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5 Tips for Effective Resume Writing

1. Search for keywords in the job postings

Study the job description and identify keywords that highlight skills and experiences that the hiring manager is looking for in an ideal candidate. Pay attention to the sections labeled as “Requirements” and “Qualifications.” Recruiters use various “ATS” (Applicant Tracking System) software that automatically process keywords in resumes and filter best-fit candidates. By using those exact keywords in your own resume, you will get a higher chance of being selected for interviews during the screening process. 

2. Make Your Accomplishments Quantitative

Numbers are much more impactful than words in validating experiences and achievements. Quantitative data highlights your accomplishments and helps scale your achievements by answering “how many” and “by how much.” You can emphasize and quantify your roles and experiences through exact numbers, percentage changes, rankings, and ratings.

3. Use Active, Direct Language

Do not write full sentences for resumes. Instead, start each bullet point with an active verb such as “led,” “built,” “improved” and “conducted.” These active words better illustrate your achievements, while allowing for conciseness. Avoid verbs that are passive, especially “to be verbs”. Do not use adjectives or nouns that are vague such as “a lot of,” “many,” and “things.”

4. Make Your Resume Easy to Read

Recruiters spend an average of 5 seconds reviewing each resume. It is important to make your resume visually pleasing to the eye and limit the content to 1 to 2 pages at most. We recommend having a “professional summary” or “objective” section at the top, followed by “work experience,” “education” and “skills” sections. Use basic, clean fonts like Arial or Times New Roman at 10 to 12 point size. Use 1-inch margin size and line spacing by 1.15 or 1.2.

5. Proofread and Edit

This is the most important step easily overlooked. Focus on not only the content but also the presentation. Over 90% of most resumes submitted for job positions either have typos or inconsistent formatting. Always check for spelling and grammar errors, and ensure standardization of punctuations, formatting, and margins. Ask your peers or even a third party resume writing service to review. HRCap also offers Resume Writing Services that assess and provide feedback on resumes to ensure quality control and to capture achievements effectively.

Contact our Career Development team at if you need help writing your resume or need feedback on improving your resume.


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