A well written and formatted resume is vital when seeking new employment. We recently released tips on How to Improve Your Resume to help candidates write and improve their resumes. While that guide is a great start, we put together the Resume Writing: Do’s & Don’ts to help you polish your resume before submitting. We can’t guarantee you will be hired for every position you apply for, but we hope these tips will guide you to success!

Resume Writing: Do’s

  • Make sure to format your resume. Be sure to base the format of your resume on the industry you are applying to work in as well as your background and relevant skills.
  • Choose a template or design your resume in a way that complements your experience and skills while also attractive to professionals in your industry. Services such as Google and Microsoft Office 365 offer free resume templates to get you started. If you are using Zip Recruiter or Indeed, make sure to fill out all information on your profile along with detailed descriptions of your work experience in order to create a full resume. 
  • Make sure to be detailed but do not clutter the page so it is easy to read.
  • Entry-level professionals should try to limit their resume to one page. Mid/junior-level professionals should try to limit their resume to one or two pages. 
  • Organize your resume based on your strongest attributes. 
  • Use legible fonts. Font choice is an important design element, it should be professional, easy to read and not too small or too big. Do not use handwriting fonts or fonts like Comic Sans.
  • Keeping your resume black and white is ideal. If you are applying for a more modern industry position, using a complementary and professional accent color is acceptable. Try to limit colors to one or two colors just for headers, borders, and/or accent elements. 
  • Carefully use all CAPS. When overused or used improperly, CAPS can give your resume an aggressive feeling that you likely aren’t intending. 
  • Numbers one to nine should be spelled out in your resume unless referring to a date, address, or phone number. Numbers 10+ should be written numerically. 
  • Be consistent. If you finish one bullet point with a period, make sure to finish them all with a period. If you add bullet points to describe one job, add bullet points to describe all of your jobs. Choose the formatting that works best for you and your information and keep it consistent throughout the entire document. 
  • Proofread more than once. 
  • Save your resume in various file formats. When applying online, different companies may have differing file requirements. Be prepared by saving your resume as a PDF, .doc and as an image file like .jpg or .png. 
  • Print your resume. Taking a printed version of your resume to an interview is a great way to remind recruiters and employers about your experience and achievements. 


Resume Writing: Don’ts

  • Don’t include references or the statement “References Available Upon Request” on your resume. It is usually assumed by a recruiter or an employer that a candidate will provide references if they are being considered for hire. 
  • Don’t include a photo. 
  • Don’t share Google Docs links. Google Docs links sometimes require permission to share and create barriers for recruiters and employers to access your information. Always save your resume in various file types and make sure you are sending the document as a file rather than a link. 
  • Don’t go too far back in time. While a long work history may be appealing to employers and recruiters, try to limit your experience to the most recent 10-15 years for entry-level and mid-level positions. If you are applying for a senior-level position or a position requiring more experience, expanding your timeline is acceptable as long as the information is still relevant and helpful. 
  • Limit personal pronouns. A resume is a professional document about you, therefore, you are already represented in all of the information on the document. Adding too many “me” and “my” pronouns could be seen as repetitive and should be avoided.  
  • Don’t staple your printed resume and make sure to keep it clean and without creases.

For more tips on Resume Writing, check out our blog on How to Improve Your Resume if you haven’t already. Also, look out for our Resume Writing Workshops, these events are interactive events to help candidates write and improve their resumes. We hope these tips help!