Resume Do's and Don'ts

Resume Do's and Don'ts: These lists are vital

Your resume may be about you, but the employer thinks it's about them...the company. They look at your qualifications and ponder just what you have that they might need. Will you fit in with their corporate climate? How long will it take you to contribute to the bottom line?

If you follow the Resume Do's and Don'ts lists below, you will have a much better chance of writing a resume to which employers immediately relate.


YOUR resume is unique to you. It relates your professional history in an enticing way that employers must find irresistible. You have to make your qualifications sound so awesome that the employer will not WANT to call anyone else. You will be a perfect match for the employer and the vacant position.



To understand what makes a resume accomplish this feat, you have to look at what is allowed and what is not in today's competitive marketplace. Read the list of Do's and Don'ts below and ensure your marketing materials are top notch.

Resume Do's and Don'ts

u>The Do List
  1. Focus on the employer's needs, not on your own. You have to clearly address your accomplishments and skills in a way that an employer will want to find out more about you. (Read: Call you for an interview)

  2. Keep your resume as short and sweet as possible. Remember that an employer is only likely to scan it for a few short seconds. It has to pack a punch right away. Use Action Keywords to bring your resume to life.

  3. Proofread what you have typed. Proofread it again. Have your best friend look it over, then have your parents take a look at it. The more people who proofread it, the more likely you are to ensure it's free of typos and grammar errors.

  4. A personal example: My husband recently decided to switch jobs. He was working with a headhunter and, of course, had to update his resume. We worked on it together, he worked on it himself and we both took turns proofreading it. We even had our 13 year old daughter proofread it. The headhunter read it, made some suggestions, we all proofed it again. We thought it was flawless. At a job fair in Dallas a few weeks later, my husband met with the headhunter and some other men to go over everything. Everything looked good. Three to four prospective employers read over his resume – and of course, he had a copy in front of himself, too. A few days later, he was contacted for a second interview and that same resume went through 3-4 other people. It wasn't until he was taking a tour of the manufacturing facility that he realized that one of the dates was not in chronological order.

    You can't proofread too much!


  5. Use quantifiable accomplishments wherever possible. If you increased revenues at the Super 24 Movie Complex, determine the extent to which you contributed to the monthly increase and use that number in your resume. People like numbers. If you saved the Mr. Friendly Syrup Company money by finding a better way to package their syrup, then find out how much was saved and state that.

  6. Use good quality paper. Keep the color neutral, such as white or ivory. Linen paper, paper with watermarks and those with heavier weight (at least 24lb or higher) are great choices.

Resume Do's and Don'ts: Now it's time for ...

The Don't List

  1. Lie. Just tell the truth. By all means, present your achievements in the best possible light, but be careful about stretching the truth. If you don't tell the truth, it will likely come back to haunt you. You may not be able to perform the functions of the job very well and get yourself fired. The truth may come out at some point and according to company regulations, you guessed it, you get yourself fired. It's not worth it.

  2. Be repetitious. If you performed a specific task at more than one job, list it in one place only. The employer only needs to know that you are capable of handling something, not that you have done it more than once. Find something else that the employer can benefit from knowing about you and include that instead.

  3. Rule out volunteer work. Consider non-paid positions where you made a contribution. You probably learned a lot from volunteering at a local charity or from the office you held in the district PTA. Those are valuable insights into your character and the employer will be glad to read about them in your resume.

  4. Create your own resume format. The formats that are in use exist for a reason...they work. If you are considering starting your own resume trend, let's just pause a moment and reflect on why that is such a bad idea. Ok, the moment is over. Use the prescribed formats and save yourself some time and hassle.

  5. Rush through this whole process. You will have a much more effective resume if you take the time to do it right. How does that phrase go? If you don't have the time to do something right, you probably don't have the time to do it over. You can do this! You know you better than anyone else – and that's all you need to get this task completed!

This is the kind of information that will keep you on the right track. If you need to, refer back to this page – bookmark it if you want to – and double check your resume against the Resume Do's and Don'ts list above.

A resume is so vital to the job search process. It helps you offer the prospective employer a "sneak peek" at you - your qualifications. If there were an easier way to bring employers and employees together, it would be wonderful, but at this time, the resume (and cover letter) are what people use to present themselves to their future employers.

Even though it is not a lot of fun, spend whatever time it takes to make sure your resume is as professionally written as possible. A good resume is easy to spot and hiring managers are always on the lookout for qualified people. When you make a hiring manager's job easy by providing the right information in a clear, concise format, you will reap the rewards.

These Resume Do's and Don'ts have been provided to ensure you are creating the best resume possible.

If you are finished reading about Resume Do's and Don'ts, click here to go back to the Resume Tips page

To read about Resume Formats, click here.


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