Top Resume Writing Tips for Career Success

There's no question: A good resume is key to your job search and career success. Here are my top resume writing tips for that knock-out resume you need to succeed.

It's Resume Marketing!

Marketing yourself for a new job is almost like selling a product. You need a strong marketing tool — your resume — to convince an employer he wants you. Just as in selling a product, the better your marketing, the more success you'll have.

A good resume is not a listing of boring job duties. A good resume highlights your achievements and shows how they relate to your new job.

A good resume is not a dry historical paper. It's a well-crafted marketing piece that shows a thread of career success that promises to run into your future.

This type of resume marketing is what will win you an interview with the manager who can say "You're hired!" Now, on to my resume writing tips.

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Top Resume Writing Tips

Here are my top resume writing tips. I've used them over and over for all sorts of career resumes and job searches. They work!

  1. Show career/job focus! Be sure it's clear what your job objective is at the top of the page. You can do this by using a professional title, writing a job objective statement, or suggest it in the first line of your Summary section. Or, if your college degree points to your career goal, you could move your Education section near the top. By making your objective clear at the start of your resume, you tell the reader what your document is about and that everything that follows is relevant to that objective. (More on this: Your Resume Job Objective)
  2. Write about what's relevant to the job objective. Keep the focus on what you want to do next by telling your reader that you used the same skills in your past as you will use in your next job.
  3. Write about your experience in terms of achievements. What accomplishments are you proud of? Achievements tell the reader you can do a "repeat performance" on the new job. (More on how to do this: Your Resume Achievement Statements)
  4. Write short (at most three-line) achievement statements that start with action verbs such as "led," "drafted," and "managed." Action verbs give your statements power.
  5. Use bullet points and white space to highlight statements — don't write in paragraphs. This will make it faster for your reader to skim through and find what he's looking for.
  6. Make it easy to read. Write simply and directly, avoiding run-on sentences and words with more than three syllables when there's a choice.
  7. Check the order of your statements and sections. Put your most impressive and relevant items first to keep the reader's eye on the page!
  8. Proofread! Spelling and grammar errors are a big no-no, so proofread word by word. Once you're sure it's perfect, ask someone else to check it.
  9. When you think you're finished, ask yourself these two questions:
    - Is there anything I love doing that's related to my work that isn't mentioned on my resume? If so, find a way to include it. This helps the reader place you in the job that will be the most satisfying for you.
    - Is there something I hate mentioned on my resume? If the answer is "yes," take it off or at least downplay it. If it's on your resume, someone might hire you to do that very thing. You don't want to repeat any tasks you hate, do you?

I hope these resume writing tips help you write a great resume — one that brings you lots of career success.

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