Career Development

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Career change guides, tutorials and resources for professionals in transition.

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Resume Writing Critique Checklist

Below is a resume critique checklist designed to help you develop a new resume or ensure that your existing resume is designed correctly — and effectively engaging the reader.


First Impression

  • Does your resume look like it was developed using a run-of-the-mill resume template? Or is it unique and original?
  • Does your resume have a professional format and design or does it look like you simply typed out information on a piece of paper?
  • Does your resume have clearly delineated sections and white space? Is your resume easy to read?
  • Does your resume accurately reflect your career experience? Is it too long? Is it too short?
  • Does your resume include a summary of qualifications so that the reader can quickly ascertain your value as a candidate?

Appearance

  • Does your resume design include bolding, bullets and lines to help delineate information and guide the reader’s eyes to the most important content?
  • Is there a good balance between text and white space? Does your resume appear crowded?
  • Are the left and right margins even?
  • Does your resume use an appropriate font and is the font size consistent throughout your resume?
  • Is your resume longer than one page? If so, does the second page contain a heading and is the page break formatted correctly?
  • Does your resume provide the reader an overall visually appealing presentation?

Resume Sections

  • Are all resume sections clearly delineated and labeled?
  • Is your resume formatted to provide the reader the most important sections of information first?
  • If your resume is a chronological resume is your work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?
  • If your resume is a functional resume is your most important work experience and skills listed first?

Career Goal

  • Have you clearly stated and articulated a career goal or objective?
  • Is your career objective near the top of your resume? Is it presented in such a way that it stands out?
  • Is your resumed targeted to a specific career goal? (Resumes should not be one-size-fits-all)
  • If this is a career change resume, is the career objective clearly stated and does the resume show how past experience qualifies you for your new career goal?

Accomplishments

  • Does your resume include meaningful career accomplishments?
  • Are the accomplishments specific? Are the accomplishments substantiated by numbers, details and concrete information?
  • Are the accomplishments clearly separated from responsibilities?
  • Do accomplishment states begin with strong action verbs?

Relevance

  • Does your resume have a specific career objective? Is the career objective directly relevant to the hiring managers’ needs?
  • Does your entire resume support and substantiate your career goal?
  • Does your resume employ action verbs, industry acronyms, and buzzwords? Is the resume keyword rich?
  • Does your resume include awards, affiliations, and information that support your career objective, while omitting irrelevant personal information?

Writing Style

  • Is your resume written in first-person voice with personal pronouns, such as me, I and my, avoided?
  • Is the flow of information logical and easy to understand?
  • Is the resume completely free from typos, grammar and syntax errors?