Resume Writing Tips for Everyone

A resume is your opportunity to show a prospective employer about your background and skills. Taking a little time to learn how to write a resume could help you create a resume that brings out your best attributes.

Take a moment to read these resume tips, and use them again after you have written your resume to make sure you have covered as many of the tips as you can. And most of all, don’t get discouraged. Writing a good resume takes time, but it is worth the effort!

1. Include all your contact information at the top

  • Include your full name, mailing address, 10-digit phone number, and email address.
  • Be sure your voicemail greeting is business-like and appropriate for a potential employer to hear.
  • Set up an email account with a professional-looking address. If possible, use your “firstname.lastname” in the address. Do not use unprofessional-sounding addresses like “cutegirl1991” or “djrocks1998.”

2. Write an objective that shows your knowledge of the field

  • Your objective statement should show how you want your skills to be of benefit to the employer.
  • Rather than saying, “I want to be a medical biller at your office,” you could say, “Objective: to use my skills in medical billing and coding to help the billing department at [potential employer] run smoothly and efficiently.”

3. Highlight your skills and certifications

  • List your skills including clinical skills, administrative skills, computer skills, and any other workplace skills.
  • Modify your skills list for the job ad’s keywords. Look at the job posting, and try to re-word your skill list so that you are using the same terminology as the job ad. This way, if a computer is scanning resumes for keywords, your resume may get noticed. This means you may need to change your resume slightly for every job you apply for.

4. Include past employment

  • Include the name of the employer, city and state, as well as the years you worked there.
  • If you completed a job-related internship or externship, you can include it in this section or in the “education” section.
  • For each job, include your title, plus one or two brief lines about what you did in that job, using action words and quantifiable results. Instead of saying, “Was responsible for customer service,” you could say, “Helped customers choose products, responded to customer complaints, and handled customer returns; served approximately 100 customers per day.”

5. Include your education and certifications

  • List the names of schools you attended, their city and state, and the year of your graduation.
  • If you have obtained any diplomas or certifications that are relevant to the job, include the name of the certificate and when you earned it.

6. Have solid references ready

  • Many people choose to write “references available on request” rather than list names on the resume. That is okay.
  • If you do need to provide names with the resume, include the name, job title, phone number, and email address for 2 to 3 solid references.
  • If you have any contacts in your new career field, such as an externship supervisor or classroom instructor, these contacts will be stronger, since they have knowledge of the career field.

7. Be careful how you format your resume

  • Keep your resume to one page.
  • Ask someone to read your resume to look for mistakes or parts that are unclear.
  • You should make two versions of your resume: (1) A visually-appealing version that can be printed as a hard copy or sent as a PDF, (2) a minimally-formatted version that can be used for online submissions where a computer will be scanning it.
  • In order to make a visually-appealing printed resume, you can use a resume template from your word processing software, or create your own design. Try to keep your design simple and dignified. You can use this version of your resume if you are printing the resume on paper, or if you are submitting it as a PDF to a specific person. Do not use this version if you think a computer will be reading your resume.
  • If you are submitting your resume online or believe that your resume will be scanned by a computer, then it is safer to remove all the formatting. You can use asterisks (*) or hyphens (-) instead of bullet points, and a line of equal signs (====) or tildes (~~~~) to separate sections of your resume. Use a very common font such as Times New Roman or Arial.

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