9 questions to see if your professional resume is ready or not

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image of hand with pen proofreading a resume by laptop.

Be sure to have your resume in front of you as you go through each question.


  1. Sufficient “white space”: White space not only makes your resume look better and easier to read, but it provides a great first impression of how you present yourself on paper.


  1. Appropriate tense: Write about previous jobs in past tense. For your current job, write accomplishments in past tense and job responsibilities in present tense. Avoid the use of “I” in a resume.


  1. Too many pages: Your resume should never be more than two pages. A hiring manager will toss a long resume before he even gets started or place it at the bottom of the pile. A candidate once sent us a 19-page resume. What do you think we did with it?


  1. Grammatical problems: With software spell checks, there’s no excuse for misspelled words. None! We recommend that you ask a friend with good English skills, preferably not in your immediate family, to proof your resume. If you know a recruiter or human resources professional, let them look it over, too.


  1. Bullets for ease of reading: Make your work history tight and easy to read. Remember, recruiters see a lot of resumes. Concise bullets can highlight your responsibilities and accomplishments.


  1. Job history confusion: We worked with one candidate, perfect in every respect, but it appeared on his resume that he had worked for three different companies in four years — not a good sign. When we checked, he explained his company’s ownership had changed three times, but he remained at his job through the buyouts. Be sure to designate any buyout or merger on your resume so it doesn’t look like you’re job-hopping.


  1. Degree uncertainty: In addition to listing your college and major, make sure to designate your degree – such as B.S., B.A., M.S. or A.S. Otherwise, it appears you did not complete your degree.


  1. Consistent formatting: Pick an easy-to-read format, font and writing style and stick with it. You never want an unusual font that’s distracting. Arial is clean and a safe choice. Calibri is a good option, too.


  1. Correct contact information: We’ve seen resumes with incorrect phone numbers or e-mail addresses — even no e-mail address at all. Make sure all of your contact information is up to date!

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