keep your resume updated, so you can send it out at a moment’s notice. Also, by updating it every 6 months or so, you will not forget important accomplishments that should be added.
  58. Finally, hone your resume further with these helpful links: here, here, and here.

[tags]legal andrew, resume, career, job[/tags]

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39 Responses to “52 Resume Writing Tips”

  1. Tel
    October 20th, 2006

    Terrific Tips Andrew.

    Thanks for leading me to your site. Saw your post in mine. I bet you have resume samples.

    At day’s end, it’s really landing the job, and tailoring the resume after the company one is applying for. So, with a honed resume, a jobseeker has prepared, a tweaking here and there, to suit the prospective employer’s needs.

    Want me to post your article in my site? Let me know. With complete acknowledgment of course.


  2. Andrew F
    October 21st, 2006

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting. I’m glad the tips spoke to you. You definitely summed them up nicely in your comment.

  3. [...] 52 Resume Writing Tips [...]

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  5. Sam Sys
    December 17th, 2006

    Nice looking article, enjoyed reading it!


  6. Andrew Flusche
    December 17th, 2006


    I’m glad you liked the article. Thanks for commenting!

    I like what you’re doing over at The Professional Life. I’m looking forward to reading more of your work.


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  10. resume
    May 19th, 2008

    Some really good tips I would say. Thank you.

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  14. Sample Resumes
    October 3rd, 2008

    Great resume tips… i think everyone should try to implement it in their resumes.

  15. [...] knock (or when you’ll be kicked to the curb), you should always have a resume ready. Here are my 52 resume tips, and Daily Writing Tips has 44 tips of their [...]

  16. Robert
    November 24th, 2008

    Amazing article.

    All i could think for resumes is here. I liked the most told resume lies article.


  17. resume samples
    November 25th, 2008

    really good tips to write an impresive resume, thanks for your article.

  18. Sample Resumes
    December 15th, 2008

    Thanks for those resume writing tips..those were really excellent..

  19. Swati Agrawal
    December 28th, 2008

    A great site. good information about resume creation.

  20. Priya
    January 13th, 2009

    this is the best resume resource I found online.
    I am loving this site.

  21. Vats
    January 13th, 2009

    The best resume site. It is very useful for novices.

  22. Priya
    January 14th, 2009

    This is great site.

  23. Sample cover letters
    February 9th, 2009

    Thanks Andrew.
    Those tips were really worth reading.
    I will mention about this post in my blog.

  24. Moiz
    February 9th, 2009

    Great site. Very useful.

  25. Niks
    February 15th, 2009

    Really nice post ..!
    It Helps a lot

  26. resume format
    April 6th, 2009

    Nice resume tips, keep it up.

  27. Imtiaz Hami
    April 11th, 2009

    Great resource site for writing resumes. Keep up the good work. Your tips were really very helpful.

  28. Engineer Resume
    May 11th, 2009

    Excellent written resume tips. I must say that those were very well written and will help candidates a lot.

  29. Resume Objective
    July 2nd, 2009

    Excellent tips. Though am surprised about #53. Typically I see article topics as 50 tips or 100 tips or even 101 tips, why exactly you have selected 52 tips??

  30. Wedding Guru
    July 3rd, 2009

    Some posts are really informative and helps, this is one of them, thanks

  31. Indian art
    July 16th, 2009

    Thanks for sharing and making it simple :-)

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  33. Resume
    August 6th, 2009

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  34. ed hardy
    September 26th, 2009

    so great.
    The best resume site. It is very useful for novices.

  35. Agriculture Solutions
    October 3rd, 2009

    Wish some one gives more resume writing tips for agriculture as well.

  36. Rica | How to Make a Resume
    October 12th, 2009

    A Resume should look good first…it should be organized, well presented, systematically written in order to attract recruiters. Hence these 52 points on basic technicalities of Resume are really helpful.

  37. Rachel | Resume Builder
    October 12th, 2009

    I truly agree with the above mentioned comments. The recruiters prefer to read through the document drafted in a simple format to locate key skills immediately, the language and the format should be lucid, easy and comprehensible to the recruiters.

  38. Lady Love
    October 14th, 2009

    Long time sought a detailed guide to Writing Tips rules. Thank you great!

  39. model resumes
    October 20th, 2009

    Awesome! Some really helpful information in there. Bookmarked. Excellent source.

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