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General Do’s and Don’ts of

Resume Writing

Content Do’s

Present yourself accurately and positively

Include only enough information to encourage an employer to find out more. List your most recent positions or areas of expertise first, then work backwards.  

Include brief descriptions (where appropriate) of the companies where you worked:  size, sales, volume, products, etc.

Stress accomplishments.  Include figures and brief examples to substantiate claims.

Leave out data that might result in discrimination (i.e. race, marital status, religion).

Put education near the end unless there is a special reason to put it up front (i.e. teaching position).

Use strong, succinct action words (i.e. “designed vs. worked on formulation of).

Make the resume attractive to the eye, and make sure it has absolutely NO errors. Wherever possible, avoid underlining and using more than one font.  

Use the language of your future work.  Make sure your resume is related to an employers need.

Have several others proofread and critique your resume for accuracy and impact.

Content Don’ts

Don’t have someone else write your resume (ask for advice and input, but you know yourself best and will have to defend the content).

Make sure you do not come across as arrogant or overly confident.

Don’t exaggerate your strengths and talents.

Don’t use pronouns, abbreviations, jargon or buzzwords unless the terms are widely know and accepted or are industry/company specific.

Don’t crowd the margins or use excessively small type.  

Don’t include references.  Reference requests are made when there is an actual hiring interest, not before.  At the end of your resume you may state, “ references available upon request,” or since this is normally assumed, the phrase may be omitted.  As a matter of courtesy and to ensure that potential employers receive favorable references, always contact your references in advance.

Avoid humor and vagueness.

Don’t include personal information (weight, height, marital status, children, etc.)

Format Considerations

The appearance of your resume should invite further reading and ultimately assist in getting you in the door for an interview.  Other things to consider include:

Using a laser printer on good quality bond paper.

Keep it between one and two pages in length.

Make it easy to read.  The size of the print should be comfortable (no smaller than 10-11) and the amount of information that is bold or underlines should enhance rather than overwhelm the reader.  Allow plenty of white space on the page.

Provide at least a one-inch margin on the left and right for the body of the document.

Your resume must be flawless- no spelling errors, typos or grammatically incorrect phrases, incorrect dates of employment, correct phone numbers, etc.

Scannable Resumes

More and more companies are using scanning equipment to store resumes in databases.  Resumes area searched for keywords before being selected for review.  If your resume is not in scannable form, there is a chance it will be discarded.  To avoid this, adhere to the following guidelines:

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