Ten Tips to a Better Résumé
Writing & More
If you insist on writing your own
résumé, in spite of our advice to have it done
professionally, here are ten tips to help you write a
résumé that works:
1] Think like an employer.
If you were receiving a stack of résumés for
the opening you'd like to apply for, what characteristics
would you want in an employee? These same characteristics
should be highlighted on your
2] Know your strengths and
weaknesses. Highlight the former, downplay the latter.
Find the way to express each accomplishment and job
description in the way that makes you look the
3] Resist the temptation to
copy someone else's résumé! You and your
friend or co-worker are not the same person. There may be
reasons why one item was stressed and another left out that
had nothing to do with you. A format that makes sense for
someone else may be a big mistake for you.
4] Use the format that fits
your own history and goals. If you've worked in three
positions for five years each and have no gaps, the
traditional chronological résumé is perfect
for you. If your work history is less straightforward, a
format that emphasizes skills or accomplishments may work
better. And if you're just out of school, your work
experience may be less important than the details of your
5] Is one résumé
enough? If you have multiple interests and careers, it
may make sense to do several versions, rather than trying to
cram it all into one unwieldy document.
6] Include the right
categories. Many résumés are better off
without an objective, for instance--but there are some
situations in which an objective is essential. If awards,
volunteer work, travel, or unusual interests help you appear
qualified for the job, you may need to include them. But if
your accomplishments at work are very strong, these extra
categories may deflect attention away from your greatest
7] Always tell the truth.
You may leave out information that hurts your chances, but
anything on your résumé should be true -- and
you should be able to document all or most of it. Even aside
from the ethical issues, this is simply good practical
advice: if a potential employer checks your information and
discovers a lie, do you think you're going to be offered a
job? And more and more companies do check. In fact, if
you're not sure of any figures, it's better to estimate too
low than too high.
8] Use an appropriate design.
Your résumé should look good on the page,
be easy to read, and bring the eye to the most important
points. Stay away from wedding invitation typefaces or hot
pink neon paper! And remember that as people age, they're
less willing to put up with tiny print. So get a sense of
the ages and abilities of the people most likely to read
9] Check it carefully. Run
the spelling checker. Inspect the grammar and syntax of
every sentence. Read the résumé aloud to make
sure you didn't miss a few words. And get some friends to
look it over too.
10] Have your
résumé reviewed by a professional! It's
very hard to be objective about your own
résumé. A professional résumé
writer can see very quickly if there are major problems or
omissions that you hadn't noticed. With his or her knowledge
of the job market and current résumé trends, a
few minutes' review by a professional could be the
difference between success and failure.
Please Note: We offer this
service at a cost of just $50 (up to two pages; additional pages, $25 each), and that fee is applicable
toward a full consultation. Click
here to begin your critique.
You'll get a blank e-message with the subject
"ResumeCritque". Include your resume as a Microsoft Word
file or RTF file, or fax it to
617-249-0153. Please include a credit card number and
For affordable, expert help writing your own résumés and cover letters, please click here.