Resume Writing Tips: Signs of a Good Résumé

Employers want to know exactly what you can do for them. Whenever possible, target each résumé to each job. Vague and general résumés that cover many possible job options will not get noticed. While you may qualify for several different positions, it’s better to create a different résumé for each job and incorporate only the information pertinent to that job description. This will alleviate the tendency to crowd your résumé with too much non-related information.
This is important when sending a paper version of your résumé to employers. The look your résumé should be eye catching, not distracting. Be consistent with spacing and margins, allow for lots of white space and borders, and emphasize your important points with font and text styles such as italics, capitals, underlining, boldface, indentation, and bullets.
Well Written
Descriptive action verbs-such as established, implemented, created, and steamlined-add power to your sentences. It is crucial to start each sentence with an action verb (refer to the list of action verbs in this toolkit).
Employers scan résumés and decide in less than 30 seconds if they want to look more closely at what you offer. Edit with care and delete information that isn’t relevant. If you are submitting a paper version, one page résumés work best.
Summarized Qualifications
This is one of the most important parts of your résumé. The “Job Objective” or “Summary of Qualifications” section powerfully illustrates your top selling points. Most job seekers exclude this information, but this is an ideal way to get notice-fast. This is a section of the America’s Job Bank Résumé Builder.
Make sure to show your accomplishments, skills and abilities. Employers want to see proof you can do the job. Be sure to demonstrate the results of your experience and how others benefited from these results. You can effectively achieve this by including evidence of your productivity by noting any cost or time savings, and mentioning innovations, changes, or actions that show you produced results.
List your skills, qualifications and experiences in as positive a manner as possible-but do not exaggerate or misstate the truth. Be sure your job responsibilities are adequately describe by your job title, and indicate the true level of your abilities. Exaggerating your skills will not do you any good!
Abbreviation Free
Avoid abbreviated words on your résumé. It looks sloppy and many abbreviations are not universally accepted.
No Personal Stuff
Including any personal data, such as age or height, is seen as unprofessional. Employers must be careful not to violate any discrimination laws, and most organizations prefer that you don’t include it.
Grammatically Correct
Do not trust your computer’s spell check. Read every word and have someone else read your résumé as well. This is the single most important thing you can do once you have written your résumé. Mistakes of any kind are extremely annoying to employers and also the fastest way to get your résumé into the reject pile. Spelling mistakes and typos suggest the poor quality of work they can expect from you.
Good Paper
If you are submitting a paper version of your résumé, use a computer and print it on a laser printer to give it a sharp, professional look. Conservative white, off white, light tan, or light gray are generally acceptable colors. The darker the color, the more difficult it is to read. Dark or creative colors are acceptable only for artistic résumés, particularly for candidates in graphic design areas. In this case, the résumé becomes a vehicle for illustrating the candidate’s talent. Never send out a résumé that is obviously a photocopy.