suit rental, women's workwear, professional wear, interview attire, women's blazer

The Ultimate Guide to Creating a Winning Resume


I interviewed Denise Llorca, a career counseling expert, to provide you with tips for preparing a flawless resume. I hope this will boost your confidence in your job applications and give you the resources to shatter the glass ceiling. 


1. Tell me about yourself and your work experience
I have over 20 years of experience in career coaching and consulting and possess a master's degree in counseling with career counseling focus. I am also a certified professional resume writer and co-owned a coaching and resume writing business for several years. I have coached candidates at all levels including C-suite and across all industries and functions. In addition to coaching, I have facilitated executive mastermind groups, serving as a catalyst to enable team members to provide support, provide accountability and foster growth. I was also the West Coast Relationship Manager for an outplacement company's Elite program, tailored for high priority executive clients. Recently, I have transitioned into human resources and currently work for a Fortune 100 company. 
2. What is the most common resume mistake you see? 
I would say the most common resume mistake is actually two-fold. The first being that most people try to cram as much information as possible into their resume and the second not tailoring their resume for the job they are targeting. Your resume should not include everything you have ever done and be a laundry list of prior responsibilities but should highlight qualitative and quantitative information relevant to the position you are targeting. You should create a master resume and then before you apply for each position you should tailor that resume to highlight the skills and accomplishments relevant to that specific position. Your resume should demonstrate that you have the specific skills and experience to do that job not just any job. It makes it easier for a hiring manager to see you are a fit for the position. You also want to weave language from the job posting into your resume as most companies use an ATS program (applicant tracking system) that scans for keywords so listing those targeted keywords in your resume will help it get past those systems.
3. How important do you think it is to have a cover letter? And what should it contain? 
Cover letters can be a bit of a mixed bag as you undoubtedly will get recruiters and hiring managers that do not review them and go straight to your resume or LinkedIn profile (which is why a strong LI profile is essential) but they still serve a purpose. It gives you an opportunity to highlight why you are a perfect fit for a position, filling in details you cannot include on a resume; your soft skills, passions, transferable skills, why the position jumped out to you etc. You can use a cover letter to create a more compelling and complete narrative of your career journey.  Your cover letter ties your resume to the position a company is filling so the reader sees an immediate fit. This is especially helpful when making a career change as your resume alone will often not have the qualifications listed for a position and a cover letter can highlight the transferrable skills you possess that would allow you to excel in the role.  You are helping the reader see why they should reach out and talk to you.  A cover letter will never hurt you if written properly and can only help so worth sending one. 
4. Do you recommend resumes be kept to one page? 
There is no longer a rule around resumes being one page, that has changed in the past few years. As long as the information is relevant, that is the key, then a two-page resume is fine. Generally, if you have under 5-7 years of experience a one-page resume is usually sufficient, as you gain experience you will usually move up to a two-page resume. As an executive 3 pages or even more is common. If you are going into academia or targeting a government role your resume might be multiple pages as the application process for those industries is a bit different. 
5. Any resume formatting Do's and Dont's? 
  • Start your resume with a powerful headline and 3-5 sentence summary of expertise that speaks to how you can provide value, highlights your strengths, and includes your soft skills. 
  • Use data when possible, numbers always jump out to recruiters and hiring managers
  • Format your resume with appealing white space
  • Use bold and italics to emphasize key information
  • Optimize your resume so it will be picked up by ATS by using targeted keywords 
  • Break up paragraphs by using bullets with no more than two lines per bullet. Use strong action words to start the bullets such as maximized, administered, spearheaded, etc.  
  • Make sure your resume is free from any typos or errors. Do not just use spell check, ask a couple of people to review as well
  • Get feedback from colleagues or people that know your work. We often underestimate what we do on a day-to-day basis and this insight can be helpful
  • Include volunteer experience, affiliations, awards, etc if relevant
  • Include your LinkedIn profile URL in your contact information
  • Stick with darker more neutral colors.


  • Use more than two fonts or colors
  • List 'references available upon request' - this is outdated and assumed
  • Use too many effects, ALL CAPS, or words in bold or italics. This makes your resume hard to read and distracting.  Use those only for important information
  • Use a font that is too small as it makes it hard on the reader.
  • List anything that is not accurate - you do not want to mislead the reader regarding prior experience, schooling, etc
  • Use a passive voice - resumes should always be written in an active voice
  • Use first person pronouns
  • List hobbies or interests



Back to blog