I just read a terrific article about resumes. If you’re searching for a job, you’ll find some excellent advice by reading “Gone in Six Seconds” by Danielle Krause. (You may have to do a Google search to find it – I’m having problems getting the link to work.)
What really excited me were the writing tips. For example, Danielle Krause recommends listing your specific achievements instead of describing yourself in glowing terms (“dynamic,” “innovative,” “strong communication skills”). Have you won any awards? Implemented any significant changes? Completed any important projects? Krause’s “be specific” advice applies to almost every type of writing.
The usage tips are just as useful. Krause says she reads many resumes that contain the following mistakes:
- errors with capital letters
- inconsistent punctuation with bullet points
- inconsistent verb tenses
- mistakes in parallelism
I see these mistakes repeatedly in many types of writing tasks. So here are some tips:
- Capitalize brand names and organizations – Apple, Excel, Chamber of Commerce.
- Don’t capitalize job titles, college majors, or careers – administrative assistant, accounting, nursing, law enforcement. Languages are the exception because they’re always capitalized – English, Tagalog.
- Don’t use periods with bullet-list items unless they’re complete sentences (like these).
- Stick to present or past tense. Don’t mix tenses.
- Parallelism adds a professional touch to your writing. If a sentence contains a list, make sure all the parts match. (You can learn more about parallelism at this link.)