What Makes a Good Resume?

  • Focused. Can I tell by looking at your resume which industry or role you are interested in?
  • Project Based. Don’t write a job description. Everything on your resume should demonstrate a result or how you added value.
  • Big Picture. Do you understand how your work affected the company or department?
  • Good Structure and Format. Can I read it clearly and quickly? Is the resume overcrowded and font too small?

Use this resume checklist to see if your resume measures up. Submit your completed checklist with your new resume to CPD for critiquing.

The Recruiter Perspective

30-55 seconds.

That’s how long a recruiter will initially look at your resume. Whether or not it is read further depends on the first impression made during this time:

  • Is effective use of STAR:  Skill (What skill did you use) + Time (When did you use this skill?) Action (What did you do?) + Result/Scope used throughout?
  • Education – are significant grades/scholarships included?
  • Clear positioning of your interest – indication of specialization or focus in studies
  • Job titles/companies – is your department of work included? Is the focus of your company included if small or unfamiliar to most readers?
  • Do the first few bullet points in your most recent/relevant position best highlight your work experiences? For example: a generic first job vs. a business specific role
  • Gaps in employment? If so, account for them
  • Professional format utilized?
  • Attention to detail.  Are there spelling, grammar and alignment errors, or are you consistently professional?
  • Leadership/extracurricular experiences – are they interesting and/or unique?

Resume Tips


Don’t forget that for someone to see that you understand the position you are applying to, you must know the right industry buzzwords.

How do you find the buzzwords?

  • Look at the LinkedIn profiles of people in the industry
  • Talk to industry professionals
  • Use to copy the job description into the ‘create area’ and see the key words to add to your resume


All of your points should end in consistent punctuation – use a short form such as Q1, $3M, and $5K, and use symbols $, %, =, + signs instead of writing them out.


  • Did you write your numbers or use numeric? Spell out numbers one to nine, use numbers for 10 and above.
  • Quantifying your points will add scope and context to your examples: percentages, budgets, people/departments involved, revenue generated.


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