The Do’s and Don’ts of Resume Writing
Developing your resume is a tedious part of the job search and is also one of the most important steps of the process. Below is a list of do’s and don’ts to help you along the way. Stick close to these guidelines and you can start searching for the job of your dreams.
- DO use bullets to establish your points and organize your experiences. This makes it a thousand times easier for employers to glance over your skills, experiences, and qualifications.
- DON’T list everything with bullet points. You want the important information to stick out, not blend in with the rest of the details. Use bullets, but use them sparingly.
- DO save your file as your name and resume if you are sending it via email. This will make it much easier to access, and avoid confusion when interview time comes around.
- DON’T use whatever generic or default name is provided, and avoid using dates or version numbers. Employers do not need to know how many different versions of your resume you have, or how often you update it.
- DO include all available contact information such as phone number, email address, and even home address to ensure that you can be found if they want to check references or set up an interview.
- DON’T include personal email addresses that are not professional, such as “luvskittens@hotmail” or “dottiethehottie@yahoo.” If it is the only email address you have, you should definitely open a new account.
- DO use high quality paper of a relatively neutral color. Something more substantial will stand out in a stack of resumes.
- DON’T use bright colors, scented paper or pens, or standard white copy paper (if you can avoid it). These “artistic” additions are distracting and unprofessional.
- DO use font enhancements such as bold, italics, and underline. This will make your resume look more interesting, and help the important parts stand out.
- DON’T go overboard with these enhancements. Much like the bullet points, you should use them to drive a point home, but use them sparingly. Additionally, do not change your font style throughout the paper, and never use varying colors.
- DO highlight your achievements and accomplishments. Show how far you advanced in various positions, and what you did.
- DON’T focus too much on the duties you performed. Highlighting individual tasks is a waste of time since employers rarely have time to read through them. It just takes away from the more important points.
- DO use fragmented sentences. You may not realize this, but fragments actually help to enhance a point. When employers are scanning a resume, they rarely spend more than a minute or two on it, so shorter sentences and phrases are helpful.
- DON’T use personal pronouns. Omitting “I” and “my” will add to the fragmented sentences, but will also make your resume easier to read. Your resume is obviously about you; so don’t bother with first person pronouns.
- DO make your resume job specific. Include information that is relevant to the job for which you are applying, and make it show that you are the missing puzzle piece to their organization.
- DON’T submit the same generic resume to many different job openings. Though you may be applying for similar jobs, do not use the same exact resume. When employers read it they will know it is generic, and that can greatly affect your chances.
The most important thing to remember is to remain honest. It is okay to be a little bit more confident in your skills than you normally are, but only include honest information. Good luck!