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Resume Critique Checklist

Resumes normally get less than a 15-second glance at the first screening. If someone has asked you to review his resume and you want to help him ensure it gets read -- or want to know if your own is up to par -- be sure you can answer yes to the following questions:

First Impression

·         Does the resume look original and not based on a template?

·         Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?

·         Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?

·         Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the

          applicant's value proposition?

·         Is the resume's length and overall appearance appropriate given the career level

          and objective?


·         Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?

·         Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?

·         Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers'

          eyes through the document and highlight important content?

·         Is there a good balance between text and white space?

·         Are margins even on all sides?

·         Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the


·         If the resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is

          the page break formatted correctly?

Resume Sections

·         Are all resume sections clearly labeled?

·         Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant's strongest


·         Is the work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?

Career Goal

·         Is the career objective included toward the top of the resume in a headline,

          objective or qualifications summary?

·         Is the resume targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-

          fits-all document?

·         If this is a resume for career change, is the current objective clearly stated, along

          with supporting details showing how past experience is relevant to the new goal?


·         Does the resume include a solid listing of career accomplishments?

·         Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts

          or other concrete measures of success?

·         Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?

·         Are accomplishments separated from responsibilities?


·         Is the information relevant to hiring managers' needs?

·         Does the resume's content support the career goal?

·         Is the resume keyword-rich, packed with appropriate buzzwords and industry


·         Is applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, included,

          while personal information like marital status, age and nationality unrelated to the

          job target omitted?

Writing Style

·         Is the resume written in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns,

          such as I, me and my, avoided?

·         Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?

·         Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar

          or syntax errors?