Tried and True Resume Writing Rules

You can have all the experience, personality, and credentials you need to land the best jobs in any area of the world, but if you don’t know how to put them onto paper in the form of a resume, you may be unemployed. Writing a resume isn’t as simple as scribbling down your past experience, you have to do it in a very focused way that will make sense, grab the attention of prospective employers, and will generally leave the reader with a great impression of the person that you are as well as your abilities to get the job done.  

The Presentation

One must consider that a print version of their resume is no longer enough; you should also have an electronic version. You’ll find that some employers want electronic versions of resumes, while others still want just a printed version.

The printed version of your resume should be your primary marketing tool and you’ll want to be sure that you pay close attention to its appearance. Your resume needs to look as sharp and different as you are. You must be sure that your printed resume stands out in the crowd so that it doesn’t end up in a stack of resumes that never get any attention. The best way you can make your resume stand out is to use a modern format. If you aren’t sure what formatting techniques you should be using you can hire a professional or buy a book at your local bookstore that has been published in the last three years.

You should also be sure that your printed version of your resume isn’t simply typed with a typewriter or even an outdated word processing program. It’s also a great idea to print your resume on something other than your ordinary white paper. A thicker paper, a clean laser printer, and great formatting will make all the difference in getting your printed resume noticed. Using something other than your typical Times New Roman font is a great idea, as well. You shouldn’t go crazy with bold lettering, underlining words, or using italicized fonts but you can use more sharp looking fonts such as Bookman, Helvetica, or even Arial typefaces.

For most professionals it is not a good idea to include graphics or logos on your printed resume. The only graphic you might want to add is the use of horizontal lines to separate sections of your resume as this can give your resume a very professional look. Generally you do not want to use colored paper though you can use variations of white, ivory, or a light gray. You can get a bit creative by using these same colors in borders or something like that, but you should keep it very low key and classy.

Your electronic resumes are usually quite plain in that they don’t need much in the way of bold, underlined, or italicized fonts. An electronic resume should be a no frills approach to presenting your resume or you run the risk of making it difficult for the reader to actually find information and read it with ease. When dealing with electronic resumes, sharp fonts and white space are a good thing!


Many people really stress about formatting their resume, but generally this needn’t be your biggest concern. The problem with formats is that they are often too straight forward for you to comfortably fit your experience into it. While it’s a good idea to have a general format in mind, you needn’t follow it exactly to land a job. Employers know that each persons work history and experience is unique, so your resume will be as well. Most people are well served to simply write out their work history and education and then they can go back and format it so that it is easy to read and will grab the attention of the reader. If you are able to market yourself well and you have formatted your resume so that it is easy to read you’ll find that it will work well!


So many people get frustrated when writing their resume that they finally just hurry through it and they end up with a resume that has a lot of errors in it. Slow down, and watch for spelling, grammar, and syntax errors. Remember that your resume really is the first impression that you give a person, so you want to use an active first person tense and use language that is relevant to the positions you have held and those that you are applying for. It’s a good idea to proof read your resume at least five times before you give it to anyone!

Get Your Resume Focused

If your resume isn’t focused on who you are, what you want, and where you are going, it’s likely that you will have a difficult time landing an interview, let alone a job. Most recruiters and employers admit if they can’t ascertain who the person is and what he or she wants in just a matter of moments, they move on without giving the applicant a second thought.

You can state these things by either writing a very clear career objective in which you state where you are and where you hope to be. You can also start your resume with a summary or career profile in which you tell the reader what you know so that you have the attention of the reader and they’ll continue to read over your resume.  

It’s important to remember that your resume is like a promotional piece for yourself. You are not just giving a list of job descriptions; you are selling your ability to do the job that you are applying for. Use your qualifications, format, language, and presentation as a tool to sell yourself to your prospective employers. If you have a very focused resume that also serves as a sales piece for yourself, your talents, and your career objectives you’ll find that you have a great response to your resume each and every time.

Editorial Team at Geekinterview is a team of HR and Career Advice members led by Chandra Vennapoosa.

Editorial Team – who has written posts on Online Learning.

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