Last month we discussed tips for a good resume.  This month I’d like to share some resume guidelines.  Suggestions related to the actual document.  Hope they are helpful!


  • Objective? No.  Instead, make sure you have a strong Qualifications Summary!

Your resume should include these 3 sections:

  • Qualifications Summary – A qualifications summary is a list of bulleted items that summarize you.  Most experts say you have 20-30 seconds to get the reader’s attention.  I’ve even heard 8-10 seconds.  What’s going to make the reader continue?  Want to know more about you?
  • Experience – Most people list their experience chronologically – starting with your current position.  Include details and numbers.  If you have experience related to the job posting include it.  Depending on your career journey, a functional resume (by skills and accomplishments might be a better option).
  • Education & Training – place your education, training, special skills and certifications here.  Make sure the items listed relate to job.  I’ve seen too many share way too much – going back to high school awards.  Not needed!

Cover letter???  Yes! 

Cover letters are still in vogue.  It’s a great snapshot of what you bring to the table and you can use it to explain gaps or other items on your resume.

  • Speak to the company’s requirements and your qualifications.  You could also display this side by side in a table format or bullets.
  • The cover letter is also a great place to answer those questions like – work gaps or short work periods (e.g., at home mom, aging parents, medical, military spouse, etc.).
  • Close the cover letter with a call to action.  Request a meeting, follow-up call, next step, etc.

References available upon request? 

  • The statement is not needed on your resume.  Most organizations will have you list references on the application.  However, I always encourage my clients create a references document.  It’s a great handout to take to the interview.

If I can help in any way to get your resume and/or cover letter polished up and ready to go out the door, I would be happy to.  Let’s review your career documents to make sure you didn’t miss a thing!