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Use This Entry-Level Resume Critique Checklist

Use This Entry-Level Resume Critique Checklist

Kim Isaacs, Monster Resume Expert

November 19, 2009

Entry-level resumes normally get less than a 15-second glance at the first screening. As tedious as resumes can be to create, they are your ticket to that coveted interview, so, like it or not, they are worth the extra effort. If someone has asked you to review his resume and you want to help him ensure it gets read — or want to know if your own is up to par — be sure you can answer yes to the following questions:

First Impression

Does the entry-level resume look original and not based on a template?

Is the resume inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space?

Does the design look professional rather than like a simple typing job?

Is a qualifications summary included so the reader immediately knows the applicant’s value proposition?

Is the resume’s length and overall appearance appropriate given the career level and objective?

Does the resume provide a visually pleasing, polished presentation?

Is the font appropriate for the career level and industry?

Are there design elements such as bullets, bolding and lines to guide readers’ eyes through the document and highlight important content?

Is there a good balance between text and white space?

Are margins even on all sides?

Are design elements like spacing and font size used consistently throughout the document?

If the entry-level resume is longer than a page, does the second page contain a heading? Is the page break formatted correctly?

Resume Sections

Are all resume sections clearly labeled?

Are sections placed in the best order to highlight the applicant’s strongest credentials?

Is the work history listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first)?

Career Goal

Is the career objective included toward the top of the resume in a headline, objective or qualifications summary?

Is the entry-level resume targeted to a specific career goal and not trying to be a one-size-fits-all document?

If this is a resume for career change, is the current objective clearly stated, along with supporting details showing how past experience is relevant to the new goal?


Does the entry-level resume include a solid listing of career accomplishments?

Are accomplishments quantified by using numbers, percentages, dollar amounts or other concrete measures of success?

Do accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs?

Are accomplishments separated from responsibilities?


Is the information relevant to hiring managers’ needs?

Does the resume’s content support the career goal?

Is the resume keyword-rich, packed with appropriate buzzwords and industry acronyms?

Is applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, included, while personal information like marital status, age and nationality unrelated to the job target omitted?

Writing Style

Is the resume written in an implied first-person voice with personal pronouns, such as I, me and my, avoided?

Is the content flow logical and easy to understand?

Is the resume as perfect as possible, with no careless typos or spelling, grammar or syntax errors?

Read it outloud. Reread it. Look for “the the” type of mistakes, look for accurate dates. Finally, have your friends read it, have their friends read it and then reread it yourself. One typo and you are out of luck.

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