Job hunting is an exciting and nerve-wracking experience. You’re ready to start or level-up your career, and putting yourself out there means facing both success and possible rejection. Resume building is an essential part when you apply for a job. Many of aspirants confused about ‘Do’s and Don’ts of resume building.’
The key to any successful job hunt is putting your best foot forward in the application process. And the first step to making a good impression on employers is creating a resume that stands out and generates interest. Whether you’re starting fresh or looking to make a career upgrade or change, it’s important to know resume do’s and don’ts.
Below, we’ll give you helpful tips, broken down based on the anatomy of a resume, so you can write a resume that’ll open doors and help you achieve your goals!
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Resume Do’s and Don’ts
Do provide basic information like your full name, email, phone number, LinkedIn profile, and location (city and state). This can go in the header of your resume to immediately let recruiters know who they’re looking at, how they can reach you, and where you are in relation to the job location.
Don’t provide excessive personal information like your full address, your social security number, or marital status. You’ll provide this information once it’s requested as you move forward in the hiring process. Up front, and in this first impression, you want to create a resume that is direct and simple while keeping certain details about yourself confidential.
Do provide a statement of 3-4 sentences that shows recruiters why you’re a perfect fit for the position. This statement is to your resume what a first line is to a bestselling novel. It’s the hook. In order to create a resume that stands out you have to create a resume that grabs recruiters’ attention and keeps it. Summarize your work experience and tailor it to what your potential employer expressed a need for in their job posting to show them why they need you.
Don’t write an objective statement that focuses on what you’re looking for in terms of a position and career advancement. Ideally, you’ll find a job that gives back to you what you put in. However, during your job hunt the goal is to appeal to the HR gatekeepers. So, focus on what you can offer them and make yourself irresistible. Don’t worry, your time will come!
Do use a combination of paragraphs and bullet points to organize your work history. A good rule of thumb is to write 1-3 sentences explaining your everyday function in the position and include bullet points of your position achievements. Skimmable content is eye-catching and approachable and can win over recruiters in a shorter amount of time.
Don’t use one presentation style. Instead of writing a resume with dense paragraphs or one that looks like a long, bulleted list, the paragraph-bullet method allows you to present your work history in a visibly appealing and skimmable way.
Do include relevant work history. If you’re applying to be a software engineer, chances are your potential employer won’t care that you worked at the farmers market in high school. And for these relevant job experiences, tailor the descriptions with language from the job posting to show job recruiters how you already fit into their role.
Don’t go overboard with industry jargon or complicated language. Your resume shows your professional written communication skills, so keep your resume writing easy to read and – thus – easy to enjoy. If recruiters run into industry terms they aren’t familiar with or words they don’t understand, they’re less likely to connect with your resume and move you to the yes pile.
Do highlight your position achievements. As mentioned above, we suggest you include a short, bulleted list under each position summary that showcases your achievements within that role. This shows how you went above and beyond and proves that you know how to get results. If you can, quantify your success with numbers and percentages.
Don’t focus on how you advanced within your previous roles. Show promotions as separate positions in your work history section, and let the position achievements focus on what you did to advance the company.
Do prioritize relevant and recent work history. Entry and mid-level positions warrant a more recent work history (including the last 10-15 years). If you have relevant work history older than 10-15 years, you can include an ‘Additional Experience’ section in your resume that doesn’t distinguish when you held the position but still shows your position function and achievements. This method protects your resume from possible ageism. Since executive positions are based on experience, showing history beyond 15 years with dates is sensible.
Don’t include every single position you’ve held and don’t lie about gaps. For the former, there’s a good chance the job you worked in high school or college wasn’t in the field you’ve dedicated your career to or are trying to enter. And that’s okay! Just stick to what aligns with the job goal of this resume. For the later, you can explain longer gaps (1+ years) in the cover letter, not the resume.
*Bonus: Let’s say you have plenty of recent relevant work history, but you’ve held a bunch of short-term positions that make it look like you job hop. If the positions were similar or in the same industry, you can consolidate them. Still distinguish the companies you worked for, but give one general position title and provide a year range. Instead of job hopping, this method will show long term commitment to your field.
Some Tips for Resume Writing
Application Tracking System (ATS)
Do create a resume optimized for application tracking systems with keywords. Companies use ATS software to screen out candidates before they even reach the HR inbox. So, in addition to writing a resume that appeals to a job recruiter, you also have to write a resume that feeds the ATS.
Thankfully, the keywords you need are in the job posting itself. Even if you’re applying to one position, research at least 3 postings for that position across a few companies and find role and industry-specific terms. Maybe calendar management and meeting scheduling pop up a few times, so see if there’s a way to use those in your resume. The more keyword matches the ATS finds, the more it’ll favor your resume.
Don’t spam your resume by overusing keywords. Not only will this decrease the quality of your writing, but it’ll flag the tracking system.
Do use power words. Power words are active ways to describe your skills and functions in previous roles. They increase the quality of your writing by diversifying your vocabulary, make your resume more engaging, and paint a clear picture of how you thrive in a workspace.
*A Do’s and Don’ts of resume building Bonus: Remember, when you describe your work history – especially your position achievements – round out your actions with a result. For example, maybe you streamlined the effort to reorganize inventory and ended up increasing overall efficiency with a new system.
Don’t use passive voice or personal pronouns. Consider this example:
I was responsible for reorganizing inventory.
Streamlined inventory organization and increased workflow efficiency by 20%.
The first example simply states what you did. Even though it’s true, there’s a more engaging and professional way to present the information with power words that portrays you as an ideal candidate. Write a resume that’s honest and engaging.
Do use a simple, easy to track format that prioritizes your work history and skills. The main choice you have to make here is between a modern or classic/traditional format. Again, you want to write a resume that speaks to the company you’re sending it to.
Don’t play around too much with fonts, colors, margins, and document structure. Simplicity is key: create a resume that is approachable, professional, and easy to read in terms of writing and aesthetics.
*A Do’s and Don’ts pf resume building Bonus: Your resume should be no longer than 1-2 pages. If you have enough information that a sentence or two spills onto a new page, adjust margins and font sizes to pull that text up to the previous page for a clean cut off.
Now you know resume do’s and don’ts.
At its heart, your resume should be simple, relevant, and honest. Write a resume that represents the best professional version of yourself. Be prepared to back up your work history with references and expand on your experiences during interviews. And remember, you are qualified and capable of the goals you hope to achieve, this is just the first step on your journey!
Want more? These resume do’s and don’ts merely scrape the surface of how to create a job winning resume. If you want to go in depth, check out the MyResumeStar Blog where we offer even more resume writing tips.
And if you want professional resume help, check out our resume builder and cover letter builder. Our goal is to give you a head start with your job hunt!
Take the leap and let MyResumeStar help you level-up your career today.
An avarage employer spend around 7-8 seconds on a resume. That makes it imperative to have a relevant resume. Skills and Experience that is mentioned on resume must be job oriented. In addition Resume should be ATS friendly.
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