How To Write an Effective Resume

Resume Writing Tips

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What Is a Resume?

A resume is a compilation of your work experience, academic experience, and accomplishments. Resumes are usually used by employers and admissions committees who want to know more about a particular candidate. 

Effective vs. Ineffective Resumes

The main difference between an ineffective resume and an effective resume is that an ineffective resume gets ignored, and an effective resume leads to a follow-up phone call of interview request.  

The Most Important Aspect of Resume Writing

Resume writing can seem like an intimidating task, but it’s actually easier than you think. Your resume only has one job to do: It must pique the interest of your potential employer. That’s it. It doesn’t have to tell your life story and it doesn’t have to answer every question a potential employer might have.

Detail Previous Experience

Detail your previous experience. Think about your background and past experiences. Take what you learned in business school and apply it to the job you seek. Emphasize relevant skills and related accomplishments.

Academic Experience

Academic qualifications can really give your resume an edge. If you have degrees, certifications, or specialized training, note it. Try to include any related unpaid work that you have done, such as internships. You'll also want to detail any certifications or licenses that you hold.


Think very carefully before listing your hobbies on your resume. A good rule of thumb is to avid mentioning your hobbies unless they directly apply to the job that you are going out for. Concentrate only on what demonstrates your value; leave everything else out. If you are going to include your hobbies, make sure that they are hobbies that look good on a resume.

Use Industry Terms

Using industry terms in your resume is a good idea. It is also smart to use these terms to tailor your resume. To do this, start by researching the companies that interest you. Next, read publications or websites directly related to your target industry. Are there particular requirements that are frequently mentioned? If so, use these requirements as keywords throughout your resume. Learn more about how to write a targeted resume.

Resume Action Words

As you are writing, try not to use the same words over and over. Avoiding repetition will make your resume more exciting. Drop in some of the following action words to jazz things up a bit:

  • Accomplished
  • Achieved
  • Attained
  • Completed
  • Created
  • Delivered
  • Demonstrated
  • Enhanced
  • Expanded
  • Improved
  • Increased
  • Managed
  • Obtained
  • Performed
  • Produced
  • Secured
  • Succeeded
  • Surpassed

See more examples of action words and power verbs for your resume.

Resume Structure and Layout

Next, make sure everything is neatly typed and spelled correctly. Your resume should be eye-catching without being flashy. Above all, it should be easy to read. If you need ideas for layout and resume structure, find resume samples online or go to the library and study a book. Both outlets will offer many examples of professionally written resumes. (A great online place is:

Resume Proofreading

When your resume is finished, read it over carefully and make sure that it properly demonstrates your value as an employee. Use this resume proofreading checklist to catch everything. If you have written an effective invitation to employers, all you need to do now is sit back and wait for the phone to ring.