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Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Career and job search help for creative professionals.

Blue Sky Resumes is a small team of professional writers and job search experts. We offer one-of-a-kind resumes, smart career advice and fantastic customer service. This is our blog.


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The One Rule of Resume Writing You Can’t Afford to Ignore


resume writing ruleJust lately, I’ve read a rash of articles claiming to reveal the hard and fast rules of resume writing. They have titles like “5 rules of a great resume” or “10 words you must never use on your resume.”

Maybe you’ve read some of these articles. Maybe you’ve even made changes to your resume after finding out that the word “innovative” is now forbidden and must be replaced, or that using the phrase “self-motivated” is akin to admitting you are an unimaginative loser with no writing ability.

But there’s one rule that supersedes all these other rules and that’s this one: Never change your resume based on one of these articles!

Seriously don’t do it. You won’t get the answer to your resume woes from a 500-word article purporting to lay down the law.

Like anything worth doing well, writing a good resume is hard work. And most of the work happens before you ever write a word.

Here at Blue Sky, we’re getting ready to launch a new line of products and we’re working with our web developers on redesigning the site to accommodate them. So far not a pixel has been designed and not a word of copy has been finalized because were still trying to decide on the message we want to communicate, and the best way to appeal to our target market. When we have nailed that down, we’ll be ready to start creating the actual web pages.

It’s been hard work – painful at times – as we tease out the key messaging. There are tons of things I want to tell people about these new products – I’m excited about them for all kinds of reasons! – but if I try to say it all, no one will hear anything. And so we are working our way slowly towards the correct positioning and the message that will resonate.

Exactly the same is true of you and your resume. Most of your work should come before you ever sit down to type a word. If you work on understanding your target audience, defining your own unique value, and pinpointing the two or three key things that your audience needs to know, you will be in a position to write a resume that has tremendous focus and power. It won’t matter what specific words you choose – what’s important is the central message and themes.

So do this work first, and you can feel free to write “innovative” or “detail-oriented” or whatever others words an expert deems inappropriate. It won’t matter because your resume will say exactly what it needs to in order to generate results.

If you’d like to learn how to do this in more detail, check out our free resume writing course. You’ll be relieved at how easy it is to transform your resume.

Read more about Resume Writing.

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Blue Sky Resumes

About the Author

Louise Fletcher

Louise co-founded Blue Sky in 2002 after a career as an HR executive. Her industry experience includes music, video games, fashion and advertising. She lived and worked in the US for many years, but moved back to her native UK in 2012, where she now lives in the Yorkshire countryside. In addition to her full-time role with Blue Sky, she's a professional artist, so you can imagine why she couldn't answer the 'what do you do with your free time' question! Contact Louise by email.

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2 comments on “The One Rule of Resume Writing You Can’t Afford to Ignore”

  1. Martyn says:

    I have been pressing buttons on your site! I’m rather impressed and have left a VM for you. Oh, yes, I’m an executive (well an unusual one at that) who is planning a new chapter in his professional life – hence the search for companies such as yours.

  2. Great advice. Poor preparation for the creation of resumes/C.V.s is one of the biggest problems I identify in clients who just aren’t getting results from these documents.

    (The other problem is at the other end – once a strong resume has been created, it has to be tailored appropriately to the opportunity in question, or it can be no better than whistling into the wind).

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