Resume writing can be overwhelming, especially if you’re unsure about how to put your best foot forward. After all, you only have one shot to impress an employer and get hired, so it’s imperative that you give your resume the attention it deserves. Here are some helpful dos and don’ts of resume writing that will help you prepare the perfect document to get you in the door at your dream job.
Dos of Resume Writing
1. Do make it online
The online resume writing tools let you easily create a high-quality resume that stands out from your competition. These online tools are an easy way to create a professional-looking document without learning a complicated program or hiring a professional. You can find these online tools on many job boards, but be sure to do your research before selecting one.
They come in all shapes and sizes, so it’s important to choose one with as much functionality as possible. The more features they have, such as allowing you to design unique backgrounds or customize fonts, colors, etc., the better off you will be when creating your resume. Most importantly though, make sure it is free so you won’t have to worry about paying for a functional tool that does its job well!
2. Do make it your best self
Your resume should be your best self. This is your chance to market yourself; don’t leave anything out that might make you seem like a fantastic fit for a job. By knowing what hiring managers are looking for, you can focus on those elements in your online resume maker. You need to clearly state why you are qualified for each position in order to set yourself apart from other candidates. If not specifically asked for, avoid including references or information that’s not directly related to the open position (e.g., educational background). Above all else, make sure it’s easy to read!
3. Do have a profile photo
A photo can help break up a page full of words. It shows that you are a real person, not just another piece of paper looking for employment. Having a photo also helps show your potential employer who you are beyond your name and title, although it’s best to keep it professional. A grainy black-and-white shot from 1999 is likely to project an outdated sense of style. In addition, recent studies have shown that resumes with photos receive 50 percent more responses than those without one, so it’s worth taking some time to find just the right picture or adding one to your online resume maker account so you can quickly upload it at a moment’s notice.
4. Do include keywords
When you’re creating a resume for an online resume maker, it’s crucial to keep keywords in mind. These are searchable words or phrases that employers use to find prospective candidates, so using them (within reason) is a great way to ensure your resume stands out from others on employment websites. (If there isn’t an obvious place to include certain keywords, don’t worry; they can also be worked into other sections.) For example, if you have experience in a specific field, focus on that throughout your entire resume.
If someone searching for accounting finds your profile instead of another candidate’s because you mentioned it in your skills section—well, then we’d say that was a good use of keywords!
5. Do include hobbies
It’s unlikely that any potential employer will ask you about your favorite hobby, but if they do, it could be an opportunity to prove you’re a fun employee with a wide range of interests. Listing things like reading books on marketing or running my own fashion business show prospective employers that there’s more to you than meets the eye. Employers want people who are well-rounded—those who make time for leisure activities aren’t just likely to work harder than those without hobbies; they may be better at dealing with co-workers and customers.
6. Do use a layout designer
If you’re not a professional designer or have access to one, don’t design your resume from scratch. Instead, find a template that’s simple and easy to follow. You can even use something as basic as Microsoft Word to give your resume a professional layout. Do make sure it’s clear: If you want employers to take you seriously, resist using flashy graphics on your resume. Use a straightforward font that can be easily read by someone who has just seconds to quickly glance over your resume before deciding whether or not they want to meet with you for an interview. Do aim for simplicity: Your resume should focus on what you’ve accomplished in previous positions, not on job descriptions and duties.
Don’ts of Resume Writing
1. Don’t lie
I’ve interviewed many people who have received career death sentences because they chose to lie on their resumes. Fudging facts, misrepresenting your experience, or lying about a personal detail can instantly disqualify you from a job. As recruiters and HR professionals are increasingly cross-checking details with previous employers, it has become harder to land employment if you’re caught lying about your credentials. When in doubt—leave it out! You don’t want to find yourself without a job because you got fired for making up information on your resume.
2. Don’t use subjective words like qualified or extensive experience
These words mean nothing. More importantly, they don’t quantify your experience in any way. An employer doesn’t want to know that you are qualified for a position; they want to know that you have specific skills or abilities that make you perfect for a certain job. And even then, it’s best to back up such claims with quantifiable data. The problem is, without an actual job title or detailed responsibilities, these subjective words are almost meaningless. When someone says they have extensive experience in sales operations, what exactly does that mean? How many years were you in sales operations? Which particular aspect of it do you know so well? You get the point.
3. Don’t just Google resume templates
Rather than packing your resume with extraneous details, focus on providing just enough information to show that you’re a qualified candidate. If it isn’t absolutely essential, take it out. You can include more detail on your cover letter or in an attached document that doesn’t print with your resume. It may seem counterintuitive to leave things out of a document intended to be all about you—but after reviewing thousands of resumes, recruiters will appreciate candidates who are concise and focused on their particular goals. Write concisely: Your resume should be no longer than one page (two at most). Including personal interests like photography or hiking may be fun for you but these items don’t relate to the job you are applying for and therefore should not be included.
4. Don’t stuff it with information you don’t need
It’s tempting to just add everything you’ve ever done—including all your volunteer work, random jobs, etc.—but resist. Only include information about relevant experience in your field that proves why you’re worth hiring. No one cares that you helped build a house for Habitat for Humanity unless they know it helps prove your construction skills are up to par. In short: be selective with what you put on there. The employer will find out what’s missing through an interview or reference check if needed.
These were the important dos and don’ts of resume writing. You always have the option to use an online resume maker to make the resume writing work easy.