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Write a First Draft

Writer’s block is a common problem when writing a resume. The solution? Expect to write a draft first, not a finished resume. That way you can write freely now and edit later.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Begin by assembling the basic sections of your resume. At this point, don’t worry about the order or wording of each section. Just get information down.
  • Use whatever writing tool works best for you. For example, you may prefer to write on a yellow legal pad before starting a document on your computer.
  • As you write, remember that resumes use more concise language than other documents. Here are some examples:

Instead of saying this

Say this

I suggested new rules for our filing system.

Established new rules for filing system

I was able to finish everything on time and under budget.

Completed project on time and under budget

  • Want ideas for strong verbs to use in your resume? Enter the phrase “resume verbs” (without the quote marks) in Google.
  • To show employers what you’re capable of, don’t forget to include transferable skills and accomplishments.
  • Make good use of keywords, integrating information you’ve gathered in your research. Don’t forget to be specific:

Instead of saying this

Say this

Strong computer skills

Advanced-level skills in Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Access

Seeking challenging position where I can use my potential and skills

Position as project coordinator where strong organizational and time management skills are essential for success.

  • Finally, remember that your resume is a marketing tool and you are the product! Don’t be afraid to promote your unique brand.

Still not sure what a resume should look like? View these sample resumes, or study resume books at your local library or work center. And don’t hesitate to ask for help if you need it.

Have a draft you're happy with? You're ready to edit and proofread your resume.



Department of Labor CareerOneStop is sponsored by the U. S. Department of Labor,
Employment and Training Administration