Resume Writing Tips

Reasons you should make your resume yourself:

  • You know yourself better than anyone else does.
  • Employment officers can tell when a resume is written by a professional.
  • If you write your own resume, you will be likely to adat it to different sittuation. 

Top 3 Resume Content Basics:

  1. The resume must be honest
  2. The resume must be completely free of error
  3. The resume must provide clear, specific information, without generalizations or self-congratulation.

Step 1: Brainstorm, Compile, and Organize.

Employment trends indicate wokers will change careers - not just jobs - several times in a lifetime.  For this reason it is important to know that resume writing is a skill you will use throughout your life.
Before beginning your resume, put together an “Accomplished History” list, including your most significant achievements from work, hobbies, volunteer projects, school, extracurricula activities, travel, and other life experiences.

Write everything down and do not limit yourself.

‘Power Words” from the list we provided might help you remember things you have done and give you ideas for new ways to describe your achievements.  Friends or family familiar with your work and work style can be good sources of assistance as well.

Gather documents related to your experiences, e.g., performance reviews, letters of appreciation, job desscriptions, documents, or presentations you wrote or prepared, etc. This can be helpful now with your brainstorming and later to review, check, and confirm details.  Categories to generate ideas and organize your information include:

  • Personal Achievements (financing you education, overcoming obsticles)
  • Education (universities attended, classes related to your career goal, certifications, special training)
  • Activities and Honors (student organizations, professional associations, scholarships, academic achievements, sororities or fraternities, and the positions held)
  • Volunteer Experience (church, civic groups, tutoring)
  • Experience (paid/unpaid, part/full-time, internships, military)
  • Important Career-Related Skills (computer proficiency, foreign languages, problem solving, critical thinking, communication abilities, sales abilities)
  • Hobbies (planning trips, managing personal investments)

Add accomplishments to your “Profile content” as things happen throughout your life, so when you need to access your resume you have all of your information available to you on your profile when you sign in.  This is a very simple and invaluable way to keep track of everything you may need in the future.

Step 2: Identify the information you will use.

First identify the employers needs, then identify the information you will use to market yourself.  Grade, select, and reject your information until you have identified what you feel best represents your background relative to the position requirements.  When you have figured out what content you want to be on your resume “hide” all the other content to keep them from being shown on your resume.

Applicability, brevity, and clarity are crucial. Create the impression that while the document is good, the best is yet to come - in an interview!  Don't worry if your resume does not tell EVERYTHING about you.  You want to find a balance between thoroughness and brevity.


  • Resumes do not get jobs, they get interviews.
  • Resumes alert potential employers that you are seeking a position in your organization.
  • Resumes should convey your unique skills and abilities as they relate to the position for which you are applying.
  • Resumes should not include every detail about you.  They should highlight the specifics that make you the best candidate for the position you seek.
  • Human resource professionals know the best predictor of the future performance is past performance.  In your resume, highlight the results of your work activities.

Step 3: Write Your Content

There are many different ways to write a resume and lots of different opinions about what is good vs. bad.  Your opinion is important, too, so be sure to create a resume that reflects who you are while also targeting the employers needs.  We recommend you write your own resume.  Doing this will:

  • Create self-awareness of your qualifications and the best way to present them to employers.  Having these facts in mind creates sef-assurance and builds confidence for the interview.
  • Provide the opportunity to recognize some of your weaknesses.  Of course, you will not include these in the resume.  However, once weaknesses are identified, you can make plans for growth.

Pass the 15-second glance test.  Employers see hundreds of resumes and they skim first.  If the first test is passed, they may look at your resume more thoroughly.  We highly suggest putting the most impressive information that is most relevant to your employer at the top of your resume.  This is your resume however, and you need to write it so it best represents you and your style.

When choosing a template we suggest choosing one that highlights your goals and achievements. 

Resume Format Choices:

As for formatting information and sections of your resume there are two ways to accomplish this, chronological, and analytical.  In a chronological resume, you use time as the organizing factor for each section, including education and experience.  In the analytical resume, you include a section called skills, which is organized according to your talents and achievements.

Reverse Chronological Resume - the traditional resume style lists professional experience chronologically, starting with the most recent position and working backward.  Most resumes are written in this format and employers are accustomed to seeing chronological resumes.

Reverse chronological resumes are particularly effective in the following cases:

  • You have experience in the field of interest
  • You can demonstrate measurable results from work activities (e.g., “Marketed events, resulting in 50% increase in attendance”).
  • You have held impressive job titles, and/or have worked for big-name employers.
  • You can demonstrate promotions and increased responsibilities.

Functional Resume - summarizes your professional “funtions” or experience and minimizes employment history. Functional resumes are often useful for:

  • Older workers and those returning to the workforce, since it minimizes dates.
  • Career changers, since it outlines transferable work skills.
  • Emphasizing knowledge and skills that have not een used in recent work.

Resume templates:

People generally rule out using a resume template but ReadyRez is the exception.  ReadyRez has taken the time and figured out exactly what employers look for when writing a resume so you don't have to.  Our extensive research brings you a continuously growing selection of templates. 

Be confident that our resume templates will get the job for you.

In case you want to be even more different from others you can download every resume template in Microsoft Word, and then continue tweaking your content and style.

Resume Organization

Choose headings and organize them to best represent your personal information.  There is no perfect way to organize a resume but we suggest you should always contain contact information, education information, and a section outlining your experience.

Suggested Content Headings:

Specialized Training
Employment History
Work Authorization
International Experience
Volunteer Experience
Additional Information

Information for your resume.

Identity and contact information should quickly and efficiently communicate who you are and how to contact you. Include your name, phone number, address, and e-mail address.  If you use your cell phone as your contact phone number be prepared to take phone calls from potential employers at all times.  Only use a work number if it is appropriate for you to receive calls at work.

Your e-mail address should be professional.  Do not put as your contact e-mail address.

A heading is not required for this information although most of our templates do have them included in a heading because it is recommended. 

Objective Tips:

An objective should convey useful information.  It is preferable to omit the objective rather than include something fluffy or vague.

  • When included, objective statements should tell an employer about the next step on your career path, not your life goals.
  • A well crafted objective indicates that you are clear about opportunities available with an employer and that you are clear about the position you are seeking.

Examples of objectives:

  • To obtain an entry-level sales position in the consumer products industry.
  • Seeking a summer internship in investment banking with XYZ company.
  • To obtain a full-time, entry-level position in accounting.
  • Seeking a position as a chemical engineer in the pharmaceutical industry.

Customize the resume for each position or industry.  The days of creating one resume and duplicating it 50 times are over.  Employers expect applicants to customize their resumes for each position.  You should expect to have multiple versions of your resume with structure and content supporting the employment objective.

You do not need an objective when posting a resume to an electronic job board or when handing it out at a career fair.  Objectives work best when they are written for a specific job or career.

Education Tips:

Education sections should communicate that you have the necessary educational credentials to do the job.  This section can include your credit-based higher education degrees and certificates as well as noncredit learning.  Your information should include degree, major, graduation year, university name, and minor, concentration, or emphasis. List your most recent degree first.  You don't need to list every college or university if there are multiple to choose from.  Once you are in college, you do not need to list a high school education, unless you have good reason to do so.

Including academic awards or scholarships can show academic breadth and intellectual accomplishment.  Sometimes it may be beneficial to include your grade point average (3.0 or higher is a good limit), class rank, and/or relevant courses.

If applicable, it can be a good idea to include a statement about your contribution toward financing your education - for example: “Financed 75% of college education through scholarships and employment.”

Do not be afraid to combine headings by using the “other” content option in your content profile.  Information about your education can be combined with other headings like “Education and Honors.”

Experience Tips:

The “work experience” section should communicate what you accomplished in past paid or unpaid work experiences.  Include the position title, employer/organization name, location, and dates you were a part of the organization.  Describe your experience in a result-oriented fashion because employers know the best predictor of the future performance is past performance.  A commen error of resume writers is to describe work duties and responsibilities rather than activities and experiences in an accomplishment-oriented fashion, highlighting transferable skills and abilities.

Qualifications Tips:

Typically used by job seekers with more professional experience.  This summary should focus on the big picture and help the employer understand how your experiences fit together.  Summaries of information briefly communicates your experience, training and personal abilities as they relate to the specific job you seek.  Information of this type may be included in a cover letter, eliminating the need to include it in the resume.  Details of your experiences belong in other sections of the resume.


  • Strong educational background in communications and marketing.
  • A transcultural individual who is comfortable with people and settings around the world.
  • Skilled at bringing diverse people together to persue a common goal.
  • Willing to relocate abroad.

Skills Tips:

Skills sections are included to highlight particular abilities.  Frequently, technical skills and language abilities are found in this section.

Activities/Interests/Affiliations Tips:

Activities/Interests/Affiliations might be included to:

  • Demonstrate a well-rounded person with more dimensions than just work.
  • Point out skills that have been demonstrated in your nonprofessional life.
  • Account for gaps in employment.
  • Start conversations (possibly the employer shares or is intrigued by your interest).

You may combine these headings.  When you choose to include activities and interests, be aware of “hot buttons.”  A hot button is an activity or interest to which some employers may have a strong positive or negative reaction, such as religious or political affiliations.  When you have an activity or interest that is a “hot button,” you have three options.  Make an informed and reflective choice.

Options include:

  • Include this information on your resume.  Many applicants feel the employer should know who they are, inside and outside of the workplace, and they may not want to work for an employer who can not accept them as a whole individual.
  • Omit this information.  You may want the opportunity to present yourself as a candidate rather than be prematurely discounted due to the employers bias.
  • Disguise these activities/interests by presenting them in a generic format (e.g., “member of a choir” without specifying religion or denomination).

Interests are unstructured individual pursuits.  Examples would be reading, cross country skiing, etc.  When listing activities, indicate the name of the organization, your role (e.g., volunteer, office held), and years of participation.  For example:

Volunteer Coach, Lawrence Little League, 1992-1995.

Step 4: Proofread, proofread, proofread!

Be prepared to edit your resume content multiple times.

Many human resource directors see the resume as a reflection of the applicant.  Spelling errors, poor grammar, smudges on a printed resume, wordiness, vagueness, etc., will produce a negative impression.  Employers may think, “Is the applicant careless, sloppy, unprofessional?”  Eliminate errors in spelling, punctuation, and typing.

For the finished paper resume, use good quality paper (at least 20% cotton bond):  white, ivory, or a very pale gray.  Avoid patterns that would give a “dirty” appearance when copied.

Step 5: Have at least two other people critique your resume.

Contact your career services office and make an appointment to have a professional career advisor look over your resume.

  • Ask your references to take a look and give feedback.
  • Ask a family member, friend, or roommate to look over the resume.  They are often great at catching typing errors.

Consider keeping your resume in several formats:

  • Always have a printed copy of your resume.
  • With ReadyRez you can always have a digital version of your resume with your “custom URL” available at all times.

Step 6: Online Resumes

Before posting your resume on the internet, consider whether you want your resume public.  There are security issues inherent in posting personal contact information on-line.  Check the confidentiality database or service where you are posting your resume.  Never use your Social Security Number because it makes you vulnerable to identity theft.

On your ReadyRez profile you have the ability to “lock” your custom URL so nobody but you will be able to view it.

There are ways to control the information you make available on-line:

  • Consider creating a free Google e-mail account at Use this only for job search purposes, with the possibility that you will stop using the e-mail account once employment has been secured.  REMEMBER: Keep your e-mail address professional. (e.g.,,
  • Consider renting a P.O. box or a private mail box from a mail receiving agency to use during job search.  This will eliminate the need to use a street address as your mailing address in the information posted on the web.
  • Determine whether or not your resume will be deleted after a specified amount of time.  This will prevent you from having your resume permanently online if you forget to remove it.

With all of that said, we HIGHLY recommend using internet resume posting services.  Because you didn't spend any money making your resume we suggest you put that savings towards these services for the best job opportunities. 

Resume job posting websites that we recommend:


Checklist for proofreading your resume:

  • Is the resume pleasing to the eye?
  • Does it fit comfortably within the page (as opposed to too crowded or too empty)?
  • Is the resume on cotton bond paper?
  • Is the print clear, un-smudged, and large enough to read - does it pass a photocopy test?
  • Does the template have too much bold, italic, or underlining?
  • Does the content support your objective?
  • Could you tell the same story with fewer words?
  • Is it too short, does it look as though you struggled to fill a page?
  • Has extraneous material been eliminated?
  • Does the format present your qualifications in the most effective manner?
  • Is all important information included?
  • Does the resume market your abilities and paint a clear picture that makes an employer want to know more about you?

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