I’ve been in Recruitment for 8 years reviewing resumes as well as writing and editing them. I’ve seen the same mistakes over and over and can usually tell someone right away why their resume hasn’t gotten them any interviews.
Here’s the thing: Writing resumes from a technical standpoint is not hard!
Anyone can search for a resume sample online and plug their information into a template. The challenge is being able to put that resume together in a way that genuinely represents YOU positively and accurately. When putting together your resume there are a few do’s and don’ts you will need to keep in mind and I’ve listed them below.
1. DO: Include your complete contact information
This may sound like the most obvious thing to do, but many fail to do this properly. Believe me, there is nothing more frustrating for a recruiter or manager than seeing an amazing resume and having no clue how to reach the person. You don’t want to be the applicant with the amazing resume and no clear contact information. Make sure your name is clear and legible. Avoid overly artistic fonts that may be difficult to read. Make sure you include your cell phone number along with a professional email address.
2. DO: Use a Skills (or Qualifications) Summary
Recruiters and managers rarely spend more than 6 seconds reviewing your resume. A good qualifications summary is basically a snapshot your skills, knowledge and abilities basically telling the reader what’s so great about you right away. Whether in paragraph form or a bulleted list, it’s a great way to grab their attention goes a long way in getting you to the next step.
3. DO: List your most recent work experience FIRST
When listing your work history, be sure to list your most recent position first. Remember, recruiters and managers rarely spend more than 6 seconds reviewing your resume. Make sure that the things you want them to see are front and center!
4. DON’T: Be afraid to sell yourself
This is one of the most common mistakes job seekers make. They down play what they’ve done, their skills, etc. Let’s make one thing perfectly clear: If you don’t think you’re a big deal, nobody else will! Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn and sell yourself! Think about what you’ve created. Think about how you helped your team, your boss or your organization. Did you save any money on the budget? Did you make a good recommendation? Make sure these things are highlighted on your resume. You want to get the interview so you can get the job. If your resume doesn’t make you look like someone who can do the job, you’re not getting the interview. Don’t lie. Be honest. Fibbing on a resume will only set you up for great embarrassment down the line. Know what your strong points are and be ready to sell yourself.
5. DO: Use Spell Check and Grammar Check
There is nothing worse than having a resume that shows good work history and educational background yet is full of spelling and/or grammatical errors. Proofread your resume and utilize spell and grammar check. There are also online tools at your disposal.
6. DON’T list hobbies/SSN#/marital status/birth date or any other personal information
U.S. job seekers need to avoid including personal information on their resumes. While these pieces of information are perfectly acceptable in other cultures, U.S. job seekers need to beware of including this information on a resume. It is not necessary, can be viewed as unprofessional and you risk opening the door to discrimination. Your resume is your professional presentation to a potential employer. You are not looking for a friend or a date. You are looking for a job and the information on your resume needs to reflect that.
Following these steps can help you to greatly improve on your resume. Keep in mind that you may still want to reach out to a professional resume writer to ensure that your resume is as polished as it can be.
Best of luck in your job search!