The Absolute Rules of Resume Writing

Posted in Career Blog

There are several different ways to construct a resume, depending on the position. Several people could turn in resumes with varying language styles, organizational techniques, and emphases—and all of these resumes could still be excellent. Yet there are some hard and fast rules of resume writing that apply to everyone across the board. These rules must be followed in order to produce the best resume possible.


First and foremost, it’s important to proofread your resume, and to have someone else proofread it as well. In a competitive job market where many people applying for the same position boast similarly laudable skills and experience, the smallest mistake can ruin one’s chances of getting an interview. Employers might view typos as a sign of someone’s poor attention to detail and carelessness, and therefore minor errors can sometimes be a deal breaker, with the result that your resume barely gets consideration.

Be Honest

Another cardinal rule of resume writing is maintaining honesty at all times. It might be tempting to embellish your work experience or your skills in order to increase your chances of obtaining an interview, but that is dangerous—not to mention unethical. If an employer asks you to demonstrate a false skill you’ve listed, you’ll find yourself in a tight spot, forced to either admit dishonesty or continue to lie. Moreover, if a potential employer conducts a background check only to discover you’d lied on your resume, your chances of ultimately getting the job at all will be lost, and your reputation in the field may even be damaged.

Focus on the Positive

In addition to being honest and editing your resume for style and clarity, it’s important to always focus on the positive aspects of your work history and education. Remember, this is your opportunity to put your best face forward. If there have been gaps in your work history for any negative reasons, for example, it is not necessary explain this on the resume. Simply list the work you’ve done and the education you’ve completed, and allow your accomplishments to speak for themselves. Should you get called in for an interview, you can explain any gaps in work or education at that time, if necessary.

Avoid Unnecessary Information

Another important rule of thumb to follow when writing a resume is staying on topic. To make sure your resume is focused and as concise as possible, omit any unnecessary or irrelevant information. For example, if you are applying for a job as an accountant, there’s no need to list your high school job as a lifeguard at the pool. Instead, focus on those jobs and experiences that have helped you hone skills essential to the accounting position.

While it is possible to tailor your resume to your own personality and to the job for which you are applying, it is also important to adhere to certain absolute rules. Following these guidelines will help prevent any embarrassing faux pas and will, of course, increase your chances of getting called in for a job interview

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