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Resume Dos and Don'ts

Do highlight strengths on your resume, but never include false information.

A resume should never exceed two pages. [©Jupiter Images, 2010]
©Jupiter Images, 2010
A resume should never exceed two pages.

Resume Dos and Don'ts

Knowing resume dos and don'ts is a must for college grads trying to land an interview. A resume is usually the first tool used by job seekers to showcase their skills and experience to potential employers. It typically takes a mere 20 seconds or less for employers to scan a resume. Therefore, it is extremely important for individuals to maximize that 20 seconds by crafting resumes that are clear and easy to read. Preparing and submitting a resume is a critical step in the job search process. Following a few simple resume dos and don'ts can help job seekers craft resumes that make a great first impression.

Resume Dos

It is important that new college graduates keep in mind that using their resume to demonstrate their work ethics and desirable personality traits are helpful in landing entry-level positions. According to 1st-Writer.com, employers do not expect new college graduates to have an immense amount of professional job experience, but they do expect for them to be trainable. Grads should include information about educational accomplishments, relevant courses, jobs, internships and volunteer experience. They should include details about any position that allowed them to acquire transferable skills, such as customer service and communication skills -- skills needed in any job. Other key resume dos include:

  • Do include an objective statement to focus the resume on skills and experience relevant to a specific position
  • Do list job information in an order typically preferred by prospective employers, i.e., title/position, name of current/previous employers, city/state of employers and dates of employment
  • Do emphasize strengths by focusing on accomplishments, results and skills
  • Do use short, rather than complex and long, sentences
  • Do send a customized cover letter with every resume
  • Do begin sentences with action verbs
  • Do send resumes via e-mail if this is an option presented by the employer


Resume Don'ts

Including too much information is a common resume mistake made by recent college graduates. It is important that college graduates, as well as other job seekers, be mindful that employers only want to see information that is relevant to their company needs. College graduates should not include details about hobbies or interests unless they are directly related to the job for which they are applying. Additionally, job seekers should avoid mentioning salary history or requirements in their resume. Simply put, a resume is a tool that college graduates and other job seekers use to share their relevant professional skills and qualifications to potential employers. A resume should not include personal or family information, photos and other irrelevant information. According to Ohio State University, a resume should be simple yet professional and should not include fancy fonts and other distracting artwork or graphics. A few additional key resume dont's include:

  • Don't exceed two pages
  • Don't falsify resume information
  • Don't include high school information (unless you are a freshman still in college)
  • Don't include personal pronouns, such as I, me or my
  • Don't forget to include all relevant projects, volunteer work and job responsibilities


Tips on Resume Follow Up

It is important for new college grads to learn the dos and don'ts of resume follow up. Job seekers should be sure to follow up with employers about once every three to four weeks. They should never demand a response; they should simply inform the employer that they are still interested in the position. Also, job seekers should highlight one or two key qualifications relevant to the position in follow-up letters or e-mails.

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