How to Write a Resume: Do’s and Don’ts

Here are Do’s and Don’ts for Resume Writing:

Do

Put your jobs in reverse chronological order. Your last/current relevant job goes first. (You can choose to leave off an irrelevant, short term job.) Some people write “functional resumes”, but many HR managers view these as attempts to hide something unpleasant.

Move your education to the end of the page. I know you’re proud of your school, but unless you’re a new grad, your degree in Economics and minor in Sociology should go after your work experience.

Turn accomplishments into numbers. Some departments have 1 person, and some have 350. Quantify yours. “Managed a department of 12 analysts” is a lot stronger than “Managed a department.” Did you have budget responsibilities? “Managed a $2.3 Million budget” is very different from “Managed a $75,000 budget.” How many clients did you juggle? 1, 2, 25? Quantify.

Identify your strengths. What skills keep popping up in job after job? Those are your strongest assets. Make sure to highlight them in your resume by placing them directly under the job title.

Write out your description of each skill/accomplishment. People typically agonize over this stage. Should they write full sentences? Use bullet points? Arrows? Use a period at the end of each line, or perhaps a semi-colon or nothing? Truly, it doesn’t matter. Just be consistent.

Don’t

Write paragraphs. A resume should be scannable. People like white space on resumes. Recruiters want to be able to glance at the resume and get the gist. Blocks of solid text require more attention.

Make the recruiter guess what your actual job was. Put your titles in bold. Translate strange titles into descriptive ones. For example, if your title was “Community Rock Star,” write: Community Rock Star (Public Relations Specialist).

Make your resume too long. 1-2 pages is the generally accepted length. Anything longer will likely get overlooked.

Any Personal Data Beyond Your Contact Information
Do not include any personal information beyond your address, email, and phone number.

Leave out your age, date of birth, race, sex, sexual orientation, religion, political affiliation, and the names and ages of your spouse and children. While some of this information may be required in a CV, it should be left out of a resume.
You should also leave out important numbers that could allow someone to steal your identity, such as your social security number, driver’s license number, and any credit card information.

Forget to proofread. Get your friend, your neighbor, your mother-in-law (she won’t be afraid to criticize) to look at it. You want them to look for spelling, grammar, and consistency. Does it make sense?

 

 

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