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

Do you only see STOP signs after submitting your resume? Often I hear candidates complain that they have all the skills necessary to fill the position but after submitting their resume no one calls them in for an interview. It could be that you are not providing the correct information or that the resume is too difficult to read due to too much information, formatting, spelling and or grammatical errors. Below are nine Do’s & Don’ts to guide you towards writing the resume that commands respect and attention.

Do use plenty of Keywords in your summary and throughout your resume.

Don’t make your contact information in a font less than 12 point. You don’t want the recruiter straining their eyes trying to find out how they can contact you.

Do use as many pages as necessary to list all of your applicable job history and accomplishments.

Don’t hide your resume under a bushel. Get out there and post your resume so we can find it! Post on Monster, Careerbuilder, DICE and as many career sites as you can identify.

Do list a Summary of your skills

Don’t write an Objective…a company isn’t interested in what you want, they are interested 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 position of employment.

Do list industry specific associations and groups that you belong to.

Don’t only use acronyms. Explain industry terms and acronyms. You will want to list the acronym as it may be a keyword the recruiter will use to search for a candidate but you should put in parenthesis the meaning of the acronym for those hiring authorities that are not familiar with the term. For example you could write that you are a member of HIMSS but list it like so 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 (Grievance and Appeals) issues. ‘

Do prominently display higher education degrees and certification both at the top of your resume after your name and in your education section. A recruiter will be more drawn 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 list prominently as: Thomas Candidate, PMP. In the education section it would be wise to list your PMP certification followed by a description of PMP and your certification registration number: PMP certified (Project Management Professional) id #: 00000

If you have multiple higher degrees and certifications just list the top two after your name, ie: Thomas Candidate, PhD, PMP. In your education and certification section at the bottom of your resume you can list your remaining degrees and certifications. You shouldn’t list the year that you obtained your degree or certification unless it was received recently.

Don’t list education if you did not complete the courses necessary to receive your degree or certification. If you expect to receive your degree or certification within a reasonable amount of time then list the information followed by your expected graduation date.

Do keep your resume clean and free of any non-relevant information, i.e. sayings, quotes, quips. No one cares if Patton said, ‘A pint of sweat, saves a gallon of blood’.

Don’t use improper usernames and passwords when creating an online profile at a company career site; the recruiters can view this information.

Do check & double-check your grammar and spelling in all written documents that you are sending.

Don’t post a confidential resume on a job board. A recruiter doesn’t have the time to crack your secret code to contact you.

Do list all client names even if an agency placed you there on a contract basis. A good way to list jobs that was short-term where an agency placed you is: IBM (via Manpower)

Don’t leave off any technical skills. If you used both Lotus Notes and Outlook list it on your resume. Don’t write that you are familiar with MS Suite. Break down the MS Suite skills you are familiar with such as Excel (strong), PowerPoint (Average), Access (Beginner) or simply list the skills as: Excel, PowerPoint, Access…

Do bump off your resume irrelevant jobs from 15 years ago. Review previous sub-chapters for Resume Secrets for how to craft and tweak your resume if you would like to reveal your job duties pre-15 years or if you’ve held the same job for more than 10 or 15 years.

Don’t write, ‘References provided upon request’. Not only will this statement make you look old-school but it takes up precious space. Instead keep a separate page with names and contract information. Here is what your reference sheet should look like:

References for Sally Candidate

Bill Contactguy

Marketing Manager

Company Name

400 Columbia Drive

South Bend, IN 46666

Work: 555-222-8888

mailto: bcontactguy@emailaddress.com

I reported directly to Bill at Company Name

**Below list an additional 2 or 3 references. Save this list on your computer. Print out a copy and bring it with you to any face-to-face interviews that you have.

If you are mindful to ‘do this’ and ‘don’t do that’ with the above resume tips then your next sign should read, ‘Proceed to Interview’.

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