Resume writing can be a daunting experience, and so I get a lot of people requesting my help for revising this critical document. You should ALWAYS have your resume updated every 6 months just in case the unexpected happens. In today’s economy, if you think you have job security, think again. Remember, it’s your resume, cover letter and social media profile that drive the interview process. The primary function of the resume is to trigger the reader to pick up the phone and call you in for an interview. Don’t lose sight of this goal.
Most studies report that resumes are skimmed in less than 30 seconds, and so you need to ask yourself, “Does my resume quickly sell me the way it is written now?” It’s helpful to have a checklist of resume writing questions, so you don’t leave anything to chance.
• Did you pick a style (i.e. chronological, functional, or blended) that puts your best foot forward?
• Is your name and contact information presented in a sharp and professional manner?
• Does it make sense for you to have such categories as OBJECTIVE or SUMMARY? If yes, are they written succinctly?
• Have you picked the right categories (i.e. EDUCATION, EXPERIENCE, COMMUNITY SERVICE, SKILLS, etc.)?
• Did you condense it to preferably one page or if necessary, a maximum of two, if you have an exceptional amount of experience?
• Is the most important information in the top half of your resume? Does it lead with your strengths?
• Did you use plenty of white space to make it visually appealing? Does it look too crammed and cluttered?
• Is it in a simple and easy to read font in size 11 or 12 point?
• Does it lead the reader’s eye to essential points using indenting, bolding, italicizing or capital letters?
• Is the information conveyed in a continuous, organized and logical manner?
• Does the overall layout invite the reader to want more?
• Have you written the resume from the perspective of a future employer? Can they imagine you making a contribution?
• Is the resume tailored to a specific company or is it all about you? Do you know what you are selling?
• Does the resume force the reader to guess at what you are trying to say?
• Did you use a bulleted format instead of long paragraphs?
• Is it written with direct simple language or does it have too much jargon and unfamiliar acronyms that might be confusing?
• Does it leave out irrelevant background information and any unnecessary language?
• Did you choose your dynamic verbs carefully or do they tend to repeat?
• Did you read and re-read each bulleted phrase/statement to ensure that it is action-oriented and compelling?
• Do your phrases/sentences reflect a positive, results oriented and enthusiastic image of you? Does it create vivid pictures?
• Did you differential yourself from other job seekers with your unique transferrable skills and qualifications?
• Does your resume demonstrate a progression in responsibilities?
• Did you quantify the depth of your experience with concrete examples?
• Were you accurate and honest without exaggerating, using false information or padding your resume?
• Did you remove any irrelevant information that might make the employer stop reading? Are you satisfied with the wording?
• Did you carefully conceive it by writing several drafts or did you just get it done in haste?
• Did you print the resume on high quality paper using either white or ivory?
• Did you proofread it twice for misspellings, punctuation, typos and incorrect grammar? Has a second set of eyes checked it?
• Does your resume support your goals and most importantly, the goals of the company?
• Does the resume match the qualifications that are listed in the job description?
• Does the resume stand out in an impressive way? Does it really sell you?
• Are the phrases/sentences written to persuade the employer the value that you would bring to the position?
• Does it pass the “C” test: customized, crisp, clean, clear, concise, consistent, convincing, current and confident?
• Does this highlight the best and brightest in your background?
• Are your best qualities and my major accomplishments emphasized?
• Can the reader pick out the key three to five points in less than 30 seconds?
• Does it invite you and make the reader want to learn more about you? Is it eye-catching?
• Does it leave the reader wanting to pick up the phone and call you in for an interview?