How to Write a Resume to Make a First Good Impression

Although it may seem hard to believe, a candidate’s resume, seen through the eyes of a recruiter, can provide many clues about those who are looking for a job. The way it is drafted can irrevocably influence the recruiter’s decision, and if it was written at speed, then it shows the lack of interest and care for the details of the candidate, and it can exclude him from the start from the contest for a position.

The resume is the candidate’s business card, the element through which he “sells” and promotes his image to the potential employer or recruiter, in order to leave a pleasant impression and to convince him that he is a professional and that he can bring value to the a team.

Over the two decades of their recruitment experience, BIA HR specialists have found that there are some mistakes that candidates often do when it comes to editing the CV, mistakes that they might avoid, to increase their chances of success when seeking for a job. Thus, we have designed a list of suggestions and tips that we consider useful and which candidates should consider when drafting their resumes, which are meant to assist candidates and make them smoothen the way to get the job they want.

The Format – Europass or Not?

Although we are used to the idea that the standard format used for a resume should be Europass, in real life things are not exactly like this. This format is only recommended in certain contexts and areas, such as state institutions or European institutions, but in most cases it is not necessary. Moreover, filling in this format is extremely difficult for the candidate, involves time for writing, even though it is not the preferred format for a recruiter, as it involves going through an increased volume of details, some of which are not relevant for certain positions. A simple format, adapted to the needs and level of experience of the candidate would be the most appropriate, and several templates are available on the internet.

Font and Editing – Times New Roman or Arial

Recruiters go through tens or even hundreds of CVs when selecting the candidates they will contact in order to establish an interview, and this is why it is recommended that the way the information is displayed on the page makes it easy for them to go through it. Therefore, it is recommended to use a single font, preferably Times New Roman or Arial, written in similar sizes (between 10-12 pt) across the document, without great variations between the font sizes used in the contact section and the size of those used in the other sections of the resume, for example. At the same time, you should avoid loading the document with many editing elements such as bold, underlined, italic, bullet, arrow, tick, or other graphics.

The use of a line at the beginning of the row in the section with responsibilities and duties or achievements is enough, as the excess of punctuation may distract attention from what is essential in the resume, meaning the text itself, the content, the information the candidate must use to convince that he is appropriate one to go further with in the recruitment process. Therefore, any other element that would unnecessarily load the way the information is placed on the page should be avoided.

Content – How Much is “Too Much”?

Even in situations when your resume is sent directly to the recruiter, it is absolutely necessary that it contains the candidate’s contact information (telephone number and email address). These details may be lost if they are not included in the document, if the resume is sent as a recommendation to a known person, who then passes it to a HR department. Also, a resume should not contain the full address of the candidate; City / village, street name and sector / county are enough. Other irrelevant information for a resume is the one regarding personal life, such as marital status, number of children, or other information that has nothing to do with the professional sphere.

The Photo

Although it is not mandatory for the resume to contain a picture of the candidate, when it is included in the document, it is good to be the right one for the professional context. The photo must be one in which the candidate has either a casual or an office outfit, on a light background. It is not recommended to have a picture from a wedding in the resume or the image displaying the candidate to be cut off from a group photo, or from a party with friends.

No Grammar Mistakes, No Copy-Paste From the Job Description

Usually, the candidate should show his interest in the way that the CV is written and to make sure that it looks great, and this includes also paying a special attention to the grammatical correctness of the text. Thus, assuming a candidate has enough time to reread and review the document, it is hard to believe he cannot correct the mistakes. Candidates should keep in mind that the presence of grammatical mistakes in the resume gives a clear impression of carelessness and lack of interest, which may cause the recruiter not even to select them for an interview.

Another quite common mistake that candidates do when they do not know what to write in the responsibilities section for the previous jobs is copying the information from the job description or from the job ad without personalizing the specific information regarding that particular position. Instead of copying this information with paste-paste, candidates should think about the most important things they have done, on the dot, at past jobs, activities that might be relevant to the position they are running for. It would also be indicated not to mention responsibilities by using verbs in the first person (“I realized”, “I presented” etc.) but by transforming the verbs describing the actions taken in nouns, namely: “the realization”, ” the presentation”, etc.

Other Useful Information

In some cases, mentioning achievements from previous jobs is more than welcome. For example, information such as “increasing sales with x%” or “attracting a number of new customers to the company portfolio” can help the candidate grow in the recruiter / employer’s eyes and provide him with more success in getting the desired job. Most of the time, the figures speak for themselves and offer relevant indicators regarding a professional career.

Also, other information that might be useful to the reader are the ones related to having a driving license, some certificates, the courses they took, the qualifications they obtained (specifying the date of acquisition and the issuing authority), the PC competencies, listing the software used. Mentioning the hobbies is not mandatory, but if they are included in the resume by the candidate, it is preferable to be the real ones and to mention only the activities they are made with passion and pleasure, and not to do it just because you don’t want to leave a blank section in the document. Unfortunately, there are still many resumes in which, in the “hobbies” section, we can find clichés such as “reading, music and travel”.

Regarding the foreign languages level, the candidates do not necessarily have to state “writing”, “speaking”, “reading”, and “listening” level. It is enough to make an average of them and only to mention “beginner”, “medium” or “advanced”.

Last but not least, it would be advisable for each candidate to specify, at the beginning of the resume, a clear and easy to understand objective, written in a simple language so that the recruiter can have a first picture of the career plans that he has, the type of job he wants, the team and the company he would like to work with and the things that recommend him for the job he wants.


Therefore, the advice of our consultants for candidates is not to lose sight of the fact that a resume is the element that helps the recruiter make a first impression regarding the candidate. That is why the way how a resume looks like and how it is written can be crucial, both on the short and long term, which can directly influence the chances that will be given to a candidate by employers along his career. 

This article was written within a partnership with and you can read it in full here.


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