10 Resume Writing Rules to Break

John Krautzel
Posted by in Career Advice

Your resume is what opens the door to new job opportunities, so you can't afford to let it become a clone. Too many job seekers play it safe and end up with boring, drab resumes that don't really grab a reader's attention. To break from the mold and start getting better results, consider the following resume rules to break.

1. Don't Use Full Sentences

Your resume should be easy to scan through quickly, and short phrases and bullet points help make that possible. However, too many short, choppy phrases make the overall document feel cold and impersonal. Where appropriate, feel free to add short sentences to convey a more human appeal.

2. List All Your Tasks and Duties

Instead of focusing on the mundane daily tasks you were responsible for, focus on ideas, changes and accomplishments. Short blurbs about your greatest achievements, with numbers to back them up, are far more impactful than a list of activities that anyone could do, such as answering the phone or preparing documents.

3. There is no "I" in Resume

Using the word "I" within your resume is still a touchy strategy in many industries, but for modern or creative industries, there's nothing wrong with referring to yourself throughout your resume. After all, it is a document that is meant to tell your story and sell you to potential employers.

4. Use Common Terms

Using phrases such as "team-player" and "self-starter" might seem like a good idea, but these phrases actually make your resume sound like every other resume out there. To really stand out, get more specific, and don't be afraid to use industry-specific language.

5. Keep it Under a Page

A short, concise document might seem like a clear winner, but not if it forces you to omit essential information. If you've amassed a lot of diverse work experience, don't sell yourself short in the name of brevity.

6. List Multiple Functions for Better Results

Many applicants list a bunch of different functions in the "Skills" section of their resume, such as Operations, Marketing or Customer Service. This practice cheapens your resume and makes it sound like you'll take any job a company has to offer. Instead, apply a laser-like focus to your resume, and include only the most relevant skills and accomplishments based on the industry and the job for which you're applying.

7. Focus on Skills

Skills are important, but your resume will be more interesting if you focus on specific and quantifiable achievements.

8. Don't Include Hobbies or Interests

Sometimes, your outside interests are relevant to your career aspirations. Go ahead and include volunteer experience and hobbies if they apply to your chosen field.

9. Write for Resume-Scanning Software

While applicant-tracking software is heavily used, you should still write for a human reader.

10. Always Play it Safe

This is the number one resume rule to break. Don't be afraid to take a risk with your resume. You may end up making a great impression on the right person.

Not all resume rules are meant to be broken, but ask yourself what might make your resume more compelling or easier to read. Your resume is not meant to be a cookie-cutter document, but a unique and interesting read that makes potential employers want to get to know you better.

Photo courtesy of Goldy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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