Writing Interview Winning Resumes

by Ruth Mayhew

You can write a resume that gets you an interview, and how you conduct yourself during the interview, your qualifications and whether you fit the organizational culture are what can get you a job offer. Writing an interview-winning resume is pretty simple. Stick to the rules about business and professional writing and create a spectacular document that draws the reader's attention.

Succinct is Stylish

Unless you're a college professor writing your CV, your resume shouldn't be more than two pages. One page is ideal because it's easy to handle and photocopy without having to worry if the pages align correctly or if one page gets lost somewhere on its way to the hiring manager. If you need to use narrow margins so that your information fits on one page, don't go any narrower than 3/4 inch on either side.

Give It Some White Space

Resumes with white space -- meaning, not too much text -- are easier to digest. They're easy on the eyes and when the recruiter picks up your resume to read it, she won't think it's a chore to read through huge paragraphs with narrow spacing or small fonts. If your qualifications are barely fitting on a one-page resume, you might have to resort to two pages to get the effect you need for your resume to capture the reader's eye.

Highlight, But Not Really

Showcase your talents by highlighting certain lines or sections of your resume. Not the neon yellow kind of highlighting -- use a deep red font, for instance, when you list your notable achievements. That makes certain areas of your resume pop. But use highlighting, italics and different font colors sparingly. Your resume should be professional, not look like a page out of a coloring book. Carefully choose the text that you highlight; select a section or passage from your resume that perfectly matches the qualifications or expertise the company is seeking.

Take the Unorthodox Route

Online applications and emailed cover letters and resumes are the norm nowadays. Rarely does someone send an application packet via snail mail, but doing so could win you an interview. Print your cover letter and resume on high-quality resume paper; 32-pound paper has a nice feel and the recruiter or hiring manager may enjoy the tactile experience of actually handling and reading your resume. An actual piece of mail can spark curiosity and, therefore, land your qualifications on the desk of someone who's interested in interviewing you.

Watch Your Language and Lingo

Avoid using too much business lingo in your resume. Granted, the person who eventually hires you will understand because you're in the same field. But your resume might have to pass through the gatekeeper's hands, who might not be as well-versed as you are in buzzwords and terms you regularly toss around with your peers. And don't use too many acronyms in your resume, or it'll look like alphabet soup. If you're struggling for words, spelling out acronyms can help you take up some space anyway.

About the Author

Ruth Mayhew began writing in 1985. Her work appears in "The Multi-Generational Workforce in the Health Care Industry" and "Human Resources Managers Appraisal Schemes." Mayhew earned senior professional human resources certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute and holds a Master of Arts in sociology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

Photo Credits

  • BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images