The Art of Resume Writing
Your resume is typically a hiring manager’s first impression of you. Your goal is to present yourself through an edited, perfectly crafted document as someone polished, professional, and well-aligned with and qualified for the position you’re seeking.
- Include your personal information: your name, email address, and phone number, so that you can be easily contacted.
- Include where you went to school, your degree, and any additional certifications.
- Do NOT include a picture. Let your resume speak for itself!
- Keep your resume to one page. Going beyond one page is only appropriate for senior level resumes.
- Do not use unusual colors and fonts - instead, pick something that will be easy to read, such as Arial, Calibri, Garamond, or Georgia. A bold color, unusual font or layout may be appropriate if you're applying for a design or creative job, but not for a corporate position.
- Always format in chronological order, and establish a clear visual hierarchy (e.g. bold and/or underline and/or capitalize headings, bullet supporting points, include month/year of start and end of position). On average, hiring managers spend 6 seconds reviewing a resume before they've made a decision - make your credentials evident at a glance.
- Use the same font throughout, have clean margins, and ensure that the text is aligned. Proper formatting is key to a professional presentation.
- Be consistent in your punctuation (e.g. every bullet point ends in a period OR every bullet point does not end in a period).
- Use consistent tenses - present tense for your current job, past tense for previous jobs.
- Your resume is not your comprehensive career history. Use concise bullet points that highlight or summarize your job function.
- For sales resumes, start with "sold what, to whom" (e.g. Sold metal fasteners to Purchasing Managers of Fortune 500 industrial companies in the Northeast). Specific descriptions allow the hiring manager to easily understand your role and areas of expertise.
- Include a brief description of the company (e.g. Account Manager, CFW Careers, CFW Careers is a career resource, providing placement services with a coaching approach, and specializing in B2B sales). This is especially important if your company isn't a household name.
- Include specific, quantitative achievements. No more than 4-5 of the most significant and relevant accomplishments.
- Emphasize your actions with strong verbs - sold, led, generated, drove, impacted, created.
- Don't include hobbies or entrepreneurial ventures (specifically, those on the side), as they can confuse chronology. (Exceptions to this rule can be ventures which demonstrate skills that are aligned with your career.)
- For an entry-level position, it is okay to include some volunteer experience - but don't let it be the main focus of the resume. For all others, listing some volunteer experience can be appropriate if it is significant.
- It is inappropriate to include religious affiliations on a professional resume, unless specifically referring to a position of employment or leadership.
- Including recommendations as an attachment to your resume is usually not appropriate unless requested.
Every person - and therefore, every resume - is unique. If you have a unique situation, circumstance, or consideration that isn't covered by the tips above, we at Careers are here to help you address it in your resume, and find the best way to convey your background.
Once you think you've crafted the perfect resume to highlight your background and skills, proofread it. Then proofread it AGAIN. And, all the better, have one or two others proofread it for you. There's nothing worse than being passed over for a job because of a spelling or grammatical mistake!
If you have any questions, please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org