8 Essential Resume Do’s and Don'ts

July 2, 2018

Your resume is an essential tool when it comes to job hunting. Get it wrong and you’ll likely face frequent rejection. But get it right and you’ll be snapped up in no time. And so, to help you get it right (and impress recruiters), we’ve compiled the most important dos and don’ts when it comes to creating your resume.

DO highlight your most relevant skills and experience

To write a good resume, you should tailor it to every role you apply for. Your resume needs to demonstrate that you have the relevant set of skills, experience, and accomplishments necessary to do the job. So, by highlighting your key skills, you make it easier for the hiring manager to see why you’re the right fit.

DON’T overload your resume with keywords and phrases

While it's good to pepper your resume with a few keywords and phrases to help beat Application Tracking Systems (ATS), never go overboard. Don’t ever just copy and paste the job description in your resume as it looks disingenuous and can be spotted a mile away. Instead, take a look at the job description to identify the essential skills and experiences required. You can then scatter the words carefully throughout your resume always and consider using different phrasing.

DO use facts and figures

Including a few figures in your resume can help a recruiter to understand the scope of your current and previous jobs. While every resume should include career achievements, it will be strengthened by including numbers to quantify the impact you’ve had on the company. For example, if you’ve managed a budget, how much was that budget? Do you manage a team? If so, what size? Do you manage any reports? If so, has this improved business outputs? Add in the figures that showcase these. Figures can also help a recruiter to see how you’ve progressed in your career and if you provide them up front, you’re making it easier for recruiters to select you.

DON’T make your resume longer than two pages

Two pages is often considered the perfect length for a resume. This is a recommended length for those who have established themselves in their career. Most people will fall into this category, as it gives you plenty of space to include a summary of your main responsibilities, and show off your accomplishments, achievements, strengths, and skills, without the need to waffle. A short strong resume is always better than a long unnecessary one.

DO spellcheck your resume

It might sound obvious, but you'll be surprised how many resumes get sent out with spelling or grammatical mistakes. Don’t let yours be one of them. Proofread and proofread again before asking a friend or family member to also take a look. A second pair of eyes never hurt your chances.

DON’T try to hide the gaps

Never try to glaze over any gaps on your resume, as it could look suspicious. Instead, just be honest when it comes to explaining your career breaks and unemployment periods. Regardless of why you weren't working, always try to look for any possible skills you may have achieved in that period of time. It’s likely that you would have gained a few, so feel free to mention them.

DO get creative with your resume (within reason)

Resumes often have a little wiggle room to be creative. You can certainly modernize your resume by using fonts such as Calibri and Arial that will allow space for your relevant skills and experience. Formatting can be tweaked and tailored, so long as what you include is relevant and doesn’t distract the employer from any crucial aspects. And if you have a website or portfolio that you would like to share, you can also hyperlink a few key words in your resume that will encourage recruiters to view your work.

DON’T ever lie on your resume

It sounds obvious, but anything on your resume considered untrue should be excluded. Never feel the need to lie, as it could harm your career.

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