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Resume Writing Tips


  • Arrange categories/section headings in order of relevance, presenting your most marketable information first.  
  • Use brief, descriptive phrases instead of complete sentences.  Be concise and to the point.
  • Select action verbs that effectively illustrate your skills and experience. 
  • Do not use personal pronouns such as I, me, my, their.
  • Focus on results, accomplishments and skills that demonstrate you have the qualifications to be successful at the job.  Highlight higher order skills as opposed to just listing daily tasks.
  • Avoid repetitive phrases when describing your experience. 
  • Do not repeat details that are common to several positions.
  • Describe activities that employers may not be familiar with, especially those unique to your work current or past work environment(s).  
  • Avoid using abbreviations, acronyms and contractions. 
  • Start with your present or most recent positions and work backward, with the most space devoted to recent employment.
  • Detail only the last three to five positions, or employment covering the last ten or so years. Summarize early positions unless exceptionally relevant to the position.
  • Use year designations only, without specifying month or day. Greater detail can be given in the interview or on the application.
  • Within each position listed, stress the major accomplishments and responsibilities that demonstrate your full competence to do the job. Once the most significant aspects of your work are clear, it is generally not necessary to include lesser achievements since they will be assumed by employers.
  • Keep your next job target in mind. Describe prior positions and accomplishments that most relate to your targeted job.
  • Education should not be included in the work experience section. Generally speaking, education should go at the top of the resume if completed within the last five years; if more than five years, at the bottom. (This is not a hard and fast rule, however, and you can follow your own instincts whether to emphasize work or education.)
  • Have several people review your resume to check for spelling, grammatical errors, and readability.
  • And, of course, try to keep it to one page.


  • Too long (preferred length is one page).
  • Disorganized - information is scattered around the page and is difficult to follow.
  • Poorly typed and printed - hard to read - looks unprofessional.
  • Overwritten - long paragraphs and sentences - takes too long to say too little.
  • Too sparse - give only bare essentials of dates and job titles.
  • Not oriented for results - doesn’t show what the candidate accomplished on the job.
  • Too many irrelevancies - height, weight, sex, health & marital status should not be included.
  • Misspellings, typographical errors, poor grammar - resumes should be carefully proofread before they are printed and mailed.
  • Tries too hard - fancy typesetting and binders, photographs and exotic paper stocks distract from the clarity of the presentation.
  • Misdirected - too many resumes arrive on employers’ desks unrequested, with little or no apparent connections to the organization and lacking cover letters.


Last Update: October 08 2010
For additional information, contact: Carl Ochnio