Tips for Building a Winning Resume

Updated on February 10, 2020
Chris Martine profile image

Chris enjoys helping people. He uses whatever experience, knowledge and skills he acquired to uplift and motivate. Get in touch with him.


Giving your resume a winning makeover is not as hard as you think. You just need guts, a load of advice, and great quality paper.

When I applied for my first job, my resume was a three-page sneak peek at a personal novelette. It was dry, bland, and non-fascinating. It was a miracle I got accepted. Two jobs later and wiser, I was able to craft a winning resume that landed me my dream job.

Below, you will learn from my personal experience.

Let's start with the resume length.

Articles out there will advise several lengths. The one-page patrons will tell you to keep it short. Then, some will say that two pages are ideal. If you have more experience, three pages will capture everything. But definitely, don't go beyond three. I started my draft with three pages and following the advice of cutting it ruthlessly, I ended with just one. The merit of cutting ruthlessly is that I was forced to highlight only the important, relevant stuff.

That would bring us to the second tip.

What, in a resume, is important and relevant?

What's important doesn't include your birthday, your job objective, and a picture. Your employers will not care about your age; they will care more about your experiences and accomplishments. Since you've submitted your resume for a specific position, it's a given that your employer would know what your objective is. A picture? Really, it doesn't amount to much unless you're applying for Mr. or Ms. Congeniality.

Rather, do add a professional summary. One to three sentences will do, as long as it will capture the attention of your employer and provide insight to the kind of professional that you are.

Also essential are contact details such as email address and telephone or mobile number.

What else is relevant would depend on the job position you're applying to. A resume needs to answer most, if not all, of the employer's questions. Be specific.

Why use keywords?

Your skills and experiences should closely and truthfully match the keywords listed in the job description.

Your resume's first barrier comes in the form of Applicant Tracking System (ATS). An ATS filters through a bunch of resumes by scanning specific keywords to find the qualities that the job description called for. It's not human, it doesn't give second chances. When your resume doesn't have what it's looking for, it's out.

Say, your resume already beats the ATS. What else should be considered?

Let's go to the work experience section.

Writing your work experience can turn out into a narration exercise, if you're not careful. Your resume doesn't need sentences and paragraphs. Convert the narrative spiels into bullet lists. From your most likely diverse experience, pick out only the major arcs, the experiences that warrant highlighting and which, of course, closely fit the experience being asked for in the job description. Use punchy, non-cliché verbs to drive action.

Even if your work experience is not a narrative, it needs order and it should tell a story. For instance, experience of just one to two years before jumping into promotion, tells your employer that you're a fast-tracker. Citing numbers and results tells your employer that you're an achiever. In fact, it's advisable that you highlight your achievements though figures. Figures convey measurement, and can spell the difference between you and the next candidate.

Short-term employment may reflect on your ability to sustain work and responsibilities. (See, your employer hasn’t even met you yet but you're already being judged through your resume.)

Even the slightest grammatical mistake can put a slight on your resume.

To an employer, no mistake is slight enough to be overlooked. It goes without saying that your resume should be spic and span, prim and proper. Provide wide margins and breathing space between sections. Check spelling, copy-read and proofread, many times over. If you're comfortable enough to do it, have someone else read and review your resume. Fresh eyes might help pinpoint your unseen errors.

And just to evoke character and a personal touch, do include hobbies, interests and organizations. No need to be too specific about them. Just put in enough to reflect that you're a well- rounded person and you're not just about work.

Finally, your package is almost complete.

How do you tie the ribbon and make the resume an over-all appealing present?

If you're printing your resume, use thick, quality white paper. Avoid fragrance-infused paper; your employer wouldn't appreciate it. If you're sending an electronic copy, it's better to convert your final output to PDF, which will eliminate the risk of someone making accidental edits while they review your resume. Always follow your employer's file-naming convention, if any.

There you have it, the load of advice.

Just need to purchase the paper, so it's ready when you need it. And of course, have guts. Writing your own resume can be a daunting process. After all, it's your primary selling material. It's supposed to warrant a pass to the next stage of the recruitment. And if you don't feel confident enough to brandish your selling points, you'll be left behind or tossed aside. Have courage and believe that you have what it takes to get you to your desired job.

Now, go ahead and give your resume a winning makeover.

Questions & Answers

    © 2020 Chris Martine


      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      No comments yet.


      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

      Show Details
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)