Posted on 21 Comments

A Good Resume Is Essential: Avoid These Problems

Making sure that you have a well written resume (or curriculum vitae) is always important. If you don’t take the time and trouble required to craft a good resume you will be sabotaging yourself. In fact, your resume or CV is likely to be one of the most important documents of your life; whether you write it yourself, or you have it written for you by a professional. Even in these days of the internet, social media, smart phones, etc., at some point you will still need a traditional resume or CV as you look for a job.

Almost every time we have read “draft” or “old” resumes, we have found the following problems:

Common Resume (or CV) Problems:

  • It is almost always too long
  • It doesn’t focus on what you can do for the new employer today in the job at hand
  • It tends to give equal weight to ancient history with not enough emphasis on recent experience
  • Insufficient focus on actual results achieved in the various job experiences described
  • It does not state clearly up-front what the applicant is looking for job-wise and career-wise

If you spend time searching around online you will find hundreds if not thousands of resume and CV formats you can follow which are promoted by numerous self-proclaimed experts. Of course, it is always good to have a resume format that is pleasing to the eye. However, if you do not address the above five points while creating the content of your resume, the format won’t matter much.

What’s the best way to address these problems? Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. They’ve advertised for a job and they’ve received 300 resumes.

  • Do you think they’re going to read each one of them word for word? No, they don’t have time. They’re going to skim. So if yours is short, punchy, and has key points bolded, that’s what will catch their eye
  • Your key points should be about what you can do for them, and how you can solve their problem
  • Your most recent experience should be first – i.e., your work history should be in reverse chronological order
  • You should talk about results and accomplishments that helped your last employer
  • You should be clear about what you’re looking for in your career trajectory, so they have an idea of what they might do with you long term

With these points in mind, go look at your current resume? Does it need an update?



21 thoughts on “A Good Resume Is Essential: Avoid These Problems

  1. I need tips from you. Still searching for job. Thank you for your cooperation.

  2. A resume or even a portfolio website communicate ideas and information we’ve chosen to be public. As it is I’m challenged to communicate 50 years of experience that would be helpful to others or even as something with which to get replies. Naturally, we select specific experiences that brought success and might help someone today. For job seekers it’s easy to forgot that resumes, etc. are supposed to be designed to get interviews – not an easy task.

  3. I am very much fascinated by your writing skills, whether it is writing a resume or narration of day to-day activities. It is very simple but addresses the core of the subject matter. Still I have to learn more from you in the days to come.

  4. Thank you for your article! Writing a resume has never been an easy thing, so the information you provide is very useful and important!

  5. Excellent, very useful and valuable tips that you have outlined. Would like to see more of this going forward please. Thanks and Regards,
    — Rajagopalan Santhanam Kadathur

  6. Dear Shaun,
    Thanks for February blog. I really appreciate your support and we are learning from your useful writing tips.
    Many thanks and I’m very lucky to be on your list!!!!!

  7. Dear Shaun,
    It’s true that a cv would represent everything of the owner, so that it would be important to have it written perfectly. Knowing this, your tips on cv writing would be very valuable.
    Keep on going with your smart writings, may God bless you and your family in Montreal. See you later, mate, and my kind regards to your daughter as well.

  8. Dear Shaun,
    Thank you very much for the resume writing tips. Easy to understand where one can implement in one’s writing.


  9. Dear Shaun,
    valuable input to how write a good CV, i think it is good if you share a sample of cv with members including all point mentioning there…. it really help us to update our cvs.

  10. Nice job Shaun. I think this is a nice article to sharpen resume writing skills but can you say more on this and make it more elaborate for certain job roles.

  11. Hello Leonard and some others,
    The article above contains a link to some resume writing tips. At the bottom of that article is a clickable link that goes to more than one dozen real-life CVs for a variety of job types. Please click on the “10 Tips…” link above to get there.

  12. Hello Shaun

    Thank you caring to help us.
    Writing a resume is a serious problem for most of us and always got one of the common mistakes!
    Thank you too for keeping us updated about whats new in resume writing.
    Please keep it up because we are in need of it.
    My wishes and greetings to your family and your cute daughter.

    Best regards, Salwa Khallaf

  13. Great work, Shaun, this is very rewarding article. I liked the article very much as it clearly stated what we need to do to write a convincing CV. Thank you very much. I will re-write my CV based on your suggestions here.

  14. Hi Shaun,
    It’s good to see a new improved version of your tips for writing winning resumes. It is also interesting to notice that a large number of your readers who comment are of South Asian origin. It is well-known that in South Asian countries, English is taught from nursery levels. However, at the final stages of even their professional studies, most students are still somewhat lacking in language skills, both written and spoken. It’s a strange paradox, and it tends to affect the start of their careers which generally begin with the resume and then the interview, both requiring writing and speaking skills. This creates a conundrum since the language of the workplace in most of the countries of South Asia is still mostly English.
    In a separate comment, I would like to narrate the recent experience of a very good friend of South Asian origin, if you don’t think it is too presumptuous and also outside the scope of a writing site. During a visit to his country of origin, he had the opportunity to address the final year class of his Alma Mater regarding preparations for launching their careers. Among other things, he covered writing effective resumes and scoring well in interviews.
    Sorry about the length of the posting.

  15. I have gained a lot from this program and Professor Shaun Fawcett has to be given Novel Peace price in my opinion.

  16. Hi Shaun,
    Thank you very much for sharing your skating/Bixi Bike experience and your opinion about neutrality in the journalism, I am agreed with you.
    Earlier, I mentioned that like your all of your writings.
    Good luck,
    — Mukti Datta

  17. Shaun,

    Even though I am not looking I will use the information to revise my current resume.
    Thank You


  18. How are you able to write on exactly what I need at the right time?
    Many thanks, this came just in the time.
    Very useful.

  19. Hi Shaun,
    I love the tips. Am currently job seeking and this will be helpful. Keep up with the good work.

  20. Hi Shaun. Thank you so much for useful information. I learned a lot from you.

  21. Hi Shaun,
    Very useful to learn how to write good CVs, mails, letters, etc especially for people who are working in offices and for teachers who can use this info to help their students.
    Thank you very much for all the info you send us.

Comments are closed.