What Makes a Good Resume?

Marti Smith, Career Consultant, Goodwill Columbus

Marti Smith is a Career Consultant with Goodwill Columbus. She’s also the organization’s in-house resume expert. We asked her for the top tips to writing a successful resume.

To learn more about Goodwill Columbus’s programs, listen to Rivet, Episode 5: The Certificate.


1. Strategy

  • Key information should be seen first
  • Industry specific skills tend to carry more weight than soft skills, but both can be effective
  • Explain three or more of your key attributes that relate directly to the job description in your Summary of Skills or Accomplishments
  • Choose a format: chronological, functional, or combination
  • Those with five years of experience rarely require more than one page for a resume

2. Mechanics

  • Double check your punctuation, capitalization
  • Proofread, proofread, proofread!
  • Check for consistency in line spacing – perfect formatting show the reader you’re detail oriented

3. Style

  • Trust your instincts and don’t be afraid to be creative in ways that you can to inject power and sizzle into your writing
  • Don’t be redundant and repeat things in both you resume and cover letter
  • Clearly communicate what you’re trying to say to the reader – the message is what is important!

4. Organization and Presentation

  • Again, be consistent with your formatting – inconsistency confuses the reader
  • If you’re printing this resume, don’t skimp and use cheap paper – be sure your characters, lines and images contrast well with the paper

In Conclusion

  • Check to make sure your ideas flow in a logical order
  • See if your word choice communicates your marketability
  • While proofreading, make sure that your resume is:
    • Inviting, attractive, appealing, and professional
    • Making smart use of white space
    • Consistently formatted
    • Using language that matches the job description
    • Grammatically sound
    • Prioritizing top skills
    • Presenting your key information in an accessible way



Comments (1)

  1. Jeannie January 1, 2019 at 3:10 pm

    Please share pointers for the new degreed college graduate. Employers who turn down young people with no experience can be very discouraging. The entire process of graduating and looking for gainful employment is daunting. Being rejected for having “no experience” only adds to the trauma. Thank You.

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