Resume Writing Tips

Instructor: Anthony Aparicio

Tony taught Business and Aeronautics courses for eight years; he holds a Master's degree in Management and is completing a PhD in Organizational Psychology

Your resume is the first thing that a potential employer will see and what they use to decide whether they will invite you for an interview. In this lesson, learn some tips that will help you create an effective resume.

Resume Writing Tips

Many of you already understand that resumes are documents that you send to a potential employer for the purposes of applying for a job with that organization. There are many ways to write a resume that will help you demonstrate the skills and experiences that you have and not focus on any deficiencies. This lesson will show you some of the pros and cons of different resume types, give suggestions to improve existing resumes, and ensure that you do not make any errors that could cost you your dream job.

Selecting the Correct Resume Type

The main types of resumes are:

  • Chronological
  • Functional
  • Some combination of the two

Most people are familiar with the chronological resume; it summarizes your past jobs and shows how you have progressed in levels of responsibility. If you have a good work history with a steady progression of promotions, then the chronological resume will work well. However, not all of us fit that perfectly neat work history.

Some of us are just getting started and do not have a list of positions or volunteer work. Others may have been out of the workforce for some time due to layoffs, children, or going back to school. In those instances, you may want to consider a functional resume.

Functional resumes focus more on the skill sets that are required for the position to which you are applying. Even if you have gaps in employment or recently graduated, a functional resume will be able to demonstrate how you have developed your skills through your educational, volunteer, or other experiences. You should put the most important skills for that position on top, and then give support that shows how well you exhibited that skill.

If both of these resume types sound good, you can always use a little bit of each to highlight your experiences while supplementing them with additional skills. Once you have your resume type selected, you can search online for hundreds of templates to use, so that you can organize your information in a way that your potential employer can use.

Continuous Improvement

A resume is always a constant work in progress, even if you have a job. Each time you write a new resume or review an old one, you should make additions and adjustments to it so that it is ready when you need it.

Keeping a master resume with all of the information that you could possibly need is an excellent source document to pull information for specific positions. It can contain all your awards, certificates, supervisors, dates, and job descriptions. You never actually submit your master resume, but only use it to customize resumes for particular jobs.

Editing is a big part of writing, and you will be able to find new and better ways to tell your story if you review your resume and make changes on a regular basis. Remember that resumes should only be one or two pages. Also, things change over time, such as fonts, size, margins, and overall design.

Things You Must Include

There are some things that you will need to include in every resume:

  • Accurate contact information
  • A professional email address (do not use something like
  • Large enough font to read easily (at least 10 point, 12 preferably)
  • Relevant information to the job you want
  • A customized resume for their job announcement (use key words you see in the job posting to show how you meet all those requirements)
  • Demonstration of skills that the employer is looking for in their new employee (leadership, communication, computer proficiency, teamwork, etc.)
  • A thorough review by yourself and others that will give you honest feedback

Things You Should Not Include

In general, these are things to avoid when creating a resume:

  • Pronouns (I, me, us) when using bullet statements
  • Errors in spelling
  • Irrelevant information
  • Personal information, such as age, race, marital status, children, religion, etc.

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