Resume Tips: The Basics

Resume Tips: The Basics

This is the first in a series of short articles designed to assist you with creating or polishing your resume.

Resume Basics

Many job seekers underestimate the importance of their resumes. We often receive resumes that are incorrectly or poorly formatted, and that sometimes even appear to have been thrown together in a matter of minutes.

If at least a few hours of time and thought haven’t gone into the creation of your resume, you’re probably doing something wrong.

A resume’s purpose is to summarize essential information about you and your work history in a format that is clean and easy to read. The goal is to showcase your skills and most valuable qualities. Your resume is a commercial, and you are the product it’s selling.

Your resume is your one and only chance to impress potential employers with your professionalism and worth as an employee. It needs to be perfect.

Here’s what you need to know:

  • Spell check, spell check, spell check! All word processing software and even web-browsers like Firefox come with spell check capabilities. Spelling errors can ruin even the best resume—fairly or not, they cast doubt on your writing skills and attention to detail.
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread! Spell check programs will not catch grammatical errors, incorrect punctuation, or misuses of homonyms (for example, using “hole” instead of “whole” or “manor” instead of “manner”). Read your resume out loud to yourself to catch errors. Ask a friend or family member with good writing skills to review it closely. Put it away for a few days and then examine it again with fresh eyes. Proofread it repeatedly.
  • Spell check and proofread! These tips are so important that they deserve to be mentioned again. And again. And again. Your resume is the most important—and possibly the only—representation of you that a prospective employer is going to see.

    Submitting an error-riddled resume is like attending a job interview wearing your jammies and a tinfoil hat: It’ll make you look terrible, and it will cost you a job.