Resume Basics

When it comes to writing resumes, there are an awful lot of different opinions on what looks good and what doesn't. While they can be very subjective, there are a few essentials that a resume should have.

Accurate Contact Information

While this might be a bit obvious, it can be easy to update an old resume and forget to make sure you have the right phone number and email on your resume. Couple of things to remember: 1) Have your voicemail set up, make sure it isn't full and ensure that it is a professional greeting. If employers are unable to leave a voicemail, they won't bother calling again, and if your voicemail greeting is a prank, they may not bother leaving a message! 2) Have a professional email used for interviewing/job searching. The best bet is to use some variation of your name, avoid using your birth year in your email lest they use your age against you!

Accomplishments, not Duties

Outside of your contact information, this is the most important bit of your resume. When reading a job posting, you need to ask yourself "What are they looking for? Who would excel there?". You then need to make sure your resume answers those two questions, if it doesn't, they won't bother calling. To answer this question, your resume needs to be littered with skills and accomplishments, not just job duties. We want to show them what we've done, not simply tell them. Take this simple example for instance:

Which is more engaging and tangible:

"Maintained and increased company sales goals"


"Increased company's sales by 60% in under 6 weeks"

Where the first example is just a generic duty, the second example gives the employer something more real, where they can immediately see the impact you made in that role.

Professional Highlights

When it comes to work history, I prefer a "professional highlights" method. This is just focusing in on highlighting positions you've held that specifically relate to the job you're applying for. You do not need to include your complete history, including every job ever worked, unless it is specifically requested by the employer. If you're applying for a front desk position, they likely don't care that you worked at McDonald's for 6 months ten years ago. You want to focus on what is most relevant to them. This will also help you keep your resume down to one page.

When highlighting positions you've worked, unless asked for by the employer, avoid putting complete dates. Saying "2014 to 2016" is simpler, cleaner and better sounding than "12/13/2014 to 01/04/2016". If there are gaps in the jobs you're sharing, I recommend putting the years worked instead, for example, "4 Years" and so on. The key is to be consistent throughout your resume.

No Silly Stuff

However tempting it might be to give the employer a glimpse into your personal life, leave out all hobbies, interests and extracurricular activities that have no relation to the job off of your resume. While attending dance class or gardening might be important to your life, it isn't important to the employer and really distracts from your resume. This doesn't mean you don't include volunteer experience or group membership, volunteer experience is a great thing to include! It just means being selective in how you go about it and making sure it adds to your resume and doesn't distract. You want to stand out for the right reasons! Don't be afraid of being creative with your resume, but make sure you know your audience.

If you need help implementing these basics into your own resume, head over to our Coaches tab and sign up for a resume appointment today!