Resume Writing Tips

1. Choose an Appropriate Resume Format

The chronological format is the most commonly used. The majority of hiring managers prefer this format because it allows them to see the career progression and impact you made at each position. Unless there are extenuating circumstances, such as if you have very limited work experience or an excessive number of job changes, choose either the chronological or combination format over the functional format.

A chronological resume shows your work experience in reverse chronological order (most recent experience at the top of the page). This format also describes your responsibilities, accomplishments, qualifications, and strengths.

A functional resume is organized around your responsibilities, qualifications, and skills rather than around the various jobs you have had.

A combination resume allows you to highlight your skills and qualifications, while also providing a clear picture of your work history. The structure for a combination resume is:

  • Header (name and contact information).
  • Profile section that details the scope of your experience and areas of proficiency.
  • Employment history in reverse chronological order. Emphasize your achievements over the past 10 to 15 years.
  • Education (new grads may include this before employment history).

2. Write Your Resume

Resumes are a form of business communication that have their own grammatical rules.

  • Do not use “I”.
  • Use short, concise sentences.
  • Do not use jargon, and use abbreviations sparingly.
  • Include keywords from the description of the job you are applying for.

3. Keep it Simple

Although it is important for your resume to stand out, you do not want the layout and stationery to be distracting and unprofessional.

  • Choose a standard font like Times New Roman or Arial.
  • Use a standard word processing program like MS Word.
  • Use bullet points to make your resume easier to read.
  • When choosing resume paper, stick to light colored neutrals.
  • Resumes should be 1 page, 2 at the most. 2 page resumes are more acceptable if you are a management level candidate.
  • Use a conventional e-mail address (e.g. yourname@yahoo.com).

4. Do Not List Irrelevant Information

  • Hobbies and personal interests may be included, but only if they are relevant to the job you are looking for.
  • Personal information including date of birth, marital status, height, and weight should not be included on your resume.
  • Do not include a picture of yourself.

5. Do Not Lie About Your Experience

Even though a “little lie” might get you the job, if your new employer finds out, that can be cause for termination.

6. Proof Read Your Resume

  • Even one typo is enough to eliminate you from consideration.
  • Spell check does not catch everything, so do not rely completely on it.
  • Although you might have excellent writing skills, it is easy to miss your own mistakes because you know what you intended to write. Having another person review your resume is a good idea.