8 Important Do’s and Don’t’s for Your Resume

As a self-marketing tool, the purpose of the resume is to communicate your strengths in writing to an interested employer. You need to know what the employer is searching for and how this stacks up with your particular assets.

Here are eight tips on what to do and what to avoid while representing yourself through a resume…


1. Avoid excessive highlighting
You need to resist any temptation of unnecessarily highlighting different sections of your resume.  If someone reading your resume sees too many words that are bold, italicized, or underlined, it will likely distract them and ultimately irritate them. Not exactly a good way to impress the reader. Instead, limit your highlighting to only key information such as your name and address, and no more than 1-2 outstanding achievements.

2. Don’t use “I” in your resume
Always avoid using the pronoun “I” in your resume. The reader already knows this resume is about you. Resume are, in fact, best written in the third person point of view. This makes your resume not just more appealing, but also more professionalized. The use of “I’ is more appropriate in the Cover Letter, never in the resume.

3. Use a main resume heading
While you should avoid starting your resume by stating an objective (modern day resumes have grown beyond the objective), it is still a good idea to come up with a heading for your resume. You have several options, for instance, some people choose to  have headings that show their qualifications, work experiences, skills, languages, etc. A good title for this could be “Summary of Qualifications”.

4. Be specific / Showcase your accomplishments properly
Listing your accomplishments like a laundry list won’t probably be enough to impress your potential employer. As you  describe your skills and your experiences, be as specific as possible connecting these two. For example, don’t simply state that you have gone the extra mile in helping a customer. Instead, you should indicate the steps that you took in helping the customer. You should state an issue or a problem that you or your company faced,  then in once sentence discuss the steps that you took and how it solved the problem.

 5. When you had years of experience in a particular company
There was a time when showing a history of 20+ years working for the same company could represent an advantage. Today, however, things are different. A long extended time working for the same firm could suggest to some employers that you might find it difficult to adapt to new circumstances. Therefore, if you have been with a particular company for quite some time, make sure to list and emphasize your roles and positions, particularly those most relevant to the position you are applying for.

 6. Avoid overdoing it with jargon as much as possible
If you are a technical person, you need to keep in mind that when you submit your resume there is a big possibility that the HR manager reading your resume is non-technical and may not want to spend extra time researching what these terms mean. You will always have the opportunity to get highly technical during an interview with your potential direct manager. But for your resume, you need to maintain a balance.

 7. Keep your resume shorter rather than longer 
People debate about the right length of a resume. Some say longer is better, while others say to go with the shorter ones. In truth, the length really depends on the type of job you are applying for. If you were applying for the CEO of a company, a 1-2 page resume is unacceptable. But for most people, including managers and professionals, the 1-2 page format could be ideal.  Keep in mind that employers usually do not have time for lengthy resumes and application letters. So keeping your resume as short as possible while still substantive, may be all you need to get the interview. One or two pages at the very most is fine.

8. Write numbers
If you want to become more specific on your achievements by stating certain numbers to illustrate it, it’s best that you write the numbers down instead of doing it with words. Writing numbers such as “$100,000” instead of using “one hundred thousand dollars” creates a more indelible impact.