Career Development
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5 Simple but Helpful Resume Tips, Inspired by 1000's of Job Seeker Clients

Shannon Terry
· Jul 28, 2022

5 Simple But Helpful Resume Tips, Inspired by Client Experience

By Shannon Terry, Resume Confidence 

Here’s a collection of resume writing tips that are inspired by the simple mistakes I continue to constantly see in the original resumes of my clients.  Please, no need to be ashamed, though, these are VERY common errors.

I originally posted these on my social media pages, and based on the comments on and “Likes” on those posts, it seemed many job seekers found them helpful. I hope you do, too.  Sometimes small changes  can = large improvements!


Random Resume Tip #1: Your resume file name should be FirstNameLastNameResume, or something similar.

Why does this matter? If you want to help the recipient find yours easily, and not make THEM make the effort to rename it for faster access & recall, don’t send files named “Resume2020”, “MyResume” or other generic titles.

I see these all.the.time. (and rename them all…if you are a hiring manager, recruiter, etc. seeing 100’s/day…well, the applicants that make it easy  for them do stand out….)


Random Resume Tip #2: No.Resume.Templates/Builders. !! 

 I have said this before, but probably 1/2 of the resumes I see are created using one. I know, these are very popular,  and prolific, but I just can't recommend them.

  1. They LOOK like a template, ‘cookie cutter’, like everyone else. Plus, many people don't know how to use them well, either (they don't know how to or forget to delete unneeded sections or the prompt text - eeks! Looks bad!)
  2. Some templates may skew in some resume scanning systems (aka ATS / applicant tracking systems). I don't like taking that chance, though many will. 

What to do instead: I think a self-formatted, simple, clean, professional document written in MS Word (not BY Microsoft) is the safest and thus best way to go!

You want to stand out! Start with a better format (though content is king, style matters!)


Random Resume Tip #3:  Most fonts are too small at 10 point

Don’t try to cram in a ton of info by making the font smaller. (or on a similar vein, your margins skinnier)  

Less  content that is (powerful and relevant and) still readable is much better! 

And no, don’t assume the reader will just take the time to make the screen view larger to accommodate your small font. As said above, always make it EASY for the reader of  your resume. Always.

Related Bonus Tip 3.5:  Stick with common font styles that will be recognized by any software / technology:  Arial, Cambria & Calibri are the ones I tend to use though there are a few others.


Random Resume Tip #4: Learn how to SET and use TABS if you are going to format/write your own resume (vs. hiring a writer)

Do NOT use ‘space space space’ 20+ times or just hit tab, or even worse, use random columns to indent things! Table are a no-no, too! I know, this is surprising to many! 

Oh lordy, resumes sooo easily become a mess otherwise when formatting “shifts during flight” between different computers & versions of word processing programs. Also, the tables and columns especially can skew and be misread in resume scanning software (aka ATS / applicant tracking systems) using columns or tables, so I don't recommend using those for any type of formatting of your resume.

Note: Yes, some of you may be (rightly) saying that using a PDF file (vs. sending your Word doc) removes this risk. True. I still say it's best to properly format your Word doc in case you  have to use it, you forget to make a PDF version after tweaking your Word doc again, and accidentally use the Word version, etc. Better safe than sorry!


Random Resume Tip #5:  Objectives on a resume are the best way to show you are out of touch

What does this example Objective statement *really* tell anyone about you & your skills/experience/goals, anyway? 

EX  (often generic) Objective: "To thrive in a dynamic environment that will constantly challenge me to learn and utilize my superior sales and service acumen while offering opportunity for promotion and long-term growth.” 

Not much. And it's all about what YOU want (not how you can be of benefit to the company/employer - another ineffective approach)

Do this instead: Use Summaries, “branding” titles & similar headings - these are much more effective, modern, & better use of space.  These give the reader a quick glance synopsis of your key skills and experience that (hopefully!) match THEIR needs and the job's requirements. MUCH more relevant to the reader - and thus more likely to capture the employer's attention, which increases your chance of an invitation to interview!


Remember, sometimes the little things can make a BIG, and positive, impact on the success of your job search! 



Shannon Terry has been a Resume Writer and Owner of Resume Confidence: Resume Writing & Interview Coaching for more than 15 years, with an early career background in corporate training and education.

She's seen this business from all angles: as an independent writer, in corporate career services, college career centers, government sponsored workforce development programs and as a contract/behind the scenes resume writer for large online resume writing services. 

Her approach has, and always will be, to educate, encourage, and thus empower job seekers to “reclaim their job search mojo.”

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