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23 Rules of Thumb for Resume Writing and its Length


Writing a resume is a process which involves a lot of intelligence and skill. Resume writing is considered to be an art of selling yourself in an effective way. Writing a resume is one of the most important steps if you are in search of a job. A resume creates an impression about the person who has applied for a job in the mind of the employer and helps him or her to grab the job easily beating all others.

rule of thumb resume writing

What are the Key Resume Components:

A typical resume consists of various components which give all the necessary details about you. The components of a perfect resume are mentioned below:

  • Contact details
  • Job objectives
  • Education information
  • Employment history
  • Skills and talents
  • Awards and accolades
  • References

A resume can only be considered to be complete and appealing when all these required fields have the required info. By providing all the correct and relevant info and presenting them in a unique way, you can make your resume stand out of the crowd thus capturing the attention of the job-giver right at the first glance.

Rule Of Thumb – What is It?

The ‘Rule of Thumb’ means that when you take a resume and place your thumb on that page, the space above your thumb should include the details which are more important and the space below the thumb can contain lesser important details. Following this rule, you can make your resume really precise and to-the-point so that your employer will be able to see all your details at a glance without going through your complete resume in case of urgency. So, it increases your chances to get hired by a great extent as your resume will not be thrown in the heaps of unwanted, long and boring resumes whose turn never comes.

Rule of Thumb for Resume Writing and Resume Length:

Since resume writing is considered to be an art, you should keep in mind a number of rules also known as the “Rule of Thumb” while preparing an impressive resume, some of which are detailed below:

1. A cover letter is important:

This is one of the most important rules of thumb while writing a resume. You should include a cover letter while sending a resume as this is the first step which will help your resume get through. This process is extremely important to grab the attention of the prospective employer immediately.

2. Include a summary of skills section:

A section with a short summary of your skills will help in making your resume look more attractive to the employers. By going through this section, it will be easier for the employers to decide the reasons why you should be chosen. Students, who have just stepped out of college, just avoid this section because they feel that they do not have any skills to mention, but, they can fill the section with any skills that they have. This is a vital and most important rule of thumb that needs to be finished.

3. Job requirements:

One of the most important facts which you should keep in mind before starting to write a resume is that it should be prepared in such a way that it suits the job requirements of the post which you have applied for. You should change your resume according to the job type because each job requires different set of talents and skills. In case you do not have much experience that is required for a particular job, you can get creative and can mention ways in which the skills and experience that you have can be used for the job that you have applied for.

4. Include a section about education & qualifications:

This section is considered to be extremely important in a resume. It provides all the necessary details regarding your education and your qualifications. In this section, you can write about the degrees that you have achieved and the courses that you have completed successfully. Make sure that you only write about an education program that you have completed because this will prove that you have the determination to complete things.

5. Include your work experiences:

A perfect resume will have a section which provides details regarding your work experience, with the latest job on top and the oldest one at the last. Keep it short and simple by describing each job in just one line. You can also use bullets to mention your achievements in each job.

6. Make reasonable use of space:

This is another major aspect of the rule of thumb for resume writing. Don’t give too much space between sentences and paragraphs, neither make them too congested and stick together. The trick is reasonable and sensible use of space to make your points clear and attractive.

7. Do not beat around the bush:

You should ensure that you write points which are only relevant for the job and should avoid providing irrelevant information as it just frustrates the employer. This is considered to be an important rule of thumb. The employer is an extremely busy man, so, they take very less time to go through a resume. So, you should get to the point quickly to attract the attention of employer.

8. Use Keywords to attract prospective employers:

Using keywords in your resume which are taken from the job description of the post that you have applied for is an extremely effective rule of thumb to attract the attention of the prospective employers. Some employers make use of search engines to find suitable candidates and they do so by using keywords. In such cases, mentioning keywords will be very effective. Not only this, when you submit a resume directly also, a prospective employer will first look for the keywords from the job description.

9. Use active verbs and complete sentences:

Make sure that you write your resume using complete sentences as this will help you to be more descriptive in your approach. Using effective action verbs to describe your skills and talents is an excellent way to impress the employers. Boring descriptions of your skills and abilities will put off the employers. Remember that you should not overdo or exaggerate about your skills. Make sure you choose action verbs which are suitable for the job that you have applied for.

10. Use numbers to attract attention:

Quantifying your resume is an excellent way to make your resume more effective. If you add numbers to describe your experience, it will attract the attention of the employer. Describing your work in numbers helps in making your resume more specific and also helps you in showcasing your abilities and achievements.

11. Professionalism matters a lot:

Professionalism is considered to be one of the key features of writing a resume. This factor is related to the contact details section. Make sure you use an e-mail id which has a professional touch and not one which sounds immature. Always please be thoroughly sure that the contact details that you have submitted are correct. The language that you use in the resume should also be extremely professional as language matters a lot.

12. Make the resume pleasing:

The resume should be prepared in an aesthetic way so that it pleases the employer and more importantly, the resume should be legible because if the employer is unable to read the resume, they will just toss it out of the window. Make sure you use a font size which can be read easily and including images in your resume is not recommended. Use enough spaces in the matter and making use of bullet points will help the employer easily get an idea about your achievements and other details.

13. Avoid repetition:

Another rule of thumb is that whenever you write a resume, you should always mention the latest work experience at the top and the earlier work experiences at the last. After framing it this way, make sure that you do not repeat any fact again because this makes the resume look repetitive, this can be a turn off for the employer.

14. Never lie in your resume:

If you lie in your resume and get caught, the reputation will follow you wherever you apply for a job. It will spoil your entire career. People often get tempted to exaggerate about their skills and experiences in order to get jobs which have a higher pay scale. Later on, if you are employed in the job, your employer will get to know the real truth and this can be a bad reputation for you.

15. Avoid grammar and spelling mistakes:

Before submitting your resume, you should always thoroughly check for any grammar mistakes and spelling mistakes because if there is any spelling or grammar mistake, it will spoil the entire resume. It creates a bad impression about you in the mind of the employer because they think that if you can’t even correct small mistakes, you will not be an efficient worker. Do a spell check after writing the resume and also show it to some of your family members or closed ones so that they can review the resume.

16. Do not reveal employment gaps:

If you have longs gaps in between your earlier jobs, make sure that you do not reveal them. This can be done by choosing the correct resume format. A functional resume will be perfect in such situations because in this type of resume, you do not have to mention any dates, which will help in hiding the employment gaps. Employment gaps will make the employer sceptical as to why you left the job.

17. Do not include hobbies and interests:

If you are new to writing a resume, make sure that you do not add any section which gives details regarding your hobbies and interests because the employer is interested in your skills, which you can use for the betterment of the company. In case any of your skills are helpful for the company, you can mention them in the additional skills section.

18. Send in PDF format:

Before sending a resume, make sure you send it in PDF format because this will ensure that the employer can see the entire resume exactly like you had designed it, no matter whichever program you had used to prepare this resume.

19. Use an attractive template:

Using an attractive template for your resume will make you stand out from the rest of the applicants. There are various websites online which provide you with various options of templates.

20. Resume should be eye friendly:

The resume should be formatted in such a way that it is extremely eye friendly. Use enough spaces so that your resume does not have a clustered look. A clustered resume can discourage an employer from even starting to read the resume.

21. Include achievements at work:

Another major rule is to include details about any of your achievements in your previous jobs. This will help in proving your capabilities to the employer.

22. Go through few resume samples:

If you go through a few resume samples before preparing your resume, it will give you an idea about how you should write one. You might also come across some unique ways to present your resume.

23. Do not keep bragging about yourself:

Do not keep bragging about yourself because this does not create a good impression about you. You need to highlight your qualities, but, do not overdo it.

Keeping all these rules of thumb in mind, you can come up with an extremely impressive resume that will attract the prospective buyers at the first look itself. Ensure that your resume is crafted perfectly to provide an accurate reflection of your personality.