Resume Do's & Don'ts

We work with hundreds of companies and review thousands of resumes each year. This kind of volume and continual exposure to a wide range of people gives us perspective about what kinds of things most employers look for and the little things that can make one resume stand out from others. 

It is very important that your resume or curriculum vitae (CV) be in good shape before you send it to a prospective employer. There are the obvious things - make sure it's current, truthful, and accurate. And then there are other things to consider...things that we think are important.

Resume Do's 

  • Make an impact at the top of the first page with a brief summary section that defines who you are professionally - what you do well, where you do it and how you do it. 
  • List everything in reverse chronological order with your current work first.  
  • Place your technology, computer, software and other unique technical skills after the summary section on page one.  In today's techno-savvy market and with the types of positions we place this information needs to be front and center. 
  • Place your education, certifications, training, awards, and associations at the end.  This ensures the reader will work through your whole resume - education is so important they'll look until they find it.
  • Use key words, phrases and acronyms that are aligned with the position of interest and job description. This is really important because large companies often do a resume search for candidates and if yours contains key words you'll get noticed.
  • Make sure you have content rich sentences that describe your responsibilities and  accomplishments. Put them in bullet form and start the sentence with an action verb. There are a number of great websites with examples.
  • Limit the length to two pages. Create a supplemental document that can be shared with the prospective employer later if needed for things like speaking engagements, publications, project accomplishments, references, etc.
  • Make sure your contact information is at the top - phone and email at a minimum. You would be surprised how many people don't do this.

Resume Don'ts

  • Don't exaggerate.  Be truthful and accurate
  • Don't use personal pronouns (I, Me, My).  Only write in the first person.
  • Don't emphasize experience older than 15 years.  Bundle it up near the end of the resume by listing the company name, position, and years worked.
  • Don't have any time gaps.  If you were in transition or took a sabatical make a note of it - carefully and professionally.  Employers generally do not like job hoppers and big gaps between employers.
  • Don't include personal information, hobbies, interests, references, etc.  
  • Do not rely on spell check.  Have multiple people proof it before you send it.
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