Resume Checklist

Many job seekers tend to rely too heavily on their resume during their job search. A resume should be used to help get you an initial interview, or it can be used after an interview to substantiate your qualifications. Very infrequently will a resume in and of itself land you a job -- but if not developed correctly a resume can certainly lose you a job. Whether your using your resume to get an interview, or to help you land a specific job, it is imperative that your resume is developed correctly. The following checklist will help you develop a winning resume that will get in the door.

Making a Good First Impression
  • Employers and hiring agents review thousands of resumes every year. Creating a run-of-the-mill resume that looks like it was developed using a generic template will not get you noticed. While you want to make sure to use a conservative layout and design, you'll also want to make sure that your resume is unique and original.

  • While you don't want to use a run-of-the-mill resume template you do want to make sure your resume employs a professional format and design. Sending an employer a resume that looks like it was put together with a typewrite and piece of paper won't get you the result you're looking for.

  • Does your resume flow and is it easy to read? Whether you're employing a functional resume, chronological resume or combination, make sure that your resume has clearly delineated sections. If your resume isn't easy to read and comprehend, it will go straight into the trash.

  • Make sure that your resume accurately reflects your qualifications. Is it long enough? Is it too long? There nothing worse than having an employer assume you're not qualified because you neglect to include relevant qualification, or to give an employer the impression you're not being completely honest or overqualified.

  • Employers and hiring agents frequently do not have time to read every resume they receive. Include a concise yet descriptive summary of your qualifications so that potential employers can quickly ascertain your value as a job candidate.

  • Again, many employers must quickly review a resume to find important information about a candidate. Is your resume formated in a way to help a potential employer identify your most salient qualifications quickly? Does your resume include appropriate use of bolding, bullets and white space to help your most important qualifications standout -- without over doing it?

  • Unless your a 30 year veteran of an industry you can probably fit everything you need to in just one page -- with a little room to spare. Make sure that you employ a good balance of both text and white space. If you're resume appears crowded it will likely turn off prospective employers and hiring agents.

  • Does your reaume employ consistent fonts, styles and font sizes? If your resume format, font and design is inconsistent it will be difficult to read and detrimental to your job search efforts.

  • Finally, make sure your resume is overall visually appealing. Include all relevant work experience and qualifications but don't go overboard. Sometimes, less is more.

Resume Sections
  • An effective resume employs correct delineation and labeling. Each section of a resume should be separated from the other sections by the use of adequate white space or a line. Also, make sure that each section is labeled so that the reader knows what they're looking at and where to find relevant information.

  • Many of the individuals that read your resume will be pressed for time. Make sure that you present the most important (most relevant information/qualifications for the job you're seeking) first. This will greatly increase the effectiveness of your resume. We highly recommend including a well developed resume summary statement

  • If you're employing a chronological resume, make sure your employment history is in reverse chronological order. If there are large gaps in your employment history, you may consider employing a functional resume format.

  • If you're employing a functional resume, list your most important work experience and skills first. (Note: most employers prefer a chronological resume)

Career Goal
  • Your resume should tell a story. But it shouldn't do so in such a way that you leave the reader trying to figure out what the moral is. Make sure that you resume clearly articulates exactly what your career goal and objective is.

  • Let potential employers know that you're a serious candidate by developing a career objective (or summary statement) that is in line with the position that you're applying for and that stands out on your resume.

  • If you're seeking to make a career change, it is imperative that (1) your career objective is stated clearly and (2) you're able to show how your past experience and/or training qualifies you for the position you're applying for.

  • Your resume should include meaningful career accomplishments. Your accomplishments should demonstrate how you are qualified for the position you're applying for.

  • Accomplishments you include on your resume should be specific and substantiated. Use numbers, details and concrete references to impress the reader with your accomplishment(s).

  • Make sure your accomplishments and responsibilities are clearly separated throughout your resume.

  • Many individuals will use the exact same resume to apply for a myriad of job positions that are very different in nature. Each resume you submit to a prospective employer should be tailored to the position you're applying for.

  • Make sure your career objective is directly relevant to what a potential employer is looking for.

  • Your resume should be keyword rich and employs action verbs, industry acronyms and relevant buzzwords. However, don't over do it. A resume full of action words, but no real substance just comes off as a bunch of fluff and will find its way quickly into the waster paper bin.

  • Your resume should include any relevant professional affiliations, awards, or information to support your career objective.

  • Some job seekers feel it's necessary to help a potential employer get to know them by providing irrelevant personal information. Don't do it. Keep your resume oriented towards your professional qualifications and aspirations.

Writing Style
  • Avoid personal pronouns, such as me, I and my.
  • Your resume should be written in the first-person voice.
  • Make sure the flow of information is logical and sequential.
  • Your resume must not have any typos, grammar or syntax errors.

For more information on effective resume development we recommend the following articles:

We also recommend reviewing the "Resume Development Guides by Field" section at

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