Latest rules for resume writing from career consultant Joanne Meehl [video]

Posted March 24, 2017 by


Joanne Meehl knows the rules resume writing and has excellent advice. She is president and primary Job Coach & Career Consultant at Joanne Meehl Career Services.  Today Joanne shared her insight with College Recruiter, and you can scroll down to watch a video of our discussion. This is Part 1 of 2 of Joanne’s resume writing tips. A week from now Joanne will join us again to share more about applicant tracking systems and common mistakes that college students make when writing a resume.

Watch our discussion with Joanne or read the major takeaways below.

When writing your resume, you should know a few solid rules

  1. Think of your resume as a database, not a regular document. It’s not a term paper with a beginning, middle and end. It’s like a database that holds your all projects and experience. From your database, you pull out the skills and experience that fit every job you to apply to. In other words, have a template or master copy, and customize it for every employer you send it to.
  2. You should repeat key words that you find in the job posting, whether a human or a machine ends up reading it. (Joanne will talk more about the machines that read your resumes in Part 2.)
  3. Talk about what you can DO, not what you have learned. This means you should unpaid work too. Volunteering at your church or community definitely counts as good experience. Wherever your experience, you are likely to pick up skills that you can apply to another job. (Volunteering is also an answer to job seekers who are frustrated by being turned down for not having experience!)
  4. Joanne suggests that entry-level job seekers could be more assertive. “Step up and be aggressive about it.” Ask an employer not just once, but twice. If they liked you but end up hiring someone else, go back and learn more. Ask to meet someone who works there to network and become familiar with their culture and possible future openings.
  5. Review it! When you’re done with each draft, can you look at it and say, “I can tell what this person can DO for me”? If you can’t tell, you need to figure out how to answer that question throughout your whole resume.

TIP: Once you have a draft of your resume, it will help to have someone else take a look. College Recruiter has a free resume critique service. One of our experts can email you with specific suggestions for improvement. Would it make sense to send us what you have?

Why is it so important to tailor my resume for each job or internship I apply to?

Doing so greatly increases the chances a recruiter (or an applicant tracking system) will pick out your resume from the huge database of applicants. And when you’re picked out, that increases the chance you’ll be called for an interview.

You must tailor your resume every time. Recruiters are extremely busy, so your resume has to speak to only them, and only that job position. Keep in mind that every employer believes that their job is the most important in the world. If you are not a perceived match for their opening, they will screen you out. Joanne says, “Don’t think that they’re sitting leisurely with a cup of coffee, looking over every resume. They’re not.”

Joanne Meehl career consultantAbout Joanne Meehl, MS, IJCDC, CPPA: Joanne talks directly with hiring managers, internal and external recruiters, and HR directors about what they want. She listens, and makes it her business to get the latest, right from the source. She then translates this knowledge into guidance for my clients, including entry-level job seekers. Learn more about Joanne’s career consulting services at

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