Resume Writing Tips

There are a few key tips to keep in mind when writing your resume. Before you put pen to paper, or finger to keyboard, you must understand the purpose of a resume.

You write a resume to get a job, right? Wrong. The purpose of a resume is not to get the job, but to prevent yourself from not getting the job. A good resume is a stay of execution until the interviewing stage of the hiring process. Keeping this in mind, here are some key resume writing tips:

Be Assertive!

Humility is an admirable quality – just not on a resume. When an employer is reading your resume he or she is looking for a reason not to call you up for an interview. Never, I repeat, never, concede anything in your resume. Don’t admit to any personality flaws or shortcomings on your resume. You want a job, remember?

Use persuasive action words. Check out the section on action words for some specific examples you can use to spice up your resume.

Research The Company

Find out something about the companies you send resumes to. Discover something about each one of them that interests you, and customize the cover letters of your resumes. This shows that you are interested in their organization, which goes a long way with some employers – very much so in smaller organizations, and especially in situations where the CEO does the interviewing and hiring personally.

Resume or CV?

Not sure if you should be writing a resume or a curriculum vitae? Check out Resume vs. CV.

Pick The Right Format

Choosing the appropriate resume format may seem like a small issue, but it can be very important to some employers. The format will determine both the look and content of your resume. Check out the page on resume format for more information.

Should You Lie?

Nope.  Lies have a way of catching up to you.  Every lie you tell on your resume is a lie you have to carry with you throughout your tenure at a company.  While this is more cut and dry when it comes to highly technical skills, even fibbing about a less quantifiable skill or a past experience that has no real impact on your ability to perform the job can come back to haunt you.


It probably goes without saying, but you must not forget to speelcheck and proofread your cover letter and resume. Not only that, you should as well let an [intelligent] friend proofread and offer comments. While it’s an exaggeration that most employers will throw your resume away if they find an error, it’s still a strike against you. It’s simple to avoid, so take the time to do things right before you mail out your resume.

Font Type and Size

Pick one font for your resume and stick to it. It should be very legibile and dark – no scrolling calligraphy. You want a clean, straight-forward document. Arial is a very well-received font, and Times New Roman is acceptable as well. You should generally shoot for font size 10 or 12 on your resume. Use 10 if it allows you to fit your whole resume on a single page, and 12 if your resume is longer than a page.

Related Topics

Action Words

Common Mistakes

Resume Services

Resume Writing Books

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