Resume Writing School. Lesson 1: Keep It Simple

  • On March 3, 2014 ·
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Let’s talk about resume writing! The golden rule to keep in mind when sitting down to write, or re-write, your resume, is this:

Keep it simple, keep it relevant.

I see many resumes on a daily basis. Most suffer from both lack of focus and information overload. Let’s look at a few (imaginary) cases.

  • A customer service professional with four years work experience applying for a management position at a call center dedicates a section of a resume to hobbies: horseback riding, cooking, travelling the world.
  • A professional who’s had two careers, in non-profit management and marketing communications, writes about both, making it look like he’s been jumping back and forth between fields and functions.
  • A freelance translator with 6 years work experience writes extensively about her education (BA, MA, 3 exchange programs, a number of summer courses taken at different universities in Europe) at the expense of telling the reader more about her professional experience.

Do not make these mistakes. It is OK to keep a master resume that includes all of your experience, hobbies, educational information etc. You can draw on it in order to write a shorter, concise resume when applying for a specific job (graduate program, scholarship etc.). The actual resume you send out always needs to be tailor made to fit the requirements of whatever it is you are applying for! Here a couple of steps you’ll want to follow:

  1.  Have a clear idea of how you want to present yourself to the reader. Do you need to show off academics? Professional experience gained out of school? Creative accomplishments, like fiction publications and appearances?
  2. Hand-pick experiences, qualifications, and other skills that will present you in the best possible light and will convince the reader that you are a perfect fit for the position
  3. Get rid of all the extra information irrelevant to that specific job (school, internship) you are applying to.
  4.  Give the resume to someone who knows you well to look over to make sure you did not miss anything, or schedule a short resume review session with me!


In my next blog post: How to structure your resume, and what comes first: education or experience.

Written by: Anya Zhuravel Segal

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