5 Vital Tips for Writing Your Resume

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Your resume: a short, simple document that must say so much if you want to get that job. It’s more than just words on a page; it’s the first glimpse potential employers have of you, which means you have only one chance to get it right. But how do you know if you “got it right”? If you want your resume to stand out against the competition, here are 5 vital tips for writing your resume:

  1. Detailed content: First and foremost, tell your story about your experience and background with relevant details. For example, simply saying that you managed employees isn’t enough; you need to indicate the positive contribution of managing those employees. This lets potential employers know not only what you did in previous jobs, but also a benefit of hiring you.
  2. Engaging words: To get people to pay attention to your story, make it interesting. For example, which sounds more interesting: saying that you called clients about accounts, or saying that you communicated with clients about the status of accounts to improve returns and increase income? Use words that have power instead of easy and commonplace terms. Use a thesaurus for ideas, but don’t get too flowery either. Too much of a good thing is too much.
  3. Accuracy: All details you include in your resume must be true. If an employer wants to verify any aspect, you should be able to back it up. So if you didn’t get that university degree, you can still mention courses that you completed successfully, but you cannot say that you earned the degree. If you trained employees, then you cannot say that you managed them. Have references whenever possible. You want to show an employer that you are trustworthy.
  4. Consistency: The devil is in the details, or lack thereof. Once you have the text in place, review it for consistency. For example, if you end your bullets with a period, then end all bullets with a period. Make sure text is aligned the same way throughout. Are your fonts the same? Are your headings the same size? Even when your story is engaging, inconsistency in any aspect displays sloppiness or inattention to detail. And this can make the difference against your competition.
  5. Appearance: Do you judge a book by its cover? When you’re sifting through tens or even hundreds of resumes, you sure do. So, you want your resume to be attractive, clean, and professional to the eye, but not necessarily “creatively interesting.” For example, make sure you have enough white space; otherwise your resume can look too crammed. Use common fonts. Don’t try anything unique as this distracts from your text. Get second opinions, and get your own opinion too – would you take a second look at your resume?

Your resume is the first look that employers get in learning about who you are. Take your time and polish it so that it appears as professional and interesting as you are. Following these 5 vital tips for writing your resume will help you get to the interview stage, and possibly even to landing that job. Good luck!

About Erica L. Fener

Erica L. Fener, Ph.D., is Vice President, Business Development Strategy and Analysis at Progressus Therapy, a leading provider of school-based therapy and early intervention services.

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