Your resume is your first introduction to your new 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 30% of the jobs to which you are applying, then your problem your resume is probably your problem. The function of your resume is to get you to the next step, namely an interview. Here are my guidelines for preparing a resume that works for you.

1. Less Is More—do not overwhelm the reader with superfluous verbiage

2. Focus on Accomplishments; Not a 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. De-emphasize or Omit Irrelevant Jobs, Activities and/or Accomplishments unrelated to the position

8. Interests & Activities Can Capture Attention– acting, fitness enthusiast, interesting hobbies (visits to Presidents’ birth sites), cultural travel experiences, speak foreign languages

9. Feng Shui Your Resume—the order and placement of the content counts

10. Adapt Resume for Different Positions (elementary, middle or high school; affluent or blue-collar community; urban, urban-suburban, small town, rural)

11. Set Maximum Number of Bullets—current position 7-8 bullets; prior positions 3-5 bullets

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– do not list

15. Get Constructive Feedback from school leaders who review resume

16. Never Confuse or Mislead the Reader– clear timeline; short and simple sentences; avoid professional jargon

17. Never Lie


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

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