Resume Do’s and Don’ts

The following Resume Do’s and Don’ts are presented here to give you an idea of what to include and not include on your resume. Remember, some industries accept less conventional resume types. Those who are in art, design, sales or marketing should design their resumes to catch the attention of an employer and to give the employer a sample of your work and style. However, industries such as banking, accounting and law are much more conservative and your resume should reflect a more standard format.

Resume "Dos"
  • Do focus on accomplishments, skills, and results.
  • Do state your summary clearly and concisely.
  • Do use short phrases, not long and complex sentences.
  • Do write in the active voice and avoid using "I," "me," "my," or "we."
  • Do use strong action verbs and words. (Action Verbs)
  • Do use a visually appealing format; white space is important. Avoid cluttered, overcrowded appearance.
  • Do be consistent in all matters of style, punctuation, grammar, and format.
  • Do use bullets, underlining, bold face and capitalization to create visual interest.
  • Do highlight what is important, but be judicious.
  • Do edit and proofread, edit and proofread and edit and proofread. Do it yourself and get others to help. Your resume must be absolutely error free!
  • Do show verifiable accomplishments in terms of numbers, percentages or dollars. Use facts and figures.
  • Do devote more space to most recent positions and less space to earlier positions.
  • Do use reverse chronological order in listing employers and educational degrees (most recent to earliest).
  • Do be absolutely accurate.
  • Do keep in mind the reader of your resume; is it scan-able, readable, and interesting?
  • Do include an e-mail address (it makes communication faster).
  • Do use key words, "Microsoft Word" instead of "word processing." This is beneficial for businesses that utilize scanning software.
Resume "Don'ts"
  • Don't include personal information such as height, weight, eyes, hair-color or health status.
  • Don't include discriminatory information such as race, religion, marital status, number of children or disability status.
  • Don't include any misrepresentations or any statements that cannot be proven.
  • Don't use flowery language or self-congratulatory puffery.
  • Don't use odd size or brightly colored paper.
  • Don't attach photograph.
  • Don't use fancy binders or folders.
  • Don't mention salary information unless requested by the employer. If you need to include salary information, include that information in your cover letter.
  • Don't show gaps in employment history.
  • Don't use abbreviations, acronyms, or buzz-words where misunderstandings may result.
  • Don't include unnecessary information. Include experiences and activities that are relevant to the position you are applying for.
  • Don't overcrowd the page.