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9 Simple Resume Dos and Don’ts
‘Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign’ – Lyrics from ‘Signs’ by Five Man Electrical Band
Just see STOP signs after submitting your resume? I often hear candidates complain that they have all the skills needed to fill the position but after they send their resume nobody calls them for an interview. It could be that you are not providing the correct information or the resume is too difficult to read due to too much information, formatting, spelling and/or grammatical errors. Below are nine dos and don’ts to guide you toward resume writing that commands respect and attention.
Use lots of keywords in your summary and throughout your resume.
Do not make your contact information in a font smaller than 12 points. You don’t want the recruiter to goof around trying to find out how they can contact you.
Use as many pages as necessary to list all of your applicable work history and achievements.
Don’t hide your resume under a bushel. Go out and post your resume so we can find it! Post to Monster, Careerbuilder, DICE, and any career sites you can identify.
List a summary of your skills
Don’t write a Goal… a company doesn’t care what you want, they care if you are what they want. The Summary is the place to list your skills that lead the company to believe you are the person they want to fill their job position.
List the industry-specific associations and groups you belong to.
Don’t just use acronyms. Explain industry terms and acronyms. We recommend listing the acronym as it may be a keyword that the recruiter will use to search for a candidate, but you should bracket the meaning of the acronym for those hiring authorities who are unfamiliar with the term. For example you could write that you are a member of HIMSS but list it like this on your resume: Member – HIMSS (Health Information and Management Systems Society). Instead of writing that your job duties include handling G&A issues, write: “Job duties include handling all departmental G&A (complaints and appeals) matters.” ‘
Prominently display higher education degrees and certifications both at the top of your resume after your name and in the education section. A recruiter will be more attracted to a resume that has the following listed at the top: Thomas Candidate, MBA vs Thomas Candidate with the MBA only listed in the education section. PMP is a good certification to be prominently listed as: Thomas Candidate, PMP. In the education section, you should list the PMP certification followed by a description of the PMP and the certification registration number: Project Management Professional (PMP) Certificate id #: 00000
If you have multiple degrees and higher certifications, list only the first two after your name, for example: Thomas Candidate, PhD, PMP. In the education and certification section at the bottom of your resume, you can list your remaining qualifications and certifications. You should not list the year you earned your degree or certification unless it was recently received.
Do not list education if you have not completed the courses necessary to receive your degree or certification. If you expect to receive your degree or certification within a reasonable amount of time, list the information followed by your expected graduation date.
Keep your resume clean and free of irrelevant information, such as proverbs, quotes, jokes. Nobody cares if Patton said, “A pint of sweat saves a liter of blood.”
Do not use improper usernames and passwords when creating an online profile on a company career site; recruiters can view this information.
Check and double-check grammar and spelling in all written documents you are sending.
Don’t post a confidential resume on a job board. A recruiter doesn’t have time to crack your secret code to contact you.
List all client names even if an agency placed you there on a contractual basis. A good way to list the short-term jobs an agency has placed you in is: IBM (via Manpower)
Don’t leave out any technical skills. If you have used both Lotus Notes and Outlook, put that on your resume. Do not write that you know MS Suite. Break down the MS Suite skills you know as Excel (strong), PowerPoint (medium), Access (beginner) or simply list the skills as: Excel, PowerPoint, Access…
Eliminate irrelevant work from 15 years ago on your resume. Review the previous subchapters for Resume Secrets to learn how to create and edit your resume if you want to disclose your job duties before age 15 or if you’ve been in the same job for more than 10 or 15 years.
Do not write “References provided upon request”. Not only will this statement make you look old school, but it takes up valuable space. Instead, keep a separate page with names and contract information. Here’s what your reference sheet should look like:
References for Sally Candidate
400 Columbia Drive
South Bend, IN 46666
I reported directly to Bill at Company Name
** 2 or 3 more references are listed below. Save this list to your computer. Print a copy and bring it with you to any face-to-face interviews you have.
If you’re aware of the “do this” and “don’t do this” with the above resume tips, your next sign should be “Proceed to interview.”
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