Top 10 Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume

What’s keeping you from getting interviews? Is it your resume?

Last weekend, YouTern had the pleasure of working with Hayley Taylor, the “The Fairy JobMother”. Hayley has been so instrumental in helping people find jobs she has earned her own television show, which premiers tonight at 8PM Pacific on Lifetime.

One tool in Hayley’s common sense arsenal is a list of “Do” and “Don’t” items for resumes – those issues that may stop you from getting that interview.

Here, we’ve tailored that list slightly for the entry-level job or internship seeker. While you’re reading, take a look at your resume – and see where you might be going wrong!

Do…

  • Include as much contact information as possible – including social media handles
  • Create a unique resume for each employer, and adapt it to the specific job description provided in the job posting
  • Articulate your career goals with a clear objective statement that includes your “elevator pitch” and why you would be a perfect fit for that company’s culture
  • Emphasize what makes you “unique” – set yourself apart (social media skills, completed internships, etc.)
  • Use bullets to make your resume scan-able by the recruiter (long paragraphs are death to a candidate)
  • Present your jobs in reverse chronological order – most recent positions first
  • List the relevant details of each job in order of importance to the reader – most relevant to the job description, on top
  • Quantify whenever possible – use numbers and data points to illustrate success!
  • List sports, volunteer and leadership activities to help illustrate team play, commitment and community involvement
  • Proofread carefully – and ask a trusted colleague to proof after you’ve thoroughly reviewed the document!

Don’t…

  • Allow your resume to become a bore – use short sentences and make your points succinctly
  • Let your resume stretch beyond two pages
  • Format using justified text blocks – or be too creative by right justifying the body of the resume
  • Ever lie on your resume (this includes truth stretching, omissions, and cover-ups)
  • Use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in a resume
  • Omit the locations of your past jobs (city and state) – this information is critical to show locality and stability
  • Use job description expressions like “duties included” or “responsibilities:” – instead use accomplishments oriented phrases that sell you
  • Mis-set expectations by emphasizing experiences, skills and job activities that you are not interested in pursuing further as your career develops
  • Include personal information on your resume, other than contact information (examples: height, weight, age, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, ethnicity, health, social security number, reason for leaving previous jobs, etc.)
  • Provide references or contact information for former employers (including their phone number)– make this information available during the second interview or conversation

Most important, don’t forget that your resume is a tool designed to sell you and do make sure the resume accurately reflects the professional you – past, present, and future.

What would you add to this list of resume do’s and don’ts? Let us know in the comments section below, or via Twitter at @YouTern.

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  • Kcohen

    Hey, great use of the do’s and don’ts list!

    I hope you were able to tune in for the premiere last week of The Fairy Jobmother. I work with Lifetime and I want to make sure you know about the other job and internship hunting tools we have for you!

    If you are struggling with your cover letter, worried about your clothes before your interview, or anything else, check out, you can find more helpful tips here: http://www.mylifetime.com/shows/the-fairy-jobmother/tips

    Don’t forget to tune-in to The Fairy Jobmother on Lifetime Thursdays at 9/8c!

  • JoeC

    Resumes should not contain spelling, usage or grammar mistakes. Like, for instance using an apostrophe in “Do’s”. It’s just “Dos”.