1. Spell check… the old-fashioned way. Spelling and grammar errors can be the kiss of death for resumes: They show employers that you don’t pay attention to detail. Computer spell-check programs don’t always pick up these errors, so make sure you proofread it yourself before handing it in. For insurance and a fresh perspective, have a friend look it over, too.
2. Put it in reverse chronological order. Organize your resume to reflect your most recent job at the top and include dates of employment. Employers tend to prefer these over functional resumes, which can be great if you’re switching career paths, but otherwise make it difficult to determine when you worked where and can hide employment gaps.
3. Simplify your language.Keep your sentences short and don’t worry about fragments. Leave out personal pronouns like “I,” “my” and “me.” Saying, “I performed” this or “I demonstrated” that is redundant. Who else would you be talking about if not yourself? Omit the articles “a,” “an” and “the.” Instead of “Coordinated the special events for the alumni association,” simplify it to say, “Coordinated alumni association special events.” Take out terms like “assisted in,” “participated in,” and “helped with.” If you assisted in managing client accounts, simply say, “Managed client accounts.” You can explain later what this role entailed. Change passive statements to active verbs. Saying “Coordinated client meetings” instead of “Ensured client meetings were coordinated” adds punch and clarity to a job description. Exclude words like “responsibilities” and “duties” under job listings. Your resume should focus on accomplishments, not tasks.
4. Eliminate clutter. Format your resume for consistency and easy reading. Bold, italicize or underline important headlines (just don’t do all three at once — that’s overkill). Create a bulleted list — not a paragraph formation — for job descriptions Use a standard font like 11 point Times New Roman or Arial. Fancier fonts are not only harder to read, but they may become garbled in an e-mail format. Combine series’ of short, odd jobs into one listing. (For example: “1999-2002 Barista — Village Cafe, Starbucks, Seattle’s Best…”)
5. Read it aloud.