Resume Best Practices

Consider these best practices when updating or creating your resume.

General Tips

  • Maintain a length of no more than two pages. Recruiters and hiring managers are constantly sifting through tons of resumes. Brevity is key to catching their attention.
  • State accomplishments and experience that closely match job requirements. Recruiters and hiring managers need to see how your experience directly correlates to the job you are applying for.
  • Match your resume content with your LinkedIn profile. While verbatim descriptions aren’t necessary, your career progression must closely match to convey integrity and honesty. Your resume should provide answers to a hiring manager, not questions.
  • Incorporate all college graduation dates and dates worked at your employers. Recruiters and hiring managers want transparency and candidates they can trust.
  • Quantify accomplishments with metrics. Recruiters and hiring managers need to know that your work directly impacted company success. Include stats on how you helped improve company operations, profit margins, etc.

Do

  • Use Arial or Calibri font.
  • Use “Moderate” page margins; minimal and consistent spacing between sections.
  • Use action verbs to describe experience and accomplishments: achieved, led, decreased, administered, delegated, and consolidated.
  • Include address, cell phone number, and email.
  • Create a personalized LinkedIn URL and include with your contact information.

Don't

  • Use images, photos, or logos.
  • Eliminate dates from any section, including graduation.
  • Use objective adjectives without measurable results. Words like results-driven, detailed-oriented, and assertive, are vague, unprovable, and overused.
  • Use the default LinkedIn URL assigned to you.
  • Use single spacing between sections and dense content.

Our Guidelines

Consider these best practices when updating or creating your resume.

Contact Information

Center your name in 20-point font and contact info in 10-point font at the top of the resume. List credentials next to your name separated by a comma (e.g. CPA, MBA, CFA, CITP, CISA). Add your city and state location (even if you are only interested in remote roles), email address, phone number, and a friendly LinkedIn URL that only features your first and last name at the end of www.linkedin.com/in/.  

Recruiters prefer a friendly and simple URL that makes you easily discoverable over LinkedIn’s default version that includes random numbers and letters. Easily create your friendly URL from your profile home page and select “Edit public profile & URL” to add only your first and last name.

Executive Summary

This is a high-level snapshot of what you have accomplished in your career. First, write a few sentences that describe achievements that match the position you’re applying for. For instance, if you have experience guiding a company from privately held to publicly traded, and you’re applying for a role as a CFO at an aspiring public company, state your IPO experience.

Next, add bulleted phrases that begin with action verbs of additional high-profile accomplishments. Examples include “Led deal teams in acquisitions ranging in size from $15 million to $100 million” and “Prepared debt compliance testing and reporting for a $370 million syndicated term loan.” Each bullet should substantiate the executive summary.

Professional Experience

Place company name in bold and the company location below it in italics on the left and add date range of tenure in month and year in bold on the right, opposite of company name. Then, state company background, which includes ownership structure and financial strength (ex: publicly traded $500M, global biotechnology company), industry and company specialty (manufactures solutions for cancer treatment) in a few sentences.

Next, add description of duties in bullet form, like the phrases of your high-profile accomplishments. For example, “Led the due diligence and acquisition of Company XYZ.” Recruiters will want to see more bullet points detailing your current responsibilities than your past roles as these will reflect your most recent and relevant experience. If you’ve worked multiple roles at one company, denote those titles and date ranges in italics with the title on the left side of the row and date range on the right side.

If you have worked for several organizations over a multi-decade career, descriptive bullets are unnecessary for your first few jobs. Recruiters and hiring managers place higher value on recent and relevant experience.

Education

List the institution, degree, and area of study on the left and include the graduation date on the right. Place your highest degree earned first (e.g. Master’s ahead of Bachelor’s). You may include any graduation honors, but do not list your GPA.

Add occupational licenses (e.g. CPA) or other credentials (e.g. CFE, CITP) in this section. For the former, be sure to include the state where your license is held. Other advanced skills (e.g. Python, Oracle) may be listed here as well. Do not highlight proficiency in Microsoft Office as this not a distinguishable skill in a competitive marketplace.

Graduation cap, gown, and diploma

Professional Associations and Volunteer Background

List pertinent leadership roles with professional associations (e.g. Chair, Institute of Management Accountants) as these responsibilities convey more value to a hiring manager than someone who is exclusively a dues-paying member.

Include also any leadership roles with other organizations you serve (e.g. treasurer for your Homeowners Association, board member of your local school district).

Personal

Consider only listing unique or uncommon personal activities or interests (e.g. ultramarathon runner, Level 2 Sommelier, or World Series of Poker champion).