Keep These 6 Rules in Mind When Writing Your Resume

John Krautzel
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Your resume can open doors, but it can also slam them shut. In today's competitive world, standing out from the other applicants is no easy feat. Writing a resume that looks attractive and sells your skills and experiences effectively requires time, effort and a little know-how. Here are six important rules to keep in mind when writing a resume.

1. Check for Errors

When applying for jobs, the quickest way to send your resume to the bottom of the pile is to include a spelling or grammar error. After you've created your CV, take a few minutes and then come back to it. Then, wait a few hours and come back to it again. Ask friends and family members to check it, too. Don't even think about sending it out until you're fully confident that it's flawless.

2. Modify Your Resume to Fit the Position

Once you're finished writing a resume, it may be tempting to leave it as is and then send it out en masse. Instead, your resume should be an evolving entity that changes depending on the position you're targeting. For instance, if you're applying for a customer service job, make sure that your resume reflects specific experiences that involve interacting with people. Remove irrelevant details, and keep your information focused on the potential employer's needs, rather than taking a one-size-fits-all approach.

3. Keep It Succinct

You're writing a resume, not a novel. The hiring manager doesn't want to spend valuable time reading multiple pages of information. Use your cover letter to sell your personality, strengths, skills and experiences, and use your resume to clearly and concisely show just the facts. Keep your resume to one page, even if that means reducing the font size. Whether you're handing in a physical copy or sending it digitally, you want to provide a resume that's quickly and easily digestible.

4. Make It Original

Using templates is a common practice when writing a resume and applying for jobs. There's nothing wrong with using them for inspiration, but don't copy and paste a sentence and leave it at that. Modify templates to better match your personality, skills and experiences. Borrow from multiple templates — you don't want the hiring manager to recognize phrases from other resumes in the pile.

5. Be Honest

When you're writing a resume, it's all too easy and tempting to change dates, add experiences and exaggerate skills. Don't do it. There's nothing wrong with talking yourself up, but if you lie, there's a strong chance that lie will come back to haunt you down the line. Recognize the legitimate value you bring to the table, and sell yourself based on that.

6. Use Attractive Formatting

When you're seeking employment, a resume written in Jokerman font isn't going to get you far. Spend some time creating a professional resume that really pops. If you're not exactly computer-savvy, there are plenty of tutorials online, or you can hire someone to do it for you. Never underestimate the power of a visually striking resume.

Writing a resume is a personal endeavor, but these are universal rules that should always be followed. Take pride in your work, and don't rush it. In the long run, the time and effort are always worth the results.

Photo courtesy of Ambro at


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