When starting a job search, perfecting your resume should be your first priority. It is one of the first things the hiring manager will see, and it is your chance to give them a snapshot of yourself in terms of your past successes. Your resume should work to show your past experience, the skills you have learned, and what type of candidate you are. Follow these essential do’s and don’ts to make sure that your resume is ready to go!
DO include your contact information.
There’s nothing worse for a recruiter than when they’re thoroughly impressed or intrigued by your resume and wanting to move things forward, then realizing they have no way of contacting you. Your resume should include your email, phone number, your address/location, and your LinkedIn. A lot of people tend to forget to add these simple yet crucial pieces of information. As much as you do need to focus on the bulk of your resume and the experience you’re choosing to highlight, don’t let it stop you from remembering to give the recruiter/hiring manager a quick and easy point of contact!
DON’T make it too long/list out every task and responsibility you have had at every single job.
Your resume should be no more than a page long. Remember, while your resume is your way to brag about yourself as a candidate, you only want to pull out the most important and relevant aspects of your past. More likely than not, the hiring manager looking over your resume is looking over multiple resumes a day, and may even toss your resume to the side if it’s over a page! Make the recruiter’s job easier and craft a resume that is short and sweet, highlighting all of your main strengths and accomplishments.
DO use descriptive and relevant action words to highlight the skills you’ve learned.
Use your resume bullet points to paint a picture of the role you played in your past jobs and what skills the position taught you. Be sure to choose descriptive words that are geared towards the skill you’re trying to highlight, whether it be management, communication, technical, creative, teaching skills, etc. For example, in a leadership or management role, instead of using nondescript words like “did,” try using verbs like “conducted,” or “administered.” Make that extra effort to paint a clear image in the recruiter’s head of your workplace successes!
It’s not worth it, for a number of reasons. It can be really detrimental to your future employment opportunities if you get caught lying on a resume, especially if it results in you being terminated from the job. On top of that, you could be setting yourself up for failure by giving hiring managers a false impression of your capabilities, and not being able to execute those skills like your resume suggests. Be honest, highlight your true strengths and let the employer see those qualities for themselves!
DO read over and double check for typos/formatting errors before sending it anywhere.
No matter where you are sending your resume, take an extra minute or two to check for any spelling mistakes and, most importantly, formatting mistakes. A lot of the time when you convert your resume to a PDF, the layout changes and it may need to be readjusted. A spelling or formatting error could show a lack of care on your part. On top of that, make sure the contents of your resume stay consistent throughout, keeping your experiences in order and looking as neat as possible!
DON’T send in the same resume to every job you can.
Take the time to tailor your resume to the job you are applying to, in terms of your skills and experiences. Especially if you are a candidate with varied types of experience, pick and choose what experience is the most important to highlight for the specific job. Look over the job description and pull out key skills that the company is looking for. Tweak your background and specific bullet points so that your duties and work successes emphasize the same skills that the job is looking for. Putting that extra thought into each resume you submit will be much more beneficial than aimlessly sending in the same resume to every job you apply for.