Do’s and Don’ts to put your resume on the right path

The Do’s and Don’ts for Your Resume

There are many simple do’s and don’ts that you can implement in the resume process that can make a massive difference in the success of your resume leading to interviews. The below resume advice we feel if followed can increase your odds of your resume leading to more interviews.

DO use personalized file names

When you save your resume on your PC, make sure you name the file with a name that identifies you. For example, save your resume in some form with your name “ResumeJohnDoe.doc” or “JohnDoeResume.doc.” This is a professional method, and when the recipient receives your resume and saves it in their system, they can locate it quickly. You also might want to save it with your name and position title, especially if you have several versions of your resume “JohnDoeSalesMgr.”

DON’T use cute/random/shared email addresses

Your email address says a lot about you and sets a stage for your first impression, don’t use non-professional email addresses. We have seen too many email addresses which gives the wrong impression, i.e.; “” “” “DrinkingBud@===.Com”. You get the picture don’t use these types of email addresses. Today many services give you free email accounts and unlimited email addresses. You should have a separate email address for your job search, so this email box only contains your resume and job search emails. The email address should reflect your name and if that is taken add your zip code or area code to get unused email address, i.e., “” “” “;” this will also make it easier for the hiring manager to find your email in their saved email box.

DO proofread your resume

It can’t be emphasized enough that you need to proofread your resume several times. Spell check is a great tool, but many times it autocorrects misspelled words to wrong words. Read your resume out loud to yourself; even have someone else proofread after you. A hiring manager receiving a resume with typos, misspelled or misused words will most likely place your resume in the no file. You also need to check that your dates and timelines are consistent.

DON’T use colors in your resume

Keep your resume black and white. Many people are tempted to add color to their resume. They make the name, contact information, or job headings in different colors, thinking it is adding flair and style. You have no idea what devices or applications the recipient will be viewing or printing your resume with, which might change colors or show up unclear. Why take the risk? Yes, keep it simple by sticking to the best color scheme, black and white. If you have web links or email addresses in your resume, the default color that MS Word uses is ok to use.

DO list successes and accomplishments

Too many people include a laundry list of job responsibilities; employers want to see why you’re worth hiring. For each job include bullet points of successes and accomplishments, you achieved on your own or as part of a team.

DON’T use your photos on your resume

Adding your photo to your resume, we feel is also risky and very seldom pays off, and yet we continuously see it being done. You know the old saying “a picture is worth a 1,000 words” there is no guarantee that the 1,000 words will all be positive. Have you ever seen a photo of someone and made a judgment like “they don’t look too intelligent,” but after speaking with them you realize they are. You know that saying “beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” no matter how attractive you may be; you might bear a resemblance to someone the reader doesn’t like which can work against you.

DO use your cell phone for a contact number

If you have your cell number make that the only number listed on your resume; this will ensure the employer only has one number to contact you and cuts down on phone tag when leaving messages. It also avoids any pitfall if someone else answers your home phone in a non-professional manner or not taking a detailed message.

DON’T use abbreviated words

You can’t assume the person reading your resume will understand your abbreviations, and most likely a computer scanning your resume will not recognize them either.

DO change your Voice Mail Greeting

Whether you are using your home or cell number, change your voice mail greeting. Make sure it is a greeting in your voice, short and professional. Again this will help with building a positive impression of you.

DON’T lie on your resume

Many people try to hide employment gaps by changing their accurate employment dates, or they add false educational degrees on their resumes. Before the internet age background checks were more challenging to perform, and many companies did not put a reasonable effort into a detail background check. Today with the internet and many companies who offer and specialize in background check services, most companies hiring do background checks. If you lie you risk that job offer; nobody wants a dishonest person working on their team.

DO include the locations of your past employment (City and State)

This is expected but many people don’t add it but keep the specific street address and phone numbers of previous jobs off your resume.

DON’T include reasons you left any employment

You will be surprised how many people include on their resume or cover letter reasons why they left or were let go from their jobs. This topic has no place on your resume or cover letter; this only needs to be part of an interview, and only when you are asked.

DO use keywords in your resume and cover letter

Keywords are the heart of electronic resumes and job banks. Many employers and recruiters use keywords to search resume databases. The more keywords that you have to match the company’s keyword search the better odds your resume will be viewed. A keyword search will look for words of; skills, knowledge, abilities, personal traits, work experiences, and academic requirements. When writing your resume, it is a good idea to precede your keywords with an action verb and end each statement with specific facts and figures. Your base resume should contain as many keywords for the position/career you’re looking for as possible. We recommend reviewing about 10 job postings for your position and make a keyword list from each, and then you can compile a solid list of words you need to include.

Don’t include your salary history in your resume or cover letter, unless you are asked to include it in your cover letter

Salary history should only be spoken about if the hiring company brings it up for discussion. Review our page Should We Talk Salary to understand how to handle the salary question.

DO use the present tense of verbs to describe responsibilities in your current job or internship

Use the past tense when describing responsibilities from previous jobs or internships. If you’re unemployed, then all your jobs need to be written in the past tense.

DON’T include on your resume your age

Height, date of birth, place of birth, marital status, gender, weight, health, race/ethnicity, and social security number. Don’t include information that could be perceived as controversial, such as sexual orientation, religion, church affiliations, or political affiliations.

DON’T use personal pronouns (I, my, me) in your resume

Writing a resume in a passive voice is far more acceptable and common, use present and past tenses and leave out personal pronouns. Writing in the third person can sound too pretentious.