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Writing a Resume

 

If you were given the opportunity to compose a document that summarizes your entire career history and all of your professional accomplishments to date, what would it say? Would you write about the positive impact your work had on your employers, co-workers, or customers? Would you divulge personal information that speaks to your character? How much information would you share? 

Your responses to these questions can directly influence whether a prospective employer develops a favorable or unfavorable impression of your resume. In today’s job market, filled with qualified applicants, you need to distinguish yourself from other job seekers. The following tips are provided to assist you with improving your resume and increase the likelihood that it will catch the eye of prospective employers.

Plan the Design

The design of a resume is dictated predominately by the industry to which you are applying. Unless you are applying for work in an artistic industry, conformity to style is essential. Font styles such as Arial, Gill Sans MT, or Trebuchet MS are appropriate when submitting your resume for positions within the government and private industry. Be sure that spacing between each section is even and always double check that your style is consistent throughout your resume. For example, if you place the date of employment on the right side of the page, repeat that arrangement for each place of employment. Consistency shows attention to detail and makes for a visually appealing resume.

Be Honest

Honesty is the best policy in all things, including resume writing! The purpose of a resume is to highlight your strengths and accomplishments. Creative writing is a useful tool for writing a resume; however, blatant misrepresentations of the truth are unacceptable.

Use Key Words and Action Verbs

Many organizations use a computer to scan resumes as the first line of elimination, which means your resume may not even be reviewed by a person before it is judged. The only way to impress the computer is by scanning the job listing for key words and making sure these are included within your resume. A phrase such as "seeking individuals with management experience" would indicate that the prospective employer will be searching for the term "management." If you have never managed staff, think about what the term "management" means. Think about your work experience and consider whether management skills have been needed to perform tasks. If so, incorporate those experiences and the term "management" into your resume.

Now that you have matched some key words and you have landed on the recruiter’s desk, you need to impress the person reading your resume. How do you do that, exactly? Action verbs. An action verb expresses an achievement, and is both concise and persuasive. By using a strong action verb, you can accentuate your previous successes and achievements. Below are three examples regarding the use of action verbs in a resume. Download a comprehensive list of action verbs by clicking the link provided.

  • Accelerated introduction of a new technology, which increased productivity by 15%.
  • Organized consumer databases to efficiently track product orders.
  • Supervised a team of six service employees.

Organize Your Content

You can choose to organize your resume in several different ways, but the most popular styles are chronological and functional. Chronological resumes list prior experience in the order in which you held each position. Generally, your most recent job is listed first and your oldest job is listed last. Functional resumes focus less on listing employment history chronologically and more on skills that you have acquired and developed. This style of resume is divided into sections by skill such as instruction or management. It is difficult to mix the two styles and maintain an easy to read resume, so it is best to pick one style. Your primary goal should be an easily read, well organized, and clear resume.

A note about using text boxes: When using a resume template to assist you in the resume writing process, avoid using text boxes because they cannot be easily formatted. Also, if you send a resume via email, text boxes can be troublesome for reviewers that have a different version of your software.

Determine the Proper Length

Keep in mind that your resume is a snapshot of what you have to offer, not a detailed listing. Resumes submitted to the private sector should be kept to one or two pages. There are a few exceptions to this rule depending on the field of work you are entering, but generally the length should be kept to no more than two pages. Resumes that exceed two pages can be considered too lengthy and may run the risk of being overlooked. When entering the federal sector, resumes are more comprehensive listings of a candidate’s professional background. Unlike the private sector, the federal resume is considerably longer and must contain information not normally included in the private sector resume formats.

Looking for additional information? Learn about the steps for writing your first private sector resume or federal resume

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Guide to Writing a Private Sector Resume

Guide to Writing a Federal Resume


A portion of the information above was retrieved from Career Insider, powered by Vault.

 

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