Resume Do’s and Don’ts

Creating a resume can be a stressful and annoying process. Whether you have too much to write or not enough, deciding how to craft the paper you will send to future employers is a lengthy process. As someone who used to be in the position of hiring people, I can tell you that what you put on your resume matters. Here are some tips and tricks to making the perfect concise resume.

  1. Keep it short. Resumes should only be about one page. Employers don’t want to flip through pages of information about you. They should be able to look at the page and get an idea of your background and experience. If you have been working in your field for 10+ years, then your resume will probably go over one page, but try to keep it to 2 – 3 pages at most in this instance.
  2. Objective, Objective, Objective. At the top of your resume should be your objective, what it is that you’re trying to do. A generalized objective might read: Looking to contribute to an organization while further developing my skills. Any employer that reads an objective like that will probably overlook your resume. You want an objective that is personalized to the position you’re applying to. A good objective might read: Looking to contribute to The Disney Company as Director of Public Relations while further developing my journalism and communication skills.
  3. For the inexperienced: If you’re like me and don’t have a lot of relevant work experience to the job you’re applying then use your education to your advantage. Whether you’ve taken independent courses or graduated with a degree in your field, the classes you’ve taken can help pad your resume. Under your education, list courses and the relevant coursework you’ve done. Below is an excerpt from my resume to give you an idea of what you should write.

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  1. For the over experienced: As mentioned in #1, resumes should be short. If you’ve been working for over 10 years, chances are your resume will be longer than one page. Try to keep under 3 pages. If you have a lot of work experience, separate it into two categories: relevant experience and other work experience. This will make it easier for a future employer to read through and get an understanding of your experience in the field. If you have enough relevant work experience then cut out other work experience entirely. If you still have trouble cutting down your resume to fewer than three pages, keep only the most recent job experience. An entry-level position from 10 years ago might not be that relevant to the job you are applying for.
  2. Keep it simple. There are a lot resume layouts to choose from. However, a lot of them can look messy and have sections that aren’t important. Rather then spend hours searching for the right one, try to create your own layout on Microsoft Word. Use colored lines to separate sections of your resume and a larger heading that includes your name, profession, address, email, phone number and website.
  3. Add some color. No matter how organized and clean your resume looks, a black and white will look plain in the hands of a future employer. As mentioned in #5, colored lines can add subtle pops of color to your resume without being overbearing.
  4. Make it yours. The most important thing about making your resume is making it stand out. An employer should be able to look at your resume and distinguish it from the hundreds of other applications they may receive. If you had a good GPA in high school or college, add that to your resume. Additionally, add in any honor societies or clubs you were a part of.
  5. Choose your references carefully. More likely then none, employers will be calling the references. They do this so they can get an idea on what kind of a worker you are and verify the jobs you listed on your resume. Make sure your references know they’re on your resume and that they may be contacted in the future. Also, choose your references carefully. Don’t list someone as a reference if you left a position on bad terms. They probably won’t give you a good reference and could be the reason you aren’t chosen for a position.

 

Have any tips you’d like to share? Comment them below!

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