Common Resume Elements and How to Present Them Correctly
The first “rule” to keep in mind when writing your resume is that your document must be written entirely in first person (you’re talking about yourself after all) with the pronouns removed. If you’re not sure if what you’ve written is in proper resume speak, test it by adding the “I” in front of the phrase:
Trains staff of 20 and administers budget of $20K.
Test: I trains staff of 20 and administers budget of $20K. INCORRECT
Correct: I train staff of 20 and administer budget of $20K.
Use the guide below once you’ve mastered this general rule to make sure you present your information correctly. Most of these errors won’t be found by a computerized spellcheck, so it’s crucial that you carefully review your resume to ensure your document is free of errors.
FACTS & FIGURES
|Saved over $200K in production costs.||Saved more than $200K in production costs. OR Saved $200K+ in production costs.|
|Elevated profits by $4–$5M and reduced errors by 2–3%.||Elevated profits by $4M–$5M and reduced errors by 2%–3%.|
Should I use the K, M, and B symbols or write out thousand, million, and billion? Do I have to use “by” before the number? Technically, any of these options are correct – however, make sure you are CONSISTENT. Pick one strategy and use it throughout your document. Don’t go back and forth.
|Master’s of Nursing||Master of Science in Nursing, Master’s degree|
|Bachelors of Business Administration||Bachelor of Business Administration|
|Associate’s Degree||Associate’s degree|
|Bachelors’ of Arts||Bachelor of Arts|
When in doubt, verify the title of your degree with your college/university.
|Highly-knowledgeable professional||Highly knowledgeable professional|
|High quality services||High-quality services|
|Poorly-performing territory||Poorly performing territory|
|Completed on-schedule||Completed on schedule ORon-schedule completion|
Basic rule of thumb: if the modifier ends in –ly, do not use a hyphen.
DASHES vs. HYPHENS
|Hyphen –||Combines two words: multimillion-dollar|
|En Dash –||Replaces the word “to”: $35K–$50K, 2007–2009|
|Em Dash —||Works similar to parenthesis, however can be more dynamic: Recruited nearly 90 new hires—a department record—by conducting on site job fairs.|
YEARS OF EXPERIENCE
|15 years experience||15 years’ experience|
|15 years’ of experience||15 years of experience|
Remember, years’ = years of, just as don’t = do not.
I hope you find this guide helpful as you work on your resume, and if there are other “rules” you are unsure of, please share them here with a comment or email your questions directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And of course: