The Only Resume Cheat Sheet You’ll Ever Need

writing in book

A lot goes into drafting a good resume. You’ll want to make sure you’re using the best format to showcase your skills and achievements, that you’ve carefully edited each section, and that the information you include is relevant to the position for which you’re applying. And while your resume should be unique to you and your professional trajectory, there are a few important universal tips that you’ll want to take into account.

Read on for our top resume tips, common errors to avoid, and list of 76 resume-ready action verbs.

Resume pro tips

  • When a hiring manager is reading your application, they just want to know the answer to three questions:
    • Can you do the job?
    • Will you do the job?
    • Will you fit in?
  • Show, don’t tell! Skip tired terms like goal-oriented and results-driven, opting instead for real data. How much money did you save the organization? How many people attended the fundraiser? How many volunteers did you manage? Include numbers when you can.
  • Share your resume with a trusted friend or mentor. If they can guess what type of role you’re applying for simply from reviewing your resume, you’ve nailed it!

Common resume mistakes to avoid:

  • Inconsistent punctuation and capitalization (look at your bullets, dashes, and spaces)
  • Grammatical errors
  • Inconsistent formatting
  • Outdated contact information

Action verbs to illustrate …

If you’re looking for a deeper dive into the ins and outs of creating a great resume, check out our other resume tips and resources.

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As a seasoned communications professional with 15 years of nonprofit experience and 6 years of experience creating engaging content and copy, I love the idea that a thoughtfully crafted piece of content can spark social change. Here at Idealist Careers, I'm eager to offer job seekers, game changers, and do-gooders actionable tips, career resources, and "social-impact lifestyle" advice.
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    • Leslie Flemmer
    • August 28, 2018

    I’m new to this website and the job market in a long time. I’m mid-life and looking for a new career after 23 years teaching. Do you have links or blogs to helping mid-career folks get started in the daunting process?

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • August 28, 2018

      Thanks for your question, Leslie! I’d highly recommend subscribing to our weekly emails so that you can get updates on all of our new posts and resources as soon as they go up. Please also take a look at our “Career Planning” category where you’ll find subtopics such as “Career Change,” “Over 50,” and “Professional Development” … best of luck!

  1. Ooh, I’m definitely snagging that action verbs sheet. Very helpful for those times when I find myself using the same words over and over. Thanks! 🙂

      • Alexis Perrotta
      • September 20, 2018

      Always happy to help, Elizabeth! Please let us know if there are other resources you’d like to see on Idealist Careers.

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