Great Resumes Fast » Resume Writing Tips » 5 Resume Basics We Bet You’ve Overlooked!

Five basic resume rules and the mistakes you make that break them. Thousands of job seekers make these mistakes. Are you making them too?

Not attaching a cover letter to a resume is like shooting in the dark. Hiring managers receive hundreds of unsolicited resumes every week. Tell them specifically what opening you are applying to or the position you’re inquiring about. Do not assume they will figure it out from your resume.

Point blank, objectives are bad form, self-serving, and will get you nowhere in this job market. Instead of telling the employer what you want, show them what you can do. When you buy something, the store doesn’t tell you what they want from you. You know what they want; they want your business and your money. Employers know what you want—you want a job. Instead, utilize a career summary that will ‘show’ (not just ‘tell’) the employer how you can meet their needs. And include a completely customized personal branding statement.

Titling sections with headers (career summary, qualifications summary) uses up valuable real estate on your resume—space you could be using to advertise your unique value, talent, passion, and vision. Instead, create a catchy personal branding statement that immediately tells the employer who you are and what you have to offer.

Forget keywords and you’re neglecting all three of the audiences that will be reviewing your resume. Even worse, you’re excluding yourself from being found in candidate databases, job search engines, social networks, and more. First, your resume has to make it through the software scan, then the secretary or administrative assistant scan, then on to the hiring manager who actually knows what you’re doing and how you are supposed to do it. You NEED the right keywords. Here’s a hint: check the job description. They are in there; I guarantee it.

One small mistake and you’re out of the running. Proofread your documents carefully. Take a night to sleep on it, and then read it again. When you go back to read the resume the second time read it backwards one word at a time. Experts say this simple trick will catch any mistakes you would normally read right over.

Use this checklist to determine if your resume passes the “basics” test. If it does, you are well on your way to a professionally written resume. If it doesn’t, adjust what you can, and if you feel like you’re hitting a brick wall, check out our samples page for a few samples of professionally written resumes. Or send your resume to for a free resume analysis.


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About the author

Jessica Hernandez, President, CEO & Founder of Great Resumes Fast

Hi, I’m Jessica. I started this company back in 2008 after more than a decade directing hiring practices at Fortune 500 companies.

What started as a side hustle (before that was even a word!) helping friends of friends with their resumes has now grown into a company that serves hundreds of happy clients a year. But the personal touch? I’ve kept that.

You might have seen me featured as a resume expert in publications like Forbes, Fast Company, and Fortune. And in 2020, I was honored to be named as a LinkedIn Top Voice of the year!

I’m so glad you’re here, and I can’t wait to help you find your next perfect-fit position!


  1. Rick on February 5, 2010 at 5:24 pm

    Can you give us actual examples of “branding statements”?

  2. Amy McIlwain on February 23, 2010 at 4:10 am

    Nice set of tips that are new and interesting.

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