Resume Writing on Your Own

If you plan to write a resume yourself, it can be intimidating. Resume writing has become a specialized business and is one of the most important elements in getting a job interview. Many people turn to professional resume writers to craft the perfect resume and resume cover letter. Here’s why:

"Many executives today are living in a vacuum when it comes to having a powerful results-driven resume," says Peter Newfield, president of Career Resumes and "The Resume Expert" for "More than 85% of the resumes that come into our offices for evaluation need major surgery. People just don't have a clue as to what is necessary to compete in today's labor market. They don't realize that they are competing with hundreds of people for the same job whose credentials are equal to and sometimes greater than their own.

If their resume isn't a winner, it's a killer. A resume should be a marketing piece, not a document of past history. Done poorly, as most are, it will virtually guarantee that the individual will never get past the front door. Even if they have the correct information on their resume, if the format (visual presentation) isn't "Tiffany," with the volume of resumes that come in to a company on a job posting, they won't get called." As Mr. Newfield states in his articles on HeadHunter.NET and Net-Temps, "The resume must get past the gate keeper whose job it is to screen paper out, not in. A resume's job is not to get you a job; it's to get you a phone call inviting you in. Once that happens, you can rip the resume up; the resume has done its job.".

Professional resumes are one choice, and there are many companies on this site that we recommend. But if you write well, if you're good at analyzing and problem-solving, and if you have someone who will serve as an copy-editor for you (never proof your own material), you can do it yourself, and there are many resources on this site to help you.

The best place to begin is by looking at industry-related and job-specific web sites. Doing this will give you an idea of keywords to use in your resume. The emergence of online resume services has brought a dramatic change in the way resumes are constructed. Electronic and software scanning have now become widely used methods of screening resumes, eliminating the need for humans to do the job in most cases. Resumes must now emphasize keywords and industry specific terms and acronyms.

Next, take a look at resume examples and resume formats. You will also want to look at job-specific resumes for help in crafting a resume appropriate for a specific job. You will find resume help and resume tips on every page in this web site. Start with the points listed below. And good luck!

General Suggestions for Resume Writing On Your Own

  • Use short and crisp sentences that are structured around keywords; select your keywords carefully -- they should reflect your ability to do what the position you're applying for requires.
  • Bulleted points let the reader scan through your achievements quickly. Avoid a cluttered appearance and use lots of white space.
  • Choose action phrases such as led, monitored, developed, participated, presented, or designed. Often placement agencies and large employers have the resumes scanned electronically. These scanners search for the action phrases and keywords that best fit in with the profile of the job offered. If these words are missing, your resume may not get selected even though you may have the necessary qualifications and experience.
  • Give the numbers wherever applicable. Being specific with figures can very often be the deciding factor between getting an interview or not. Use percentages and amounts in dollars in order to highlight the scope of your activities and to show the significant difference that you made for your previous employers.
  • Get an understanding of the potential employer's requirements. Structure the content of your resume specifically for the job you're applying for, not just for any job in the industry. Place the most relevant points in the beginning of the resume to get the reader's attention. To do this, read their requirements carefully, check your resume and edit it if necessary, so that it answers to their requirements in the best possible manner.
  • Keep the length of your resume within the standard limits - usually between 1-2 pages.
  • Do not send out your resume until it has been looked over for errors and content by at least one trusted friend.

With all of the resources available to help you, you can be confident that you will write a great resume. If you would like to read what some other resume professionals have said, click on resume articles.