Resumes & Cover Letters

Your 5-Question Resume Checklist

Written by Peter Jones

Even if you don’t feel iffy about your resume, it’s always worth checking in from time to time to do a little self-evaluation—just to make sure your resume is as strong as it can be. Here is your 5 question resume checklist to make sure your documents are doing the work they need to do to get you hired.

1. Does it show you off enough?

The most important thing a resume can do is show a potential employer what you can offer them. Does your resume clearly and quickly show off your particular strengths: your skills, your experiences, your qualifications? Give it a quick read and see if you can name your top five biggest strengths or assets without thinking too hard. And whether you’ve shown enough proof of them in your descriptions.

2. Does it look good?

It may make you look good on paper, but what if it isn’t quite so presentable itself? Give it a quick eyeball for layout and design. It should be clean, clear, and easy to read. The font and formatting should not be distracting. And there should be no unnecessary clutter, or long rambling paragraphs. Consider bullet points to clean up longer sections, and make sure your margins and headers are all uniform.

3. Is it special?

You want your resume to stand out among the crowd. If it’s appropriate in your field, you could consider adding a subtle touch of color, or perhaps an infographic of some kind. If experimentation isn’t valued in your field, stick with the basics, but err on the side of clean and clear.

4. Is it precise?

You want to be as accurate as possible when describing your qualifications. That means no fibbing, no truth-stretching, and no outright lies. It also means proofreading to avoid embarrassing spelling, punctuation, or grammatical mistakes. Any of these will get your resume thrown straight into the shredder. Speak the truth and nothing but the truth, and do it in well-crafted error-free sentences.

5. Does it have that special something?

The number one question recruiters ask themselves after reading a resume is: so what? Yes, this candidate has the necessary background skills and required experience. So what? See if your resume leaves a lingering air of You have to hire her; she’s great! Do this by making sure your resume answers all the questions a hiring manager might have, and shows that you’re the candidate that fills in all the missing pieces to their puzzle.


About the author

Peter Jones