After proofreading the overall file, it is time to edit your resume in more detail. Determining how to edit a resume’s individual sections for the best results requires an understanding of the purpose behind each section.
Use the resume editing tips and questions below to examine how well your document does its job. Take your time and refer back to your resume editing checklist (you can download the printable version above) to make sure your resume leverages each section for your benefit.
Do your header and summary clearly introduce your professional identity?
As the introduction and title to your resume, your header and summary sections should highlight who you are and what position you are applying to. Your contact information should consist of one mailing address, one phone number, and one email address. If you have an online professional portfolio, the hyperlink should be included along with your contact information.
- Just your main/primary contact information
- Your target job title
- An explanation of what you have to offer, not a career objective
- A professional email address
- Optional: links to a professional portfolio and/or LinkedIn profile
Are your core competencies effective for robots and human readers?
A list of core competencies should be placed directly under your summary. Make sure it is formatted for a hiring manager to skim (and judge whether to keep reading), not just to get past the ATS. You might also include a line or two for computer skills directly under core competencies.
Your list of skills should have…
- 10–15 keywords
- A clear visual separation from the summary
- No acronyms, except when accompanied by the unabbreviated name
Does your professional experience section pack a strong punch?
Previous jobs should be…
- Described in the correct tense (past for previous roles, present for current roles)
- Listed in reverse chronological order
- Undated and listed in an “additional experience” subsection if held more than 15 years ago
- Enriched with bulleted accomplishments explaining what you did and measurable results
Are your supplemental sections thoughtfully chosen and polished to perfection?
Some sections of a resume are more or less useful depending on your industry and current professional level (entry, mid-level, or executive). Check that you have met the following recommendations for each of the sections you opt to include in your resume.
Publications: titles hyperlinked where possible
- Honors & Awards: descriptions added when helpful
- Education: GPA provided only if 3.8 or higher
- Professional Development: no irrelevant/unrelated workshops or conferences included
- Professional Credentials: any past licenses/certifications are labeled “inactive”
- Memberships/Affiliations: no potentially controversial organizations listed
While it may be a great resource, even a specific resume editing checklist can’t address every mistake job seekers make on their resumes. This tool will help you edit your resume based on a section-focused strategy. But don’t stop here! Make sure to check out some more general editing tips as well.
Resume editing is a long process that requires patience and focus. But with this checklist beside you, you can easily create a polished document that will land you an interview!