5 Resume Basics

As I was driving around yesterday, I heard an interesting fact on the radio: 1 in 5 employers will reject a candidate if they see a spelling mistake on their resume or cover letter. “Wow!”, I thought to myself, “Only 1 in 5? I thought it would be more than that!” It’s hard to believe that something so small could have such a profound impact, but it’s true. That’s why I’m going to share 5 resume basics to keep in mind when creating a resume:

1. Include the Basics

What do I mean by basics? Your name, contact information (only one email and one phone number is needed–just make sure it’s one you actually check and will pick up!), school, degree, and GPA. This is the usually the first thing recruiters see: make it easy for them to find!

2. Legible

Save the fancy font for something else–if you have to strain your eyes to read your resume, it might not get read. You want to ensure that your resume would be easy on the eyes in its physical or digital form. Resumes get claustrophobic too! Leave white space, a font size no smaller than 10 points (12 points is ideal), and a basic font style. (As a bonus tip, resume paper is nice but not mandatory.)

3. Be Honest

If you’re putting it on your resume, you are giving recruiters full permission to ask you about that experience or skill. Learning 10 sentences on your family vacation to Japan does not mean you can speak Japanese. Only include skills on your resume that you are confident about. If you have a skill that you are building upon, find other ways to include that–it may be through the conversation you have with a recruiter or you can bring it up during an interview question if the opportunity arises.

4. Keep it Simple

Don’t dance around what you did: say it, and say it with pride. Use action verbs in your resume and focus on the skill you demonstrated, not every nitty-gritty detail of what you did. Ex. Instead of saying “Responsible for improving shipping process” try “Improved efficiency of shipping process by 7%.” Bonus: Being able to show the impact of your work speaks volumes. If you have numbers to share (especially if they are impressive results), incorporate the numbers into your resume.

5. Spell check

The squiggly red line under a word shows up for a reason: don’t ignore it. A simple spell check or reading your resume out loud should always be mandatory before you hit the submit or print button. A spell check only takes a few minutes to do: spelling errors on your resume, one of the most important documents during a job search, shows a lack of attention to detail on your part—just think about what that says about your ability to do a job.

These tips may be common knowledge for some of you or it may be new to others; whatever the case is, these are the 5 resume basics to follow when creating a resume. Good luck!


Sejal is a Recruitment Marketing Project Manager at Intel. She is part of the team that is responsible for Intel’s global employment brand. This team helps connect candidates with Intel and Intel with candidates using channels such as the Jobs at Intel web site, the Life at Intel microsite and other Web 2.0 channels. Sejal specifically manages the Jobs at Intel Blog and Intel’s recruitment, follow Intel on Twitter @JobsatIntel or check out the Jobs@Intel blog!

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  2. Ready Your Resume
  3. Five Quick Tips For a Better Resume

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