How to Write a Great Resume

by Van Zeeland Talent, LLC

What does it take to write a great resume?

15 seconds.

You Have 15 Seconds to Make an Impression

That’s what your resume gets at first glance, so you’ve got to make the most of it. Resumes serve only to get a foot in the door. Keeping this in mind, resumes should be arranged so the person scanning it can easily find the key information and won’t find any spelling or grammatical errors. If in that first 15 seconds they see a typo, you’re gone.

Break your Resume into Sections

Begin your resume with a summary of your experience. The first words should be a “General Job Title” in bold print identifying a general career field in which you have been employed. This information should be followed by the number of years of experience you have and the industries you have experience with.

The next section of your resume should list your employment history. Under the employer’s name, give a one-sentence description of the industry and size of the employer. Bold or underline your official job title and give a brief description of the main duties of your job. Do not take up space listing every job duty; rather list just a few key items.

List Your Accomplishments

The most important part of your resume is listing your accomplishments to show how well you succeeded at the job. Accomplishments should be listed individually. Job seekers tend to underestimate rather than overestimate their background. Do not let modesty prevent you from advertising your best features. Detail actual accomplishments and let the reader conclude what they indicate about your capabilities.

Begin with your most recent job first and then proceed backward in time. It’s important not to leave gaps in your job history. It’s better to list a job from which you were fired and explain the circumstances in the interview than to leave a gap and not get the interview.

Keep the Education Section Brief

Keep the education section brief. List only post-secondary degrees unless high-school is your highest education starting with your most advanced education. If you have some college education but did not graduate, put “course work in …” If you had no college, you can leave the education section of your resume.

Two-Page Resumes are OK

A two-page resume is fine, as long as there is relevant information on the second page. The second page should be at least half full, otherwise, edit it down to one page.

Leave out the “Fluff”

Human Resources Directors don’t want to see information that could raise the possibility of discrimination charges later such as age, marital status, and other personal information. Notes about hobbies and interests are superfluous unless they relate directly to the job. “References available upon request” only states the obvious.

Avoid Typewritten Resumes

Typewritten resumes are no longer up to standard. Most libraries have computers and laser printers available for a small fee. Professional resume preparation is also available.

Be Honest and Truthful

One aspect of resume writing remains true: being honest in the qualifications you claim. If you can’t back up what you’re putting on this piece of paper, don’t put it on there.