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A Successful Resume

Keys to a Successful Resume

There are many important aspects to a resume. Everyone has a different way of putting one together and, in most cases, there is no "right" or "wrong" way. However, there are some common characteristics that appear to be most successful in getting people job interviews and jobs.
The strongest, most important, and most effective difference in a resume that works is how you describe your skills, abilities, and responsibilities from previous employment.

Resume DOs and DON'Ts

Do . . .

  1. Emphasize your assets - not your liabilities. Show your skills meet the employer's needs
  2. Be truthful - don't misrepresent yourself
  3. Keep it brief - one to two pages
  4. Use action verbs to begin statements. They create confidence in your ability to get things done and to solve problems. However, it is important to keep the "tense" consistent from one statement to the next
  5. Read and re-read the resume before mailing or handing it out. Be sure there are no typographical errors or mistakes
  6. Keep it concise. Use bullet statements rather than complete sentences
  7. Reinforce the points that you are trying to make by being specific. Give figures to help demonstrate what you did, how much money was involved, how many people you supervised, size of the increase, etc
  8. Use reverse chronological order when listing your work history and education
  9. Have it critiqued by several people. A friend, a co-worker, or a reference can offer a critical review and make suggestions in areas you may have overlooked. You need constructive criticism and not just a "pat on the back"
  10. Always accompany the resume with a complete reference page and cover letter

Don't . . .

  1. Don't begin with a vague employment objective. It is better to eliminate the objective than to write a poor one
  2. Don't begin statements with "I". Begin statements with action verbs instead
  3. Don't list irrelevant information such as height, weight, marital status, etc
  4. Don't include a picture
  5. Don't abbreviate -- with very few exceptions. This includes acronyms. Letters that stand for a business or organization are generally not appropriate -- don't assume that everyone knows what you're talking about
  6. Don't overuse italics, underlining, etc
  7. Don't send out a resume that is disorganized or crammed onto a page in a sea of words
  8. Don't send it if it is poorly typed or reproduced
  9. Don't use poor descriptions of experiences or try too hard. Don't try to get cute--employers are looking for a business-like presentation. Be professional
  10. Don't send out a resume with incomplete references or no references at all!

Several job search engines have resume-building pages on their websites that will give you step-by-step guidelines to writing a resume. Some popular sites to check out include:


While these devices are free, they also offer resume-writing services you can order for a fee. It is always best to learn on your own, however, because knowing how to write a resume properly is a valuable tool you will have for a lifetime – and your resume should always be considered a work in progress.

Here are a few websites that offer tips on writing winning resumes and resume samples:







Here are some resources for free resume templates:

winwayMACC offers WinWay Resume Deluxe resume generating software in computer labs at each MACC campus. At the main campus in Moberly this software is loaded on all the computers in Room C-21 in the Career Center and in the LARC and AEL classroom. At other sites, please ask a staff person which computers have that software.


 College Central Network also offers free resume templates.

You can also visit MACC's Career and Placement Services (CAPS) lab in the Career Center Room C21 on the Moberly campus or resources at our off campus sites. There are many books and other printed and electronic resources designed to assist job seekers with tips on resumes, interviews and job seeking skills. Resume samples are available in many specialized fields as well as samples and instructions on writing other types of correspondence used in the job search, e.g. cover letters, thank you notes. We also have WinWay® resume generating software in the CAPS computer lab and other computer labs on the main campus and at off campus sites. There are also resume seminars and workshops offered occasionally. MACC also offers a one credit course, Employment Seminar (SKL250), that focuses on all aspects of a successful job search.

Please contact the Director of Career and Placement Services or Career Specialist for individualized assistance at (660) 263-4110 ext 11232 or 11319. Email: or


CAPS exists to help MACC students and alumni to find their ideal jobs!