Tips and Characteristics For Building a Good Resume 

The Resume: If done right, it’s your ticket in the door.  If done wrong, you’ll be challenged with even being considered.  Review these tips below to help you develop a resume that will truly impress any potential employer.

  • Make an effort to keep your resume to a maximum of two pages. The resume should be brief and informative. The one-on-one interview is the appropriate time to expand upon your experience and accomplishments so don’t try to tell your life story on the resume.
  • Put your resume together in chronological format; do not use a functional resume.  Functional resumes only confuse the employer since they have no idea which skills match up with the individual companies you’ve worked for.
  • Use Microsoft Word, not Adobe, Quark or other random format.
  • Use standard fonts that are easy to read. There are several elegant fonts out there, but being easy to read trumps all other considerations.  Remember, your priority is to transmit information; not have a flashy looking resume unless you are in marketing or sales.  Fonts that work well: Calibri, Times New Roman, Garamond, Book Antiqua.
  • Resume should start with personal information centered at the top. Follow your name with relevant credentials (i.e.  John Smith, CPA) and make sure to provide your contact information including telephone numbers, mailing and email addresses.
  • It is not necessary to list an objective and many times is the quickest way to end up in the “No” pile of resumes being reviewed because your objective “isn’t the right fit for this job”.  You may choose instead to replace it with a one or two sentence “Summary of Qualifications” to highlight your background and specific skill set.
  • Check verb tenses.  It’s an easy one to overlook that is generally wrong 9 times out of 10.  Current jobs should be described in present tense.  Previous jobs should be described in past tense.
  • Leave personal pronouns out.  I, we and you are not appropriate for the resume.  In the end, all the extra words used to support personal pronouns take up valuable space on your resume.
  • Employment history looks most appealing when formatted in this way and always start with your most recent employment first.
    • COMPANY NAME  City, State Mo/Year – Mo/Year
      One sentence description of company (revenue/industry)
      Job Title
    • Use a bulleted list of responsibilities, including qualified accomplishments when possible.  Narrative formats are difficult to read.  Start your sentences with a powerful verb and use dynamic words throughout your resume such as “achieved” and “successful”.  These tend to portray someone who gets the job done.
    • Make sure to include responsibilities that highlight ways you’ve made an impact in the company with tangible results.


    • Guided financial managers in the restructuring of processes and procedures, including the use of EDI, in reducing time to close from 8 to 5 business days, and reducing accounting staff by 6 FTE’s.
    • Implemented controls to reduce inventory losses by 30%.
    • Negotiated and managed state and local tax abatements and credits totaling more than $500,000.
  • If you have had a series of promotions, put the total tenure on top line across from Company and relevant position dates next to job titles in (  ).
  • Education should be listed at bottom of resume unless entry level.  While it is not absolutely necessary to include graduation date, it usually will be required on an application so never hurts to include it.  Same goes for GPA unless it was a 3.5 or above.  Always list highest degree earned first.
  • Additional skills including computer literacy, ERP Systems you’ve worked with and foreign languages should be listed at the bottom of the page.
  • Make sure to highlight your professional associations and licenses or certifications.  List the licenses above the associations and this can generally be included near the Education portion of your resume.
  • Highlight any awards and publications, make sure to include the title of the items and the dates.
  • It is not necessary include hobbies/interests or any other personal data not directly related to a job search.  You can discuss those in the interview when appropriate pending the interviewer inquires about them first.

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