Sometimes colleagues and friends ask me to proofread and edit their resumes. I do my usual thorough review, keeping in mind the purpose of this type of document.
I refrain from commenting on the structure of the resume (a resume used in the United States). Career counselors and recruiters have varying opinions about what to include and what not to include, outside of the basics. In the end, it’s up to you to decide which recommendations to follow.
Based on my experience as a job seeker and as someone who has been on the other side helping to interview candidates, here are some basic tips for writing a resume:
- Always target your resume to the job you’re looking for. Use relevant key words wherever possible.
- Use plenty of action verbs to describe what you’ve done in the past. Be descriptive but brief. Remember also that some tasks you’ve done in previous, seemingly less relevant jobs may transfer easily to the job you’re looking for.
- Verbs should be in the past tense to describe previous jobs and in the present tense to describe your current position.
- The document should be easy to read so the hiring manager can quickly see whether you fit the job or not: Use bulleted lists rather than large blocks of text. Use good styling and formatting overall. Pay attention to the use of leading and white space.
Another key: To help you determine what skills and experience to include and how to describe them, think about what you would be looking for in the resume if you were the hiring manager.
If you’d like to get your resume proofread and edited, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. It always helps to get a second eye and a professional proofread.