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5 Resume Writing Rules to Break Right Now

Posted March 11, 2019

Donna Moores

The job search has changed in recent years and so have company demand and expectations. In order to be more competitive, candidates should also think of creative ways to present themselves through resume writing. When the competition is tough, you need to stand out in order to be seen and to prove your worth.

One of the first criteria used by HR managers to select new employees is their resume. It usually contains one and the same information as previous jobs, responsibilities, skills, and the like and is written in a robotic non-personal tone. Well, these rules are quite outdated and you can safely break them and land the job that you want.

Here are five resume writing rules that you can ditch right away. These tips will make your resume quite different and appealing for the prospective employer.

1. Your resume should be a bullet-pointed list and not a story

The old rule goes that you need to make your resume a bullet-pointed list. This includes your jobs and responsibilities, education, and skills that follow in chronological order. It was not recommended to use I, make the resume personal, or let alone make it sound like a story.

Now, it is exactly the opposite. The more personal and genuine you sound, the higher your chances of getting hired are. It is good to tell a story of how you become good at what you are doing. There is no need to use the cliché “having a proven track record of success”. Show your passion and talents. Tell your employer why you matter and why you are a good fit for their business.

2. A resume can only be paper-based

In most cases, the resume is seen as a paper-based document that you hand over to HR once you go to an interview. While this type of resume is still required by many companies, it is not a rule set in stone anymore.

The electronic resume is something that many companies prefer. They use automated applicant tracking systems and special software that shows them who are the suitable candidates out of all received resumes. The search is based on certain keywords, so you need to include them in your resume but without overstuffing it.

Another popular option is to make a short video-based resume, which will definitely stand out from the rest. This is a great idea, especially if the job you are applying for is more creative or is related to talking with or to people, such as a TV host, reporter, journalist, and the like.

3. A resume should list all your jobs

The old rule mandated that your resume contains all the jobs that you have ever had ordered chronologically. Beneath each job, you are also supposed to write the duties and responsibilities you were faced with and that you performed while in the position.

You can easily skip this rule. Include only the jobs that are relevant to the current position you are applying for or those that you are specifically proud of. Instead of duties and responsibilities list your greatest achievements. It can even be organizing the company’s Christmas party. This would be an indication of your organizational skills, rather than simply stating “great organizational skills”. If you find it appropriate, it will be a good idea to include a sentence or two as to why you left each position – to study, to pursue new options, or because the business was bought by another corporation. This will give a better idea to the recruiters rather than a list of all the jobs you’ve had since school.

4. A resume should be full of keywords

One of the worst rules is that you need to stuff your resume with keywords and use robotic and non-personal language. You need to break that rule right now and tell the recruiters your personal story if you want them to read it.

Avoid sounding like everyone else. Choose your own style and present your story in the best possible ways while still including the important buzzwords that can win you an interview and eventually recruitment.

5. Never get someone to write your resume

We were told that it is best to write our resumes alone. While this is generally a good idea, there is nothing wrong to ask for some assistance. You can either seek help from professional writers as those working for Handmade Writing or WritingsGuru. They can give ideas on how a good story looks or even hire a professional to write the entire resume. There is nothing wrong with looking for professional assistance if you have a great story to tell but lack the skills to do it.

These are five rules that you can break and ensure that your resume is going to work in your favor. As long as you make sure that it is correct, to the point, and error-free, you can be more creative in your approach and that will surely payback.


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