Guide for Resumes

Your resume is your first introduction to your potential employer. As the saying goes, “You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression”. As a career coach, I rarely see a resume that can’t be significantly improved upon. If you are a well qualified candidate and are not getting interviews to at least 40% of the jobs to which you are applying, then your problem is your resume. The job of your resume is to get you to the next step, an interview. Here are my guidelines for preparing a resume that works for you.

  1. Less Is More
  2. Accomplishments; Not Job Description
  3. Lead with Your Strengths (list first—catch attention)
  4. Ignore Most Rules (omit objective; determine your own sequence of categories and timeline; keep format simple)
  5. Start Bullet Statements with Action Verb (past tense)
  6. Emphasize Accomplishments that Match Job Posting (strengths)
  7. Omit Irrelevant Activities and/or Accomplishments for the Position
  8. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, boxing, interesting hobbies (visits to Presidents’ birth sites), unique travel experiences, speak foreign languages
  9. Feng Shui Your Resume
  10. Tailor for Each Different Position (urban, affluent or blue collar community, small town, rural)
  11. Set Maximum Number of Bullets– current 5-6; prior 2-5; before that 1-3
  12. Sweat the Mechanics– spelling, subject-verb agreement, capitalization and punctuation; grammar; word selection; consistent format; readable font size
  13. Cover Letter– 3-4 paragraphs always required but seldom read
  14. References upon Request
  15. Get Authoritative Feedback
  16. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences


Larry Aronstein is a career coach who assists leaders and aspiring leaders in preparing their resumes and prepping for interviews. Visit to find out about Dr. Aronstein’s services, workshops, and ebooks.

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