10 Tips For Writing A Winning Resume
By: Shaun Fawcett
Your resume (or curriculum vitae), combined with the cover
letter, are the master keys to opening the prospective
employer's mind and door so that you can proceed to the
next step in the process - the big interview!
RESUME WRITING TIPS AND STRATEGIES
Here are 10 valuable tips for anyone writing their own
resume, or who is having someone else write one for them.
These tips and strategies are an abridged version of what
is contained in my new eBook, "Instant Home Writing Kit".
1. Keep It Focused and Businesslike
A resume should be specific and all business. Don't try to
be too smart or too cute. After all, you are asking an
employer to invest significant time and money by choosing
you over many other similarly qualified people. Employers
mainly want to know whether you are appropriately qualified
and experienced, and if you have the ability to "deliver
2. More Than Two Pages Is Too Much
For students, recent graduates, or people with just a few
years of experience, try to keep your resume to one page,
two as an absolute maximum. Even a resume for someone with
20 years or more of extensive working experience, should
not exceed three pages. In some cases, one or two "optional"
pages can be referred to as "available upon request." These
would be such optional annexes as a list of references or
an inventory of recent projects and/or publications.
3. Get The Words and Punctuation Right
Make sure the grammar, spelling, and punctuation in your
resume are perfect. Any obvious mistakes will hurt your
credibility. Also, be sure to keep the language clear and
simple. If you draft it yourself, have someone with
excellent writing skills do an editorial review and a
careful proofread of it. If a professional prepares it for
you, such reviews are the responsibility of the resume
preparation firm. Use an accepted English language "style
guide" if you want to be sure of the finer points of word
usage, punctuation, capitalization, abbreviations, etc.
4. Read Between The Lines
Customize the resume to match the stated requirements of
the job that you are applying for, without being misleading.
Review and analyze the job advertisement carefully. Look
for and itemize the key qualifications, skills, and
abilities the employer is seeking. Then identify certain
key words that are usually repeated in such ads. Make sure
that the wording and sequence of points in your resume
reflect and address these "corporate terminologies" and
"code words" as much as possible. When possible, study the
company's annual report and Web site, and weave the themes
and terms found there into your resume and cover letter.
5. Make Sure It Looks Good
Use a crisp, clean, simple presentation format for a
professional looking resume. Just a bit of simple line work
and/or shading, done with standard word processing software
will do the trick. If you don't have the aptitude for this,
there is most likely someone among your friends or in your
office who can help you achieve a professional presentation.
If not, seek professional advice. It won't cost much for a
good simple layout, but it will make a world of difference
to the product.
6. Show What You Can Do Today
Focus, first and foremost, on your recent experience that
is most relevant to the position at hand. Less relevant
and/or dated experience should be either eliminated or
summarized in brief point form near the end of your resume.
When reviewing your resume information, a prospective
employer wants to know what you are doing now, what you
have done recently, and how that relates to the job
requirements of the post they are trying to fill.
7. Be A Straight-Shooter
Be completely honest. When people lie or "creatively
exaggerate" on their resume, they are almost invariably
exposed, sooner or later. Think about it - who really
wants to get a job based on a lie(s) and then have to live
in fear of eventually being found out? We often read in the
newspaper about high-profile folks who get caught in a
resume falsehood or exaggeration, and it isn't very pretty.
8. Follow The Instructions
Submit your resume in exactly the form that the prospective
employer requests. If they say e-mail or fax is okay, do it
that way. However, if they ask for it by regular mail, send
it the way they ask. They must have reasons for requesting
it in such a form and they are geared up to process it that
way. If your resume is to be sent by snail mail, use the
complete address that they specify, or it could go to the
wrong office, especially in a large organization.
9. Don't Get Lost In The Mail
Be careful to respect certain conventions that the potential
employer may require in your resume. For example, make sure
that the cover letter mentions the exact name of the
specific position you are applying for, and the competition
number, if applicable. Sometimes an employer will request
that the job title and/or number be printed on the outside
of the envelope. You would not want to miss out on a job
because you didn't follow minor administrative requirements.
10. Keep The Cover Short and Focused
In the cover letter, don't repeat what is already detailed
in the body of the attached resume. It is a "cover" letter.
It should be short and to the point. Introduce yourself
first, and then briefly summarize why you believe that you
have the qualifications and experience to fulfill the
duties of the position better than anyone else. Express
enthusiasm about the job and the company. Close by stating
how you are looking forward to hearing more from them soon,
and that you will follow-up if necessary.
The above list can be used as a "checklist" both during
the preparation phase, and when reviewing your resume just
To see a fully-formatted "real-life template" of a resume,
click on the following link:
About the Author
Shaun Fawcett is webmaster of writinghelp-central.com and
author of the new eBook "Instant Home Writing Kit". His FREE
e-mail COURSE "Tips and Tricks For Writing Success", offers
valuable tips on home/business writing. Sign-up for FREE at: