Do's + Don'ts of Resume Writing

Does the thought of drafting or updating your resume give you an instant headache and fill you with anxiety? Fear not! We’re breaking down the top do’s and don’ts to save you a little stress and help your resume stand out!

DO list relevant experience: Employers typically scan resumes quickly, so make sure to list your most relevant and recent experience at the top. Provide a few brief sentences on where you worked, what you did, and how long you were employed.

The more relevant a position is to what you're applying for the more detail you should include.

DON'T include everything: It’s great if you have a lot of experience, however your part-time barista job isn’t relevant if you’re applying to a position in advertising. Keep it basic and list what’s most important. 

If you need to include regular work experience to pad your resume, keep your description of the positions brief OR just list the positions with no description. Any employer can imagine what you did during your tenure at Burger King -- there's no need to try to tell them or make it sound more impressive then it was. 

DO list your skills: Including your skills helps set you apart from other candidates. Depending on the position you’re applying for, here are some basic skill sets to consider including:

  • Communication: public speaking, persuasion, negotiation
  • Interpersonal: responsible, works well with others, positive attitude
  • Management: leadership, team building, delegation
  • Planning: forecasting, problem solving, analyzing
  • Organization: goal setting, budgeting, punctuality

DON'T be too text heavy: Keep your content clean and easy to read. Employers typically scan for the important stuff, don’t give them giant paragraphs to sift through. You'll have time to elaborate on your experience and skills in the cover letter -- and, hopefully, in the interview. 

Make your resume stand out by writing a customized cover letter for the position. Check out some helpful tips on how to craft the perfect cover letter here.

DO create a separate list of references: Although you don’t want to include your references in the résumé itself, you want to make sure that you have a list readily available. 

DON'T have multiple pages: Your potential employer’s time is valuable, don’t waste it with a novel of a resume. Everyone tries to tell us why their the exception to this rule, but unless you have over 10-20 years of applicable experience, one page is all you need! And, even if you have over 20+ years of experience chances are that you should still stick to one page! 

DO include transferable skills: Transferable skills are the skills you’ve collected throughout your work history. Some skills include: multitasking, planning, delegating, and being a team player. They also include hard skills like using software (be specific), public speaking, and writing. If you’re applying for a job that might be a great fit even though you're underqualified, listing transferable skills can help a potential employer see your potential.  

Include some awesome action words like: renegotiated, integrated, drove, and accelerated. LinkedIn created a great list of potential words to use here.   

DON'T forget about typo’s!: Nothing will ruin an amazing resume faster than typos. This might seem like a no-brainer, but spellcheck saves lives (and jobs)!

DO quantify your accomplishments: “Increased sales by 100%” sounds a lot more impressive than “Increased sales”. Be specific and show what you bring to the table!

DON'T include an objective statement: Expert opinions vary on this subject, but the majority rule that objective statements are outdated.

DO list internships: If you have limited work history, listing relevant internships can help show that you have experience.

So, there you have it. Get working on the content of your resume, because next week we'll be covering how to design it! You’ll have an awesome resume in no time!

Have any questions? Ask us know in the comments