"Do and Don't" written on sticky note

Crash Course in Resume Writing "Rules"

Common resume elements and how to present them correctly

The first "rule" to keep in mind when writing your resume is that your document must be written entirely in first person (you're talking about yourself after all) with the pronouns removed. If you're not sure if what you've written is in proper resume speak, test it by adding the "I" in front of the phrase.

For example, your resume may say: Trains staff of 20 and administers budget of $20K. (incorrect)

To present this in first person, you would say: I train staff of 20 and administer budget of $20K. (correct)

Use the guide below once you've mastered this general rule to make sure you present your information correctly. Most of these errors won't be found by a computerized spell-check, so it's crucial that you carefully review your resume to ensure your document is free of errors.


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Facts & Figures



Saved over $200K in production costs.

Saved more than $200K in production costs. OR Saved $200K+ in production costs.

Elevated profits by $4–$5M and reduced errors by 2–3%.

Elevated profits by $4M–$5M and reduced errors by 2%–3%.


Do I use the K, M, and B symbols or write out thousand, million, and billion? Do I have to use "by" before the number?

Technically, any of these options are correct - however, make sure you are CONSISTENT. Pick one strategy and use it throughout your document. Don't go back and forth.





Master’s of Nursing

Master of Science in Nursing, Master’s degree

Bachelors of Business Administration

Bachelor of Business Administration

Associate’s Degree

Associate’s degree

Bachelors’ of Arts

Bachelor of Arts


When in doubt, verify the title of your degree with your college/university.





Highly-knowledgeable professional

Highly knowledgeable professional

High quality services

High-quality services

Poorly-performing territory

Poorly performing territory

Completed on-schedule

Completed on schedule OR

on-schedule completion


Basic rule of thumb: if the modifier ends in -ly, do not use a hyphen.


Dashes vs. Hyphens



Hyphen -

Combines two words: multimillion-dollar

En Dash –

Replaces the word “to”: $35K–$50K, 2007–2009

Em Dash —

Works similar to parenthesis, however can be more dynamic: Recruited nearly 90 new hires—a department record—by conducting onsite job fairs.



Years of Experience



15 years experience

15 years’ experience

15 years’ of experience

15 years of experience


Remember, years' = years of, just as don't = do not.

by: Natalie Winzer, iHire
February 01, 2014

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