Resume Writing Basics

Nancy Anderson
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If you're trying to land a job, a solid resume is essential. Even if your experience, skills and references are impeccable, you won't get your foot in the door if your resume isn't up to par. Whether it's your first time writing a resume or your old one could use an update, these tips will help you to create a CV that maximizes your chances of getting hired.

1. Follow the Formula

Outside-the-box thinking has its place, but when it comes to writing a resume, it's best to go the traditional route. There are plenty of templates out there you can use to figure out how to format your resume properly.

2. Customize the Template

There's absolutely nothing wrong with using a template as a starting point when writing a resume. However, it's important that you take steps to make your resume uniquely your own. After all, there's a strong chance that the hiring manager already browsed through countless resumes already, and you want your document to stand out from the pack.

3. Avoid Boilerplate Text

When writing a resume, it may be tempting to search the internet for relevant phrases. Instead of simply copying and pasting, use them for inspiration, and then make them your own. Your goal is to sell yourself, and that requires that you use language that caters specifically to you and your experiences and skills. That way, if you get an interview, you'll be confident when it's time to elaborate on the information on your resume.

4. Keep It Succinct

You're writing a resume, not a novel. Use your resume for outlining the facts. If you want to elaborate more, include a cover letter. Ideally, your resume should only take up one page. If necessary, reduce the font size. Two pages is acceptable, but any more than that is too long. Whether you're applying for jobs online or in person, you want the person reading your resume to get a strong first impression, even if they're just scanning the document quickly.

5. Update Your Resume According to the Position

When seeking employment, you're probably going to end up applying for a variety of different positions. Instead of taking a one-size-fits-all approach, keep your resume evolving on a case-by-case basis. For example, if you're hoping to land a retail position, highlight your experiences interacting with customers and using cash registers. Make clear exactly what you bring to the table, and cut out any irrelevant information.

6. Proofread It...Again

Before you start applying for jobs, wait an hour, and then carefully read your resume again. Send it out to friends, family members and colleagues, and ask them for advice on improving it. Once you send your resume, that's it. You don't get a second chance. It only takes one spelling error to ruin your chances, so be vigilant.

7. Ask for Help

Writing a resume can be challenging, especially if it's your first time. There's nothing wrong with asking someone to give you a hand. If you really want to go above and beyond, hire a professional to help you create the perfect resume.

Your resume says a lot about you. Make sure it's crisp, clean and professional. Although writing a resume can be time-consuming, the results are always worth the effort.

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