3 DOs and DON’Ts for Resume Writing

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Taking the first step to writing your resume can be daunting, whether you are new to the workforce or ready for a career change. With the many resumes that come across my desk, patterns of both good and bad techniques have begun to take form. Here are a few points that could help put you on the right track for building an effective resume:

DO:

1. Keep formatting simple. As job hunting has become increasingly more digitized, avoid taking risks in your formatting. If your resume is being scanned through a program, you do not want information getting lost because it was in a table the computer did not recognize. Also, avoid paragraphs and utilize bullet points to highlight your relevant skills; you want your resume to be easy to digest.

2. Always use PDF. Formatting created in Microsoft Word can often be lost in transit. Or if you are using a Mac application and your potential employer uses PC, your content will likely become shuffled and disorganized. PDF is your safest bet.

3. Ensure relevance. When applying for a job, you want to tailor your resume to that position. Often it helps to write out your experience before constructing your objective. Make sure that what you emphasize in your objective is showcased in your experience section. To go a step further, highlight keywords in the job description and include them in the first few bullet points of your experience (if applicable).

DON’T:

1. DON’T reinvent the wheel.
Follow the normal sequence of information. Especially if your resume is being viewed by recruiters, you want to make sure information is easy to locate:

  • Name and contact information
  • Objective
  • Summary of Qualifications
  • Professional Experience – most recent to oldest
  • Education (if you are a recent graduate, put this section before Experience)
  • Volunteer/Memberships/Affiliations

2. DON’T include the following on your resume: photos, date of birth, hobbies, marital status, gender, or mention of references. Also, if a membership or affiliation addresses race, religion, or marital status and isn’t specifically relevant to the job, consider leaving it out of your resume.

3. DON’T pad your resume for the sake of length. Especially for job seekers with limited experience, it can be tempting to fluff the resume. Be careful not to take away from the most relevant aspects of your experience. The goal is to focus the reader on the specific skills that make you a great candidate for the job.

The best approach to writing a resume is just to get started! Feel free to reach out if you need help or have any questions.