Resume Writing Basics

The resume is a written overview of your value. It conveys the impact, outcomes and benefits of your work and shares the contributions you have made. Specifically, it highlights the RESULTS and ACCOMPLISHMENTS of your work. In other words, it offers the “so-whatʼs” of your career and is a “drill” down process where you are able to drill down to the most basic, bottom-line, specific results that you can come up with!
The accomplishments/results are what employers are interested in – and are the basis for behavioral interviewing, an interviewing process that most employers are using today.

Basic ingredients of a resume are:

HEADING – for your contact information. Be sure to include your Linkedin address.

SUMMARY – an overview of the “big picture” value you have to offer. This part of the resume reflects your “brand” – what are you known for? It is your advertisement, the essence of your value. It will hopefully share your “unique differentiators” and ideally offer a “hook” or “wow” statement that arouses the readerʼs curiosity enough to want to learn more about you. What “power statement” would entice a reader to want to interview you?

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE – In addition to employer, city, state, years of service and title, you may also use a general “overview” or responsibility statement. Such a statement will give an overview of the overall responsibility you were entrusted with for the position you held.

ACCOMPLISHMENT STATEMENTS – are the RESULTS related back to the responsibility you were given. Accomplishments are the foundation of your resume. They sell value and answer the important question – so-what??? Ask yourself “so-what” enough until you are able to answer with the most specific result that you can share. They will create the imagery of you as an “action” person and allow the reader to see the value you might be able to offer them – a great predictor of success with them. Effective accomplishment statements:

– Quantify and qualify by using numbers, dollars & percentages.
– Start with an action word, a verb that reflects your role and truly gives you credit for your contributions.
– Are creative in expressing your value, using strong, different action words throughout.

EDUCATION – formal education at a college or university

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING – training that has been provided by your employer internally or externally or additional training/development that you completed on your own.


Other possible headings can include the following:


COMMUNITY ACTIVITIES – or Corporate/Community Activities if also done on behalf of your employer.

SPECIAL SKILLS – example, language skills if you are bilingual

AWARDS/HONORS – listing special recognitions or awards you have been honored with. There could also be other appropriate headings, depending on your unique background, industry or skill sets (example – patents, publications, research, presentations).

A Few Extra Pointers

It is important that the resume is visually appealing to the reader, has plenty of white space on the right and left margins/top and bottom, is rich with accomplishments/results and is concise and to the point.
Get right to the point in as few words as possible. Be short and sweet with your value statements. Remember that readers will scan your resume and not read, especially the first time.
Busy eyes will scan straight down the page, not from left to right. Big paragraphs do not work!
Convey your value in as few words as possible, being very efficient with your choice of words.
Also, no need to use sentences or personal pronouns such as “I, we, they, our.” Instead of sentences, you will be using short, concise phrases.

IMPORTANT – The resume is not your job description or even a mini-job description. Duties and responsibilities do NOT sell. Results and accomplishments – the value you have established – and will take to your new employer – DO SELL!!!

Becky Tylka
Career Coach

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