Top 5 Tips for Creating A Winning Resume

Conventional wisdom changes constantly and nowhere is this more evident when it comes to trends in resume-writing and job-hunting. The following are five do’s and don’ts that should help you write a resume that’s a winner.

Tips for creating a winning resume

1) Don’t use the Microsoft Word template

​At orientation, I often ask for students that have a template resume to raise their hands.  When they do, I tell them, “Great, now throw it out!” The ease and speed with which you can create a template version of your resume is a great indication of their lack of quality.  Even worse, hiring managers see dozens of template resumes even day, so even if you include great content on your resume, chances are it will not stand out. Everything of value takes time to accomplish.  There are some excellent books and resources that can help you create a “winning resume” that is original, authentic and reflective of your personal brand. I recommend “Knock ‘em Dead Resumes” by Martin Yate. 

2) Keep it to one page

There is a lot of confusion about this.  The general rule of thumb is that your resume should be  one page in length for every 10 years of professional experience.  Remember that your content needs to be solid and you gain nothing by adding fluff.  In all my years in College Career Services, I have never worked with a traditional college age student who had enough experience to justify a second resume page.

3) Objective: leave it out!  

Resume experts do not agree on much, but the vast majority agree that the old resume “Objective” is a thing of the past.  There is no need to tell the employer that you are “looking for an opportunity that fully utilizes your ability to use meaningless, flowery platitudes.” You get the idea.

4) Summary statement

As opposed to the old “Objective” create a “Summary Statement” or bulleted “Summary of Qualifications” that clearly demonstrates that you have the skills that they seek for that particular position. Most people don’t realize this, but you can submit a different, targeted resume for every position to which you apply.  Be honest, but borrow key skills from the job description for your Summary! 

5) Really? You have references?  

​The most wasted resume line is the old throw-away “references available upon request” that so many people place on the bottom.  The assumption is that you will provide references when requested, so saying it adds nothing.  One of my colleagues once quipped that if you are going to state the obvious, why not add, “will come to interview if invited?” 

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