Tips for Writing a Winning Resumé
Updated: Jun 15
A resumé is an ad, not just a list of your skills and work history; it is a promotional document that should sell your professional value. That value must be told succinctly; like advertising, a resumé that is too slick, filled with buzzwords, or boring, isn’t going to garner attention.
Resumés come in many forms. You should develop a final document (or two) that corresponds to your industry, audience, personality, and goals.
As you move forward to create your perfect professional ad, don’t be dismayed by factors outside of your control in the recruiting process. Unfortunately, time spent creating a resumé doesn’t necessarily equate to securing the specific job you want in the shortest time. Nonetheless, an effective resumé should get you past the initial screeners and into an interview.
Before You Write, Consider Who is Reading Your Resumé
There are three general paths that a resumé can travel:
A Computer Screener - database upload with AI screening
Someone in Human Resources - people usually unfamiliar with the job requirements so clarity is important
Network Contacts and Job Boards - people you know, those in your network, or job boards to which you've posted
Different Kinds of Resumés
Depending on one’s level of experience, industry requirements, and final usage, there are generally three kinds of resumés:
Reverse Chronological - title-focused and listed newest to oldest
Functional - listing skill sets as the key offering
Combination - blended and usually two column which is not appropriate for uploading to databases
What’s in a Resumé?
The graphic below provides a brief explanation for each part of the resumé. Many people believe they have to fit all their accomplishments on one page. Focusing on one page and cutting out needless words is a good goal, but those with extensive experience will likely have a two-page resumé. Overall, it's important to be flexible to your industry, be succinct, and be specific about your value – especially on the first page.
The Finishing Touches
Developing a resumé can be a daunting task. Using prospective job descriptions and the template above, sketch out your resumé. Take the time to craft multiple drafts and two or three options that match the various positions to which you’ll apply. Below you’ll find items to consider in every step of the writing process.
Show Your Value - use action words to describe quantitative accomplishments
Include Soft Skills - employers want a well-rounded employee
Highlight Special Skills - use position descriptions to link your special skills to the role
Proofread and Proofread Again - have other people review for clarity and accuracy
Hillary Hufford-Tucker is the founder of QM MarCom and provides fresh solutions for marketing, communications, personal branding, and graphic design campaigns. When she’s not working, she’s cooking for friends and family, cycling, F45ing, or traveling. Connect with her on LinkedIn.