Resume Preparation Do’s and Dont’s

Résumé — Do
  • Do include company description.
  • Do keep both a plain online text version of your résumé and separate hard copy résumé formatted with bullets and italics.
  • Do keep both a plain online text version of your résumé and separate hard copy résumé formatted with bullets and italics.
  • Do list your jobs in reverse chronological order.
  • Do quantify whenever possible. Use numbers to tell prospective employers how many people you supervised, by what percentage you increased sales, how many products you represented, etc.
  • Do think in terms of accomplishments when preparing your résumé. Accomplishments are so much more meaningful to prospective employers than run-of-the-mill litanies of job responsibilities.
  • Do remember that education also follows the principle about presenting information in the order of importance to the reader; thus the preferred order for listing your education is: Name of degree (spelled out completely – Bachelor of _____), name of major, name of college or university and year of graduation.
  • Do include as much contact information as possible; for example, how to reach you during business hours.
  • Do target your audience. Sending your résumé to every ad in the paper or online has little chance of resulting in a job offer. Only forward your résumé to those jobs for which you are qualified.
  • Do give your résumé as sharp a focus as possible. Since employers screen résumés in a few seconds, you need a way to show the employer at a glance what you want to do and what you’re good at.
  • Do keep several versions of your résumé targeted towards different positions. For example, if you have a sales and marketing background, you may have one résumé focused on sales, one on marketing and a third on sales and marketing.
  • Do include key words in your résumé defining your tangible skills.
  • Do proofread carefully. Misspellings and typos are deadly on a résumé.
Résumé — Don’t Do!
  • Don’t assume that people reading your résumé know what your company does. If you work for a relatively unknown company, include its business, revenues and size.
  • Don’t try to squeeze your résumé on one page. It may have been drilled into your head never to submit a résumé longer than a page, but if you are several years into your career, you should have more than enough information to spill over to a second page. The acceptable length for a résumé is two pages. It is better to utilize a second page than reduce the font so it is difficult to read.
  • Don’t lie or fudge dates, titles or education on your résumé. If a prospective employer conducts a background check and discovers that you have misrepresented yourself, you won’t be receiving the job offer.
  • Don’t use Objective in the heading of your résumé. Employers aren’t sold by your desire to, “Find a challenging position with growth opportunity.” They will be sold on your history of past accomplishments and demonstrated contribution.
  • Don’t make promotions within the same company look like job changes.
  • Don’t include on your résumé your height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, sex, ethnicity/race, religion, health, social security number, names of former supervisors, specific street addresses or phone numbers of former employers, picture of yourself, salary information, the title “résumé,” or any information that could be perceived as controversial, such as political affiliations.
  • Don’t include hobbies or other irrelevant personal information on a résumé. In most cases, they are seen as fluff or filler.
  • Don’t list references on your résumé. References belong in a later stage of the job search. Keep references on a separate sheet and provide them only when they are specifically requested.
  • Don’t include “References available upon request.” It is a given that you will provide references upon request.
  • Don’t include the reasons you are no longer working at your past employers. “Laid off,” “Company sold,” “Left to make more money,” etc. have no place on your résumé.
  • Don’t include letters of recommendation, transcripts or awards. When you send out your résumé, include only your résumé. When you go in for an interview, you can bring in those letters and present them if asked.
  • Don’t use justified text blocks; they put odd little spaces between words. Instead, make your type flush left.
  • Don’t use a functional format for your résumé to hide employment gaps.
  • Don’t use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in a résumé.