Resume Writing Checklist

Preparation

  • ;Choose a quiet place with no distractions to assemble your resume.
  • Gather all of your previous employment information in one place at your desk for easy access.
  • Check all of your resume information to make sure it's still accurate. Business phone numbers and addresses, names of managers and company positions can all change over time.
  • Decide what you will and won't include in your resume. Jobs you held more than five years ago, or which don't fit the field you're currently applying for, shouldn't be included unless you have no other history.
  • Write it out by hand. This will give you an idea of what your resume will look like before you even open your word processor.
  • Look at other people's resumes to get a feeling for what yours should look like before choosing a style.

Writing

  • Select titles that make your resume pop. Saying you were in accounting might be true, but calling yourself an “A/P and A/R Manager” might be more effective.
  • Don't use flowery wording on your resume. Hiring managers want you to explain in as few characters as possible why you fit the job.
  • Words like “team player” and “self starter” might sound good to you on a resume, but consider if they're cliched. Tired or over-used keywords can lose you a job.
  • Lay out your personal contact information followed by education and then job experience.
  • Resumes need to have a formal writing style. Use full sentences and proper grammar, and though you can write in first person, make sure that your resume never becomes informal.
  • Select an appropriate text style like Times New Roman for your resume. While Boilerplate might look great for a hard-boiled detective novel, in reality it's more of an annoyance than a bonus to a potential boss.
  • Keep your resume to one page, or two pages if absolutely necessary. If you find yourself going over that limit, cut out material.
  • List personal awards or achievements, if they're applicable to the job, at the end of your resume.
  • If given the choice of writing a paragraph or making a list, make a list because it's easier for employers to read through quickly.
  • Make sure you catch all mistakes before handing it out to potential employers, who won't be forgiving of errors.

The job market is competitive in any economy, but especially during an economic downturn. If you want to stand apart from the crowd, you need a resume that shines. See our Resume Writing Checklist for the basic rules every job seeker should follow.

Tips

  • Your resume needs to fit the job you're applying for. Don't submit the same resume to every employer you come across unless it's for the same job in the same field.
  • Always include a personalized letter addressing the specific job and if possible the specific hiring manager or department that is receiving your resume.
  • Do not use colored paper or an unusual ink color. Black ink is the standard, and should be used.
  • Resume paper, which is thicker and more professional, may be used.
  • Save your resume in Microsoft Word Document or Rich Text Format. Others may not be readable, and your resume will never been seen if the employer can't read it.
  • Avoid negativity on any resume, no matter how honest that negativity may be.
  • Avoid obvious statements like “References Available Upon Request." These go without saying and shouldn't be included in your resume.
  • Use numbers whenever possible to describe your achievements. Percentages are impressive and they provide an accurate judge of your accomplishments in the past.
  • Do not include a photograph on your resume. If pictures are necessary, they should be part of a portfolio that is submitted with a resume.