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Career Development: ResumÉ WRITING TIPS

The following tips will make a resume easier to read and and/or scan into an employer’s database:
  • Use 8 ½ x 11 plain white bond paper. Avoid erasable bond—it smudges.
  • Use font size of 10 to14 points.
  • Use 1-inch margins on both sides, and 1/2 to 1-inch margins on the top and bottom of the page.  Use larger-than-average margins creating extra wide space. Double-space between each section of the resume.  Catchy colors or odd sizes are unprofessional.
  • Use full capitalization for headings.
  • Use non-decorative typeface and stick to it.  Avoid italics, scripts, and underlined words.
  • Do not use horizontal or vertical lines, graphics, or shading.
  • Do not fold or staple the resume.

  • Have your copies printed on a high-quality photocopy machine, or with a letter quality printer.
  • If the resume must be mailed, it should be placed in a large envelope.
Writing Style
  • Keep your resume current.
  • Resumes are not one-size fits all.  Tailor your resume to the job and career level you are looking at.  Be sure to include the significant keywords related to your industry for computer scanning.
  • No pronouns!  Your resume should not include “I” or “me”.
  • Use strong action verbs (e.g., developed, evaluated, coordinated….).
  • Write your resume in commonly used language.  Use technical terms only if they are required to explain your work.
  • In addition to having a Word document ready to go as an attachment, you should always have a text version that does not look disfigured in the body of the email or in online forms.
  • Avoid elementary information like hobbies and interests, instead focus on strengths and skills.
  • Eliminate most abbreviations except those that are well known.
Last Minute Reminders
  • Run a spell check on the computer before anyone sees the resume.
  • Have a friend (preferably a English major) review grammar.
  • Have another friend proofread.  The more people who see a resume, the more likely that misspelled words and awkward phrases will be seen and corrected.
  • Use a format that puts your strongest, “most sellable” points first.
  • Be completely honest.  False statements are grounds for dismissal.
  • References are not to be included in the resume.  They should be printed on a separate sheet.
  • Never include a picture.

Next: Resumé action verbs