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Write a first draft

Put the pieces together to see how your resume reads and start sharpening it.

Writer’s block is a common problem when writing a resume. The solution? Expect to write a messy draft first, and plan to edit it later.

Here are some tips for getting started:

  • Begin by assembling the basic sections of your resume. Don’t worry about the order or wording. Just get information down.
  • Use whatever writing tool works best for you, whether it's pen and paper, or word processing on your computer.
  • Use more concise language than usual.

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 American Job 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.