Sometimes the most daunting part about a job search isn’t waiting for a response or preparing for an interview, but actually getting your résumé in order before you begin. We’ve compiled a list of our top 10 résumé do’s and don’ts to help guide you through this first step in the process.
1) DO: Include your education
You worked hard for your degree, so make sure to include it in your résumé. It is important to demonstrate to employers that you meet the job qualifications for a position, starting with your education. As a general rule, your most recent educational experience should be listed at the top of this section.
2) DO: Include a summary of quantifiable industry skills
When including your industry skills, make sure you are specific with your accomplishments. As an applicant, you want to demonstrate these skills in a measurable way to prove why you would be the best person for the job. If you were able to reduce costs at your last position, be prepared to provide specific numbers and results.
3) DO: Include a detailed summary of professional skills and duties
If you have extensive professional job experience, make sure the potential employer is aware of all the skills you have acquired over your career. A résumé is one of the few places where it is not only acceptable, but necessary, to highlight what you’ve accomplished professionally.
4) DO: Tailor your résumé to the job you are applying for
Having multiple résumés is more than OK; always make sure the résumé reflects the description and requirements of the position for which you are applying. Being specific and demonstrating that you’ve done your research will never hurt you in the application process. Companies like to know that the people they are hiring are thorough and pay attention to detail.
5) DO: Proofread for spelling, punctuation and grammatical errors
Grammatical errors can make a résumé with the most impressive experience seem unprofessional. In order to represent yourself in the most professional manner, make sure that your grammar matches how you would like to be represented.
6) DO: Provide your most recent contact information
This is especially important if you haven’t updated your résumé in a while. Sometimes the little things that are overlooked are the most important. You may be the most qualified applicant with the best experience, but if the employer can’t get in touch with you, then the job may go to someone who pays better attention to the details.
7) DO: Run your résumé by a friend or colleague
Have a friend or colleague review your résumé prior to the final draft – he/she may have insights into skills that you may not have considered. A second set of eyes can also catch grammatical mistakes that may have been missed in your own proofreading.
8) DO NOT: Limit your résumé to one page if your professional experience warrants more
Many experts advise jobseekers to keep their résumé to one page. While it is best to keep a résumé as brief as possible, don’t sacrifice including important skills and pertinent information. You can also consider using a multiple-page résumé for job boards and a one-page version when applying for a position.
9) DO NOT: Forget to list any and all internships and research experience
For new graduates entering the professional field, an internship or research experience can make your résumé stand out over another applicant who lacks that experience. Internships allow for meaningful work experiences. Make sure a potential employer is aware of what you’ve done as a student.
10) DO NOT: List your professional or personal references on your résumé
List references on a separate document that can be readily available upon request. You don’t want to look like a nuisance when your references are over-contacted. If a potential employer would like to follow up with references, he/she will ask you for them.
Don’t let the thought of creating or updating your résumé frighten you from expanding your professional career. Follow the guidelines we’ve mapped out above and you’ll be on a smoother road to your next position.