by StreetWise Partners

September 16th, 2021



In honor of International Update Your Resume Month, we put together this helpful list of tips and resources!

  1. Pick the type of resume that best matches your qualifications. A chronological resume works well if you have experience in the field, while a functional resume is better for entry-level and field-switching applications or if you have a gap in your employment history. A combination allows for a blend of experience and skills.
  2. Federal resumes require additional detail about your background and experience in order for the hiring manager to have a comprehensive understanding of your previous experience. Unlike a normal resume that is one or two pages long, a federal resume is usually between four to six pages. Comprehensiveness is so that they can count every month of work (they are very serious when they say 4 years – if you worked 2 months as a librarian assistant, that counts – but it HAS to add up to 4 years in the end).
  3. Use a clean, professional font. For example, fonts like Times New Roman, Georgia and Tahoma are usually easy for most people to read. Make sure the font you choose has consistent spacing and looks good both on-screen and printed. Keep the font size between 9 and 12 points in order to maintain readability and presentation.
  4. Using resume bullet points helps break large chunks of information into short, manageable pieces. Hiring managers seldom have the time or energy to read a resume that is written entirely in paragraph format.
  5. Use a professional sounding email address, ideally with nothing other than your name, a number or profession if needed. Good examples include “,” “,” or
  6. Understand what the hiring manager is looking for- Before you begin creating your resume, review the job posting and the company’s website. Take careful consideration when determining what you plan to include. Focus on the company’s culture, keywords you want to include and what is expected of you in this role.
  7. The first few lines of your resume are among the most important when grabbing an employer’s attention. You can make a good first impression with a compelling summary. At the top of your resume, the summary or overview section should highlight your key skills, experience, qualifications and achievements.
  8. Only include your high school education if it’s your highest level. If you have a college degree, it implies you earned a high school diploma or GED.
  9. One area which is an excellent way to bolster your internship resume is in honorary societies, fraternities or other affiliations you have garnered. Membership in national associations pertinent to the posting can reflect well on you and help you land the position.
  10. Lead with your degree at the top of each school’s section, and provide it with bold text, italics or some other form of emphasis. Include the university beneath it without emphasis. Your degree is typically more important than the school where you received it, and employers will want to see it first.
  11. After inputting your education entry, include your graduation date immediately after. Open a parenthesis and with a short phrase, explain your expected graduation occurs on a specific date.
  12. Remove the dates on your education if you graduated more than three years ago. Receiving a degree or diploma is usually more important than the dates you received it.
  13. Tailor it to your industry and the job you’re applying for- Be sure to prioritize employment experience that showcases applicable qualifications. If you were applying for a job as a newspaper reporter, the hiring manager would benefit more from knowing about your skills as a college reporter than as a babysitter. Include only relevant positions that let your future employer know you understand what they are looking for in an employee.
  14. Write your most recent place of employment at the top of the list and continue down in chronological order through your prior work experience.
  15. Lead the section for each prior job with your job title, not the name of the employer. In fact, any added emphasis should go to the job title over the employer. Unless your prior employer is an industry leader that could impress the hiring manager, your role is significantly more relevant than the company.
  16. Add skills that separate you from your competition. When applying for a journalism position, for example, word processing skills can be assumed, and the space better used noting investigative reporting or data analysis abilities.
  17. Give clear examples on how you contributed to success in your previous roles. Highlight your qualifications and accomplishments to show your ability. Include strong action verbs that exemplify your talents. However, using numbers shows your experience, skills and abilities more clearly and accurately than descriptions do.
  18. Incorporate keywords into your resume organically by replacing general words and phrases with specific ATS keywords whenever you can. ATS software will reject applications that use keyword stuffing in attempts to fool it, so simply adding a list of stock keywords to your resume will actually hurt your chances. Your resume must be readable and not just searchable.
  19. Some words will be more effective than others in describing your specific skills and experiences. First, take the time to review the job posting and identify which requirements align with your strengths and experiences. Then, look for power words that describe those accomplishments and attributes.
  20. Include only recent awards and certifications unless there is an exceptional reason to keep an older accommodation.
  21. If you want to add your language proficiency skills to your resume, you’ll want to know how to evaluate your proficiency in a proper way to your employer. There are multiple language proficiency frameworks that can guide you with this. Here are two examples: Interagency Language Roundtable scale (ILR) and American Council on the Teaching of Foreign Languages (ACTFL)
  22. It is not necessary to include statements like, “References available upon request” as employers will typically ask for references later in the hiring process only of prospects under final consideration.
  23. Verify that your information on your resume is consistent with any online resumes or portfolios that an employer may review when considering you for the position.
  24. Proofreading gives you a second chance to make your resume error-free before it reaches an employer. Check and correct the resume for grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and readability issues. You can also ask a friend to look over it for you. An online spellchecker can also help you find and correct some of the more common spelling errors.
  25. Save your resume in a professional format and title. The standard option is a PDF titled “FirstNameLastNameResume.pdf.” You can use spaces or a dash between your name and resume if desired for aesthetics, as most modern systems can handle such characters in filenames without a problem.


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