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2018 Resume Writing Tips Free PDF Download

Resume Writing Tips for 2018

Perhaps you’re one of the thousands of career professionals assessing their career path and considering growth, advancement, or change. Maybe you just want to be prepared for the right opportunity should it present itself this year—either way, your resume is the main tool to get you where you want to go. Whether you’re charting your career path, planning for growth, considering a career change, or haven’t needed a resume in ten-plus years, these resume writing tips are timely advice you need to hear.

Resume Writing Tip 2018 #1

Consider What Defines You

I recently worked with a client who wasn’t seeing any traction in her job search because she had blurry career goals. She needed clarity to turn her purpose and passion in life into a clear career path. Without a vision or direction for your career, it’s hard to chart a course and plan a strategy to get there. If you need clarity, start by asking yourself some soul-searching questions:

  • What vision do you have for your career over the next 1, 3, 5, or 10 years?
  • Which values are driving your goals?
  • What’s your purpose?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Why do you do what you do?

Deep down I think what drives most of us is the desire to help others. Let’s face it, a selfish life isn’t a very happy, fulfilling, or successful one. Sure, we all want a great career and to be paid well for the work we do. But a life invested in others, a life built on your contribution to making the world a better place—that’s a life of purpose and passion. It’s a life that offers long-term fulfillment and career satisfaction. So while these major soul-searching questions might not seem to have a lot to do with writing your resume, they actually affect it more than you think.

If you’re lacking clarity or a vision for your career, I would recommend reaching out to a trusted career coach who can help. Without a clear-cut course for your career, you’re like a ship at sea without the means to steer—you’re just being tossed about by the waves of whatever comes your way. It’s time to take proactive control of your career journey.

Resume Writing Tip 2018 #2

Speak to YOUR Audience

Your resume has an intended audience—and it’s not *just* the HR generalist, recruiter, or applicant tracking software program. You need to know who (which companies) you’re targeting, which industries, AND their greatest pains, needs, and problems.

To get to the bottom of defining your target audience you need to ask yourself a few more questions:

  • Are there specific companies I’m interested in?
  • Am I aiming to secure a position in a specific industry?
  • What advantage or benefit does this position bring to their business?
  • What will the company be lacking or missing if there’s no one in this position?
  • Consider some of the struggles and obstacles facing the employer and the industry. Make a list of the most critical ones, and reflect on times in the past when you’ve confronted similar challenges.

With your target list in hand—and the discovery work of bringing transparency to your career path completed—it’s time to bring clarity to your personal brand.

Top 10 Resume Writing Tips for 2018

Resume Writing Tip 2018 #3

Uncover Your Unique Promise of Value

Do you prefer to spend your time with people who are genuine or who are insincere? Authenticity has been glossed over when it comes to careers, job searching, networking, or how we present ourselves on our resume, cover letter, and LinkedIn profile. Research and experience tell us, though, that the opposite is true. We’re naturally drawn to authentic people, businesses, companies, and brands. If you had a choice between doing business with a large, faceless company or a genuine person with a name and a common connection, which would you choose?

Employers are searching for genuine employees; it’s why they’re drawn to your LinkedIn profile—they can put a face to the name on the paper. They can research you on social media to get a glimpse into “who you really are”.

Don’t fall for the myth that your resume, cover letter, or LinkedIn profile have to be filled with canned, overused phrases (or templates) because you think that’s what employers want to see. On the contrary, they want to get to know the real you and the unique promise of value you offer.

So, how do you define your unique promise of value?

Well, I hope you’re not tired of the soul searching and question asking, because we’re going for round three …

Start by asking yourself some questions to uncover the distinct benefits you offer the employer:

  • What benefit or contribution do you add?
  • What key accomplishments or successes have you delivered time and time again?
  • What would you say is unique about yourself and how you do what you do?
  • What are your greatest strengths?

Ask others what they think about you.

  • Reach out to friends, family, and your network and ask them which words they would use to describe you.
  • What do others see as the value you add?
  • Read through your LinkedIn recommendations and past performance evaluations and look for themes. When you put similar words and phrases together what picture do you get?
  • What do others say are your greatest strengths?
  • How do others describe you?
  • What do your boss, team, direct reports come to you for on a regular basis?

I realize that some of you may be introverted like me, and quizzing others on their thoughts about you may cause some anxiety. If that’s you, I highly recommend the Reach Personal Branding Survey. You can gather up the e-mail addresses of those you want to elicit answers from and send it out and let the responses roll in. It’s anonymous, so people can respond without concern over judgement—and the survey does all the work searching for common themes in your personal brand, then reports those back to you. It provides an external perspective of your personal brand.

**By the way, I don’t get any kickbacks from recommending the survey. I recommend it to you purely because I enjoyed it and found great value in the feedback. It’s very eye-opening, and I believe you will find value in it too.**

It may be helpful to you to see that this process is not about creating your personal brand or being who you’re not. I would never advise you to try to be something you’re not. This process is about discovering the brand that’s already there and what others see as your brand.

Resume Writing Tip 2018 #4

Captivating, Influential, and Beneficial

As you dig into your career history and assess common themes—and how they relate to the needs of the company and the problems of the employer—look for those things that make you captivating, influential, and beneficial.

  • How have you positively influenced others?
  • What would others say is fascinating, compelling, or interesting about you?
  • What benefit would an employer or company get from choosing you over another candidate?
  • What benefit or value did you bring to your previous employers?

TRY THIS: Take a few minutes to reflect back on the last three positions you’ve held. Write down at least one challenge that you overcame in each of the three positions. Now, answer these questions about each challenge:

What was the challenge?

What steps did you take to resolve the challenge?

What was the result of the action that you took?

Save the answers to these challenges because they’re going to help you share your story in tip number six.

You want to look at the big picture of your career history and find common themes. As they start to emerge, your personal brand takes shape AND you’ll have great stories and accomplishments to write about in your resume. You’ll also be able to easily share with the employer how you can resolve their problems, meet their greatest needs, or add to their bottom line.

Click here to download this article as a PDF that you can take with you to read later:

2018 Resume Writing Tip #5

Cut the Fluffy Sales Talk

Be real—and be yourself. When you write your resume, be authentic. When we write resumes for our clients, part of the process is listening carefully to our clients and the words that they use so that when we write their resumes we’re using their own words, personality, and voice. You want your resume to be a reflection of yourself—and not a canned template.


Templates and fluffy sales talk, clichéd phrases, and overused terms are glanced over when employers screen resumes. It’s actually a waste of space. I could give you a long list of these terms, but you probably already know what I’m talking about; they tend to be on every resume template or sample site on the Internet. Rest assured, if it’s on a template or large resume sample site there are hundreds if not thousands of others using the exact same content—which completely defeats what you’re trying to do.

Resumes are meant to be a genuine reflection of who YOU are—not some random person on the Internet.

If it reads like a worn-out line you’ve heard before—or something that could be removed from your resume and put on someone else’s (and it would describe them)—it’s not authentic.

That’s right … I’m looking at you, you “results-driven”, “excellent communicator”, who also happens to be a “great team player”.


Something else to consider is that no one likes to be sold something. Think about the last time you went to a car lot or furniture store and the salesperson walked up to you as soon as you set foot on the property. You knew they were going to try and sell you something right away—and it automatically put you on the defensive, right? No one wants to be taken advantage of or fed some line that hundreds of people before them have heard. Employers are the same way. It’s always better to err on the side of sincerity.


A practical way to cut the sales talk and fluff is to remove adjectives. Especially multiple adjectives in a row. Replace adjectives with accomplishments. Your accomplishments are unique to you—and compelling to employers.


2018 Resume Writing Tip #6

Write Your Story

Let’s reflect on your answers to the challenges question in resume writing tip #4. In each of your challenge scenarios there was a problem, an action you took to resolve the problem, and a result of that action. Here’s a great formula to put together bullet points that will help you to write and share your story on your resume.

  1. Start with the result:

EXAMPLE RESULT: Generated $3M in revenue growth.


  1. Talk about the steps/action you took to resolve the problem.

ACTION: Repaired damaged client relationships and restored trust with three multimillion-dollar client accounts.


  1.  Share the problem or pain point:

PROBLEM: When I stepped in as sales executive, the company had lost 15 of their major client accounts due to mismanagement by the sales team.


Now you can take the information from your three questions and use it to create a resume bullet point that tells the story of how you’re a relationship repairer, revenue generator, trust restorer, team builder, and positive agent for change. Just remember that you’re using your accomplishment (results) to tell the story—not relying on adjectives to do it.


2018 Resume Writing Tip #7

Prove Yourself

Part of being authentic in representing your brand and telling your story is proving and validating who you are and your accomplishments on your resume and online. You can validate your personal brand by writing about your accomplishments with tangible results.

Numbers are very persuasive and hard to argue against. They provide tangible proof that you provide real results. Use numbers throughout your resume. Sometimes I have clients who think they simply don’t have any numbers, maybe because they were not in a sales role or a position that affected the company’s bottom line. We all have quantifiable accomplishments—you just have to know where to look. Here’s an article I wrote a few years ago to help you do just that. Using Metrics in a Resume When You Have None.

Testimonials are third-person endorsements. What someone else says about us can be even more impressive or impactful than what we say about ourselves. It’s having someone else validate your brand and successes.

LinkedIn can be a great resource to support and validate your brand, career successes, and what others have to say about you. It’s hard to argue with recommendations, and now endorsements have become a vital part of your job search and personal brand.

Recommendations: Don’t wait for someone to recommend you. Be proactive about requesting recommendations from supervisors, clients, coworkers, colleagues, direct reports, or others you know professionally. Be specific about what you’d like them to share in their recommendation. Perhaps there’s a certain theme of accomplishments you want to highlight or a facet of your personal brand you want to bring attention to—don’t be afraid to ask your network to recommend you for those topics.

Endorsements: Endorsements support your personal brand in a few ways. At a glimpse employers are able to see which skills you have been endorsed for, and by how many people. They can also see any mutual connections you share and which skills they endorsed. When you apply to positions on LinkedIn, it automatically culls out any endorsements you’ve received that match the keywords for the position and alerts the hiring manager to how many skills are a match. This is another way to prove you’re a great fit.

2018 Resume Writing Tip #8

Modern Design, Stunning Visuals, Gripping Graphics

We are a visually driven society—and we are becoming increasingly more so as technology and social media drive us in that direction. If you’re not a believer, I submit to you: Pinterest, Snapchat, Instagram, and the fact that videos are becoming a widespread method to drive clicks, shares, and views.

Graphics, visuals, and resume design affect your resume’s impact. They can also support your personal brand and communicate vital information. As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

  • Use a modern resume design that is easy to read. Employers scan your resume and search for your summary, position title, employment dates, and past positions. Make this information easy to locate.
  • Create graphs or pie charts that convey important information or tell a story. It could be a pie chart that breaks up the different keyword/skills areas you want to bring attention to or highlights the main industries you know.
  • Sales data is great to convey in a graphic.
  • Industry memberships or leadership organization logos are a great way to highlight industry-relevant associations or leadership experience.
  • Testimonials or quotes can be offset in nice visuals. You’re also conveying validation/proof while doing so with a great visual. Double bonus!

If you’re not an expert with Microsoft Word design, or perhaps you’re in a marketing or creative field and want a truly distinct resume, I encourage you to avoid seeking out templates online. It’s worth the investment to find a resume writer who can create a modern resume design, stunning visuals, and captivating graphics that support your brand, share your accomplishments, and really draw the employer in.

2018 Resume Writing Tip #9

What Color and Branding Have in Common

Using color draws the eye in to the resume. Research has proven that the strategic use of color can actually catch and hold the attention of recruiters. Here’s a great video from Reach Branding that I’ve referred to many times that explains different colors and the associated brand/image. You may choose to use a color that represents your brand. It’s important to note that studies have proven resumes receive an initial six-second eye scan to make a fit/no fit determination. First impressions are critical—and they’re visual. While it’s certainly OK to omit color—if it positively affects an employer’s first impression and causes them to invest more time in a fit/no fit decision—it makes sense to include a color that supports your personal brand.

2018 Resume Writing Tip #10

It’s Not Just About Your Resume

It’s about your entire career portfolio. Once you’ve defined yourself, given a vision to your career path, discovered your unique promise of value, and found common themes and stories to share, you need to communicate this same message and brand across all other platforms.

Infuse branding and your message into your LinkedIn profile, professional blog, social media profiles, and all of your career documents—and talk about them with your network. It’s important that your message and branding are consistent, otherwise it’s not really a brand at all. It’s simply what you want to be known for but not who people see or the message they receive from you.

2018 Is About Career Growth

The resume writing tips I’ve offered this year veer off the beaten path of the everyday run-of-the-mill resume tips you typically see. There’s a method to my madness, I promise. Last year, I predicted that 2017 would be a year of hope and optimism for job seekers—that we’d see an upswing in the job market. And it proved to be an on-point prediction.

I believe 2018 is going to be a year of clarity and vision for career professionals as they seek to define their career paths and take steps to advance their careers. As you chart the course for career growth this year, take these resume tips to heart and invest the time into the soul searching required. Working through the questions at the beginning will help you to define who you are, which will help you decide where you’re going and give clarity to the vision for your career. Without a vision for your career path, it’s hard to plan the steps you’ll need to get there.


2018 Resume Writing Tips Free PDF Download


If you’re struggling to write your own resume, not seeing the results you want from your current resume, or haven’t needed a resume before and you’d like help, you can find more resume writing articles or request support for a resume writer at Great Resumes Fast.

Connect with me on LinkedIn to read more tips on resumes, cover letters, LinkedIn profiles, and job searches. I’m passionate about helping career professionals who don’t have the time, experience, or expertise to create interview-worthy resumes. 

About Great Resumes Fast Product Templates MRP-3882

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!


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    Thank you Jessica! When I went searching for tips to help me refresh my resume, THIS ended my search. Your article was refreshing and provided great advice for clarifying what I want next in my career.

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  8. Janine Hofer on February 14, 2018 at 1:09 am

    Do you write resumes? How do I find a job without my work figuring out that I am looking?

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  9. Jessica Holbrook Hernandez on February 14, 2018 at 1:49 pm

    Hi Janine, I do write resumes. I’d strongly recommend job searching confidentially. The number one way to do this is to turn on the Open Candidate Feature on LinkedIn. It lets recruiters know that you’re searching but not your current employer.

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  15. Mommy H on September 19, 2018 at 9:25 am

    Great tips! What I learnt from my previous boss, which is similar to one of your advice, is to build a resume that has a narrative (story). It makes it easier to communicate/sell your self and you skills to potential employers, letting them know how you have become the person you are now and why you are the perfect fit for the position you are trying to apply for.

    Quick question though, when you say stay away from templates, what is you thoughts on following online resume samples such as the ones listed here as a guide? Websites like this often highlight that their samples have been proven to work for big companies (Apple, Google, etc). Is it worth using their tools and samples?

  16. Robenson on November 13, 2018 at 7:52 am

    Can you take a look at my resume plz?

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    Take the resume writing tips from maxecv.

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    The above article is very useful to write a professional resume for the job and the career. Thanks for sharing the article.

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    what do u recommend if i’m looking for jobs that will involve the employer sponsoring my visa from either canada or new zealand?

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