5 Tips on Writing an Effective Resume

ResumeWritingYou’ve just graduated college or chose to finally transition from your existing job to experience something new. That moment when you decide to embark on a different venture is a very exciting time indeed. Before you land your ideal job, there is a lot of work that goes into it– and it often starts with creating a great resume. After all, your resume is your first opportunity to grab a recruiter or hiring manager’s attention. However, you don’t want to be remembered for the wrong reasons. Below are five things to consider when developing your resume:

  • The Devil is in the Details – Proofread your resume. Have someone else proofread it and then proofread it again. While this sounds so basic (because it is), you would be surprised by how many HR managers receive resumes with errors. The reality is that even one typo in a resume can disqualify a candidate from what could be an ideal job. Prospective employers need to know that you take pride in what you produce. If you can’t represent yourself with pride, how can they expect you to take pride in your work?

Pro tip: Our consultants voiced that one of the most common mistakes they see on resumes is the improper capitalization of computer systems and applications. Make sure you are double checking how these are spelled.


  • Chronological or Functional? It Depends. – Chronological (or technically reverse chronological) resumes still represent the most desired resumes from a format perspective. According to S. News, “three out of four hiring managers say they prefer chronological resumes.” Why? Because employers want to see dates and get a clear picture of career progression. That said, you still want to highlight functional information, along with responsibilities and results, within each company section.

 Now, there are some instances where functional resumes are more appropriate for certain candidates, such as: college students with minimal experience or experience unrelated to their chosen career field; candidates with diverse experiences that don’t add up to a clear-cut career path; military transitioning into a field different from the work they did in the military; and others. In those situations, a functional format is often more suitable since the chronological listing lacks relevance.

  • Beware the Dated178781329 Resume – While resumes still need to cover the basics (required for years), you do not want to come off “old-school” based on the information provided. Doing so can potentially deem you as irrelevant, since you can potentially raise concerns about your own professional expertise.

Pro tip: Keep the resume concise (limiting it to one page, if possible); include social media links; avoid stating what are now assumed skills – e.g. Microsoft Office; eliminate the “References available upon request” line at the end; and eliminate anything else that can appear dated. Do you have a rotary telephone icon next to your number? Take it out.  

  • Results Matter – In the resume-writing process, much of the content is often centered around responsibilities, which is important. However, CBS News said the content that has the biggest impact on a candidate’s appeal when being considered for a position is content focused on quantifiable results. For example, if you are interviewing for a social media manager position, how much has online engagement and traffic increased at your previous company, as a result of your efforts. If you are interviewing for a sales role, how many deals did you close during the previous year? Also, while your team may have accomplished a lot in a given area, emphasize your individual role in generating those results.
  • 84517602Take the Time to Customize – It is very possible you are interested in jobs spanning different industries. And for each industry there is often a different resume expectation. Further, within that industry, each prospective company has its own nuances. Customize your resume accordingly. There is no such thing as a one-size-fits all resume. Yes, customizing your resume involves more time, energy and resources. However, your chances for positive payoff are much greater. Put yourself in the employer’s shoes. They are often deluged with piles of resumes. They don’t want someone that says they can simply do the job. They want someone who has the unique skillsets and clear passion for the job – made evident through a resume tailored for that unique role.

Pro tip: Know your audience. Avoid colors and pictures, unless you are applying for a position in a more creative field. On average you have about 15 seconds to make a good first impression, so make sure your strengths are listed first.

Bottom Line? While there is a lot to think about when it comes to building your resume, the most important thing is to be truthful and genuine in what you include. Your resume is a digital snapshot of you as a professional – a snapshot that will ultimately be viewed and shared by many. Take the time to do it correctly and your efforts will pay off.

Need more resume-writing guidance? Contact KNF&T and we can help!