There is a ton of advice out there related to resume writing; some more practical than others. However, I have noticed a noticeable lack of advice related to how job seekers should systematically review and improve their resume on a line by line basis, as part of a broader strategy to assist them in their interviews. Your first interview is actually your resume being submitted to an employer. Nothing else matters if an employer does not like you or understand you on paper. Now that we have addressed the general way in which one may approach writing one’s resume, I present ten specific rules to live by for resume writing.
1) Telling Ain’t Selling
Don’t tell the readers of your resume what you did; show them what you achieved. Your resume, as much as possible, should in essence be an outline of what you would ideally get the opportunity to say about yourself in the course of an interview. In the course of highlighting your achievements, you implicitly also show your experiences, but do so in a much sexier way. To that end, make sure to avoid vague words like assisted, planned, developed, and other similar words you might use to describe your achievements. For every action word you use make sure to ask yourself “how precisely did I?”; as in “how precisely did I assist?”, “how precisely did I plan?”, or “how precisely did I develop?”.
2) Resumes Are Intended to Answer Basic Questions About You. They Do Not Create More of Them
A resume is a snapshot into your career history, your qualifications and achievements. The reader should come away with absolutely no doubt as to who you worked for, when you worked there, what the company did and where (geographically) you worked. The why and the how of your jobs can be explained in a cover letter if you are uncomfortable stating the circumstances of your job changes on your resume. Put yourself in the mindset of someone that might not possibly have any knowledge of your current or previous employers, your industries, or your company’s/industry’s unique jargon and/or acronyms.
3) You Can Eliminate the Objective Section on Your Resume