Series: How to Write a Resume (that gets job interviews)

This article is the introduction to a multiple part series on How to Write a Resume (that gets job interviews).

If you’re anything like my best friends, your resume probably sucks. Yes, I’m sure your skills, experiences, and qualifications don’t suck. But to be honest, very few job searchers know how to write a professional resume that consistently lands them a job interview.

I’ve been on both ends of the resume game. I’ve reviewed hundreds of resumes as part of a hiring team. I’ve also applied to numerous jobs in various fields using countless resume types, formats, samples, templates, presentations, and content. Over the years, I’ve discovered why few resumes stand out and why most end up lining kitty litter trays.

Resume Writing Series:
  1. What is a Killer Resume?
  2. 10 Resume Dos
  3. 10 Resume Sins
  4. Resume Anatomy
  5. 6 Sucky Resume Words
  6. 6 Resume Action Words
  7. 8 Resume Keywords
  8. 3 Resume Formats
  9. Free Resume Examples
  10. Free Resume Template

Resume writing is not rocket science. But your resume must impress the reader in seconds to be effective. Otherwise, your skills and experiences will be recycled faster than you can say, “paper shredder”.

About the Resume Writing Series

So how do you write a resume that impresses and gets you that golden job interview? There’s a knack to presenting your skills, education, and qualifications on paper. In this series I’m going to show you how to do it. I’ll also deal with these common resume writing issues:

  • How to organize all your resume information!
  • What should you include? What should you avoid?
  • What resume writing tips and tricks work?
  • How many pages? What format?
  • How to present problem situations like layoffs, job hopping, parenting, sickness, little experience, being fired.
  • Should you hire a resume writing service?
  • And much more!

I may just include a few free sample resumes, resume templates, and resume examples to help you along the way.

So now what?

Before you jump in and start revving up your resume, it may be a good idea to look inward first for some introspective thinking. No, I’m not going all Oprah on you. But before you can write some resume stuff, it would help to know what makes you tick! To get ticking, take a peek at this series:

Five Paths to Choosing Your Perfect Career:

  1. Five Ways To Find Your Passion (free printable worksheet)
  2. How To Find Your Strengths (free printable worksheet)
  3. How to Set Your Goals (free printable worksheet)
  4. 10 Tips to Nurture Your Network
  5. 10 Ways to Enhance Your Education

Another good way to get resume ready, is to find the right job! To get job hunting, try the ideas in this series:

Four Ways to Kick Start Your Job Hunt:

  1. How to Choose a New Career
  2. How to Find a Job
  3. How to Research a Prospective Employer
  4. How to Match Your Skills to Employer Requirements (free printable worksheet)

To not miss a single free resume hint or tip:
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Now sit back and get ready to write a resume that gets you job interviews.

Do you have any resume writing tips to share? Got any resume horror stories? Do you keep your resume up-to-date? Share in the comments below!

Your two cents:

  1. Michelle November 16th, 2008

    I think it the resume can be kept to one page they you are in good shape! If you have held similar jobs in the past…do not just cut&paste that same information…b/c they know.

    Unless this is specifically requested by the hiring manager leave the “objective” or “summay” section out! They are very rarely read by recruiters, no less the hiring manager….and OH NO if you for got to change it for this job and it was totally different!
    Hope this helps someone!

  2. Kerry November 17th, 2008

    @Michelle Your advice is solid! Thank you so much. I tend to waver on “objectives” and “summaries”. But yeah, when I was hiring and read someone’s objective saying, “To get a job in your marketing department” I would just laugh out loud. Totally useless. Leaving out the objective also makes a one-page resume more possible.

  3. Steve November 28th, 2008

    There are no simple steps to write a good resume but these are some good tips, I agree that writing a good description is important! If someone follows your advice they will have a solid resume for sure!

  4. mike January 9th, 2009

    Definitely don’t write an objective that says, “To land a career where I can consistently bang the interns.”

    The interviewer already knows this. It’s the same as saying to someone “I like yoo-hoo.” No shit! Everyone likes yoo-hoo!

  5. BJ Rakow April 8th, 2009

    The major reason for not writing an objective is because it tells the reader what you want. The employer could care less. Instead, write a summary or profile that tells them what they get. It’s a great marketing opportunity for you to state right up front what a great fit you are by virtue of your background, experience, accomplishments, etc.

  6. Catgurl April 14th, 2009

    Just stumbled on your site when I was looking up some bean recipes. What a fabulous site and your sense of humour is just great!

    As for your resume tips, they are great! I work in the Employment Counselling field for over nine years now and shake my head at some of the resumes I see.

    Not sure where you are located, but if peeps needs help with resumes, there are free job search services out there. Just need to look for them. Sure wish that I knew about them
    when I was out of school.

    Keep up the great work!

  7. Monevator May 2nd, 2009

    Fabulous series and well suited for the times.

    That said, I’ve sent readers here who are looking for a new job, but I hope I don’t have to read it too closely myself. ;)

  8. Teesie August 26th, 2009

    I have been to job interviews/hired and been complimented on my resumes. Of the hundreds of interviews I’ve gone for, I have rarely not been offered the job. I’ve also helped friends and offered my services out to help others get a great resume. Now, I am on the otherside where I review resumes and I know for sure what grabs my attention!

    Great article Fox!

  9. Lorraine September 11th, 2009

    Another reason for not including an objective on a resume is because it can be misinterpreted by the reader as an objective not in line with the position you are applying for. Better to leave it off & save the space!

  10. wayne November 5th, 2009

    Nice sharing indeed.

    Great piece of information, sometimes we just need some reminders.

  11. Robin Weaver April 19th, 2010

    I feel that the biggest problem with sending resumes is with the HR person that has to file those resumes. I believe alot of resumes get thrown away or just lost in the shuffle of day to day work that the HR person has to do. I have sent in hundreds of resumes in different formats and alot of those resumes were either never put on file or lost. Which ment about the time I sent in another resume I had already missed out on the position.

  12. AL January 30th, 2011

    I recently found your website and I’ve found some really valauble pieces of advice regarding writing a resume and hopefully landing a job. There is some great advice which I have already used.

    I was just a bit concerned though about the comment from one respondent regarding the use of photos and resumes. It was very dissapointing to hear this respondent write that good looking people are more likely to be offered the job. I really take issue with this. I’m not really into the idea of ‘self branding.’ A picture is only a picture and it doesn’t really tell that much of a story.

    At 47 I have a lot of skills and experience to offer in the workplace but I’ve had both health problems and a patchy work record over the last years. I would be very worried that I had gotten as far as an interview only to be turned down because I wasn’t the right age or the right gender. This is basically a form over content type argument.

    Job hunting is hard enough without this being facotored in as well.

    Maybe I’m just old fashioned but…??

  13. drbj January 30th, 2011

    Your photo does not belong on your resume. Use that document to pinpoint all your accomplishments that fit the job description of the position you are seeking.
    Including a photo is not only old-fashioned – it was done in the 50s and 60s – but it also removes all the mystery. Make me, the employer, want to contact you to learn more about who you are and what you can do for me.

  14. AL January 31st, 2011

    Thanks Drbj,

    What you say really makes a great deal of sense. And yes it does seem to take away that sense of mystery and wanting to know a bit more. I really agree with you on the very valid points you made.

    Looking at this issue I suppose too that is a cultural thing for me. I am British and a bit old fashioned and the thought of pushing oneself forward and branding like that can give the impression that you are a just a tad arrogant. The same idea goes when asking interviewers about salaries; This is often a big ‘no no’ in the UK and you might lose the chance for a job.

    In a nutshell the whole idea of ‘branding’ seems like something imported from another place and a very different culture. I’m not trying to offend; I just think that it’s interesting how different cultures. I am aware that people in the media do this, but it just seems slighlty amusing to be doing this for a job in the admin or commercial worlds.

    Sometimes it doesn’t do any harm to be just a little humble sometimes even if you are confident that you can get the job. There are other ways of getting a prospective employer to notice your CV. But nevertheless I think that this series of articles speaks a lot of very clear and concise sense.

  15. MLR June 29th, 2011

    One of the best websites for crafting a well written resume. Thank you for sharing your professional expertise, FOR FREE….very cool

  16. Karen February 23rd, 2013

    I do not want to offend anyone but even employers have likes and dislikes, that is why it is important to not only research the company but also the culture and the people employed there. The employer is not in the position to give you a job they want to solve a problem which hiring the best candidate to fill the empty position, it is your responsibility to convince the employer that you are the best candidate for the position and they will be observing the way you present yourself, speaking, walking, wardrobe and any other flaw to rule you out regardless of how good you look on paper you also have to look even better at the interview to demonstrate your qualities, skills, uniqueness, education etc.

  17. Lauri October 10th, 2013

    Thank you sooo much Fox ! I love your tips, and love how you use your fun sense of humor presenting them!! I have good qualifications, work experience, and confidant, yet have found myself so intimidated in this whole on line, impersonal way of trying to land the interview and get that call!! Your resume tips have helped me greatly! : ) Oh, and thank you for making me giggle !! PS….love your facebook stuff!!

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