When you apply for a job, your resume can be the key in securing a personal interview. Excellent grammar, persuasive writing, and strong bullet points are essential for a perfect resume, and you can use our guide to make sure your writing is flawless.
Perfect Resume Tips
1. You May Use More Than One Page
Entry-level resumes should be condensed to one page, but for most people with a fair amount of work experience, two pages is usually better. In general, use a page to cover about 10 years of work experience. Executive-level resumes may be slightly longer but should not go beyond three pages.
2. Reference Information Is Unnecessary
One of the best ways to keep your resume concise and your reader interested is to edit out any unnecessary information. This includes credentials not related to your profession and the phrase, "References available upon request."
3. The Objective Statement is Obsolete
For years, resumes included a standalone objective statement at the beginning. However, this is no longer the case, as any recruiter reading your resume understands that the objective is to secure a position at the company. Replace the old objective statement with a persuasive summary of your experience to catch the reader's attention.
4. Sentence Fragments Are (Sometimes) Okay
While proper grammar is exceptionally important for a perfect resume, it is considered acceptable to use sentence fragments in specific portions of your writing. You may use sentence fragments in the short summary paragraph at the beginning of your resume.
5. Phone and Email Are the Best Contact Information
Your resume must include contact information. If you don't feel comfortable sharing your complete home address, at least include the city and state. Make sure your telephone number is written in a readable format (e.g. 123-555-6789) and include a professional-sounding email address.
6. Tense Matters
Your work experience section should be structured in reverse chronological order starting with your most recent job. Use present tense for your current job and past tense for the rest of your work history.
7. Verbs Should Stand on Their Own
Every bullet point in your work experience section should begin with a strong, specific action word. Though it may seem more impressive to begin with an adverb (e.g. expertly managed), using a modifier weakens the verb.
8. Bullets Don't Need Periods
Bullet points shouldn't end with periods as they usually aren't (and don't need to be) complete sentences.
9. Your GPA Information Is Not Necessary
Unless you are currently in school or have recently graduated, you should not include GPA information. You may list honors, magna cum laude, and other similar accomplishments.
10. Spell Check Isn't Enough
While a computer spell check program can help, it won't catch homonyms (e.g. complimentary/complementary) or misused words (e.g. quite/quiet). It's extremely important to double check all your writing by reading aloud.
But Don't Make These Mistakes
Even the smallest mistake can destroy an otherwise perfect resume. Here are four common errors to avoid.
1. "Edited five to 10 reports every week." This doesn't follow the accepted numerical convention. Always use numerals when you have a mix of numbers below and above 10.
2. "Left position due to conflict with manager." Your resume isn't the place to discuss why you left a job, and adding a sentence like this takes up valuable space. If the recruiter feels the information is important, he or she will ask in the interview.
3. "Responsible for eight team members." This phrase doesn't begin with a strong action verb, nor does it describe an accomplishment or result.
4. "Tutor local children in remedial math." While this certainly an admirable skill, it doesn't belong on your resume unless you are applying for a teaching position.