Resume Writing 101

Posted on 18. Jul, 2014 by

As you can imagine, I see resumes all day, every day. I get tons of questions regarding how to write a resume. “What do you think of my resume?” “Does anything stick out on my resume?” “Are there any red flags on my resume?” And on and on and on…

Here’s my quick advice – follow this and you can’t go wrong.

Clean and concise. Resumes should not be a piece of artwork (unless, perhaps – you are applying for an artistic position), nor should anyone have to work to find information on who you are, what you do, and how you do it. Be clear. And please, please, please – do not add squiggly lines or fancy font or different colored font. It’s a distraction. It does not make you stand out, I assure you. We just get annoyed.

Objectives. Objectives, in my humble are opinion, are a bit outdated. I am a hard-working, multi-tasking, organized, detail-oriented, over-achieving professional eager to help you build your empire, all the while growing my career and professional fulfillment. Um, what? No you’re not. While we’re on this topic, don’t do this – providing actual examples, fine – but don’t give me a string of nonsense key words you think we want to hear.

Professional summary. Yes, please. A brief professional summary at the top of your resume helps me get to know you quickly.

Professional experience. Again, bullet, bullet, bullet. I don’t want to see one long and winding paragraph under each company and/or role you held. Don’t make me search to match your experience against the job.

Two pages. It’s true, we really don’t want and/or need more than two pages for most of you. If you are being considered for the CFO position at Comcast, perhaps this isn’t true. However; for the vast majority of you – trust me, it’s true. I recently had a recruiter with 5 years of experience send me a 6 page resume. C’mon dude – you need more than a page for each year you’ve been in the working world? No, you don’t. Neither do you – find a way. Two pages please.

Education. I don’t care what high school you graduated from or if you were on the honor role at said high school. Let’s just assume that you did well in high school or you were like me, and did whatever you needed to do to stay on the tennis team and not be grounded every weekend. Whatever – don’t list your high school. College. OK, college – list the degree you obtained along with the year. And honestly, even if the year was 1945. I’m going to find out any way. When you show up in my office – I’m going to see you. If I need someone who truly has only 5 years of experience and you deceive me on your resume and then show up and you have 55 years of experience – I’m going to realize that – and it’s potentially going to be annoying.

References available upon request. You can go ahead and remove that from your resume. Let’s just assume that you have references and let’s just assume that you won’t withhold them from me if I request them.

We do have sample resumes on our website – check them out here. Feel free to use the sample resume as a template. Let’s not try to reinvent the wheel. Good luck!