CV / Resume Writing Advice

Writing resumes (or curriculum vitae, CV) is an entirely different discipline to creative or normal business writing. The rules you learn through normal writing regarding grammar, spelling and punctuation are extremely important in resume writing, even if the creative aspect is not required.

Since your resume is a shop window for you and is, more often than not, the first and only impression that you will give a recruiting employer, it is imperative that you ensure it is written to the highest standard you can manage. The resume writing advice here is basic writing advice for anyone that can be applied to writing resumes. It may allow you to write your resume yourself without the need for specialist resume writers or resume writing services and will allow you to submit it to prospective employers, confident in the knowledge that it is all your own work. Some believe there is something rather dishonest about having your resume written for you as it doesn’t provide an insight into your own written communication skills.

Poor language or spelling will reflect badly on you. Rightly or wrongly, a prospective employer will take this as an indication of your general level of literacy. For this reason, the editing and checking advice on our editing and revising page is equally as valid as the language and punctuation advice. Modern word processing applications have spell checking software so make sure you use it but make sure you do a grammar and spell check together, by proofreading your resume after you've written it.

When writing resumes, don't rush, take your time. Make sure you have addressed all of the points possible. Use the advice given in this website on editing and proofreading, to ensure that your sentences are as efficient as possible. This means that you get the desired message across in the minimum number of words. Resumes need to be short while remaining informative, or you risk not having them read at all.

There is always a tendency and a temptation to use partial sentences and phrases in bullet points because 'they'll know what you mean'. Try to avoid this wherever possible and demonstrate, through your resume, your ability to be an effective written communicator. You will notice more and more job advertisements asking for excellent written and oral communicators. Your resume can demonstrate this for you at the application stage if you take the time to use the resume writing advice available.

There are a great many websites out there offering resume writing advice and tips on how to lay out your resume, so there’s no point in repeating it all here. Use the links on this page to help find some of the best sites for resume writing advice and resume writing examples, but remember; make sure you use the basic writing advice from this site as well.

Since resume writing is open to a large amount of subjective opinion, it pays to research what is currently accepted and preferred in the jobs market today. The preferred content and style of resumes will change through time and each reviewing manager will have their own particular preferences. Try looking at specialised forums or online communities to get a good view of opinion and resume writing advice from recruitment specialists who can give you the benefit of their experience. This may vary depending on the job sector you are targeting, so do your homework.

There are a great many sites offering resume writing advice, resume writing services and resume writing examples. Specialist sites can prove to be very valuable if you would prefer to have your resume written by a professional, are looking for resume examples to base to your own on or are looking for specialist advice on covering letters.

Remember, no matter what advice you take regarding the content of your resume, it is still vital that you grammar and spell check your finished document. Proofreading is the best way to do this but at the very least, use your spell checking software.

Take a look at our CV/resume tips for writers page.