Your must-read resume checklist

Your must-read resume checklist

How much time will a recruiter typically spend on a resume review before deciding whether to put it in the “yes” or “no” stack? Six seconds.

That’s a lot of pressure to put on a single piece of paper that basically determines if you’re going to move forward in the job search process. So, to put it simply, you want your resume to be as perfect as humanly possible.

Use this resume checklist to help you get a recruiter’s attention. You’ll know your resume is up to par if you can answer yes to the following questions:

First impression

Does the resume look original and not based on a template?
Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?
Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?
Is a career summary included so the reader immediately knows your value proposition?
Is the resume’s length and overall appearance appropriate given your career level and summary?


Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?
Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?
Are there design elements (bullets, bolding, and lines) to guide readers’ eyes through the document and highlight important content?
Is there a good balance between text and white space?
Are margins even on all sides?
Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?
If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?

Resume sections

Are all resume sections clearly labeled?
Are sections placed in the best order to highlight your strongest credentials?
Is your work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?

Career goal

Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal, as opposed to a one-size-fits-all document?
If this is a resume for a career change, does it include supporting details that show how your past experience is relevant to the new job?


Does the resume include a solid listing of your career accomplishments?
Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts, or other concrete measures of success?

Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?
Are your accomplishments separated from your responsibilities?


Is the information relevant to hiring managers’ needs?
Does your resume’s content support your career summary?
Did you include keywords, appropriate buzzwords, and industry acronyms?
Is applicable, additional information (awards and affiliations) included, and is personal information unrelated to the job (marital status, age, nationality) omitted?

Writing style

Did you avoid writing the resume in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns (I, me, and my)?
Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?
Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar, or syntax errors?


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