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Resume Do's & Don'ts

Including the essentials and avoiding the most commonly made mistakes is easier said than done, but the following compilation of resume do's and don’ts from career experts should put you on the right track.

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THE DO'S FOR YOUR RESUME

Hover or click on the images to learn the Do's of resume writing.

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THE DON'TS FOR YOUR RESUME

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Outdated Information

Include full or part- time jobs you’ve held in order to highlight your transferable skills, as well as leadership, volunteering or growth experiences.

But as a general rule, you should leave out any job information that is more than 15 years old unless it directly relates to the position you are applying for.

Similarly, if you’re over 25, your high school information is no longer relevant, so focus on recent learning

See skills enhancement options 

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Using an Objective

Patrick McAndless, networking specialist, has shown that using a "brand statement" engages and intrigues the employer, so you stand out and they want to learn more. 

Kandi Mensing, of EliteHRTeam, notes that objectives are often vague and limiting. Instead she suggests highlighting your education or having a “skills and attributes” section that contains keywords that are relevant to the position you are applying for.

Get help creating your Brand Statement and Professional Profile Here

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Unprofessional Email Address

Although this may seem obvious, many job seekers fail to think about what kind of image their email address is portraying to a prospective employer.

“Non-professional email addresses such as “jessicarabbit4real@” should not be on a resume,” says Margolin.

Generally your email address should just be a combination of your first and last name, and if necessary a number or two.

KEYWORDS & BUZZWORDS

 

While it’s advisable to use industry and job-specific keywords in your resume to help it stand out, it’s important to understand the difference between keywords that relate to the job you are applying for and meaningless buzzwords.

The problem with using the same buzzwords that everyone else uses is that rather than making you stand out, they make your resume seem generic.

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According to LinkedIn’s annual list of overused buzzwords, job seekers tend to favour the following ten clichéd phrases:

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The problem with these buzzwords is not so much that the words themselves are bad, but that many job seekers use them as:

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stand alone descriptions in a list

without providing an explanation

no specific examples

HOW TO USE KEYWORDS EFFECTIVELY

Get Found

When used properly, keywords and specific examples can help a job seeker stand head and shoulders above his or her competition.

Most employers are using some form of analytics that compare the match of keywords for the job, to a candidate's resumes and online applications.

 

“Only the top dozen or so highest-matching resumes will be seen by human eyes,”  explains Hank Boyer, recruiter and CEO. "The resume must be customized for the specific position." Meaning customize your resume for every application.

Use your chosen keywords and phrases thoughtfully

Once you have chosen your keywords, take the time to work them into your descriptions and summary in a clear and descriptive way, as opposed to just adding in a list of keywords you saw in the job posting.

Quantify the keywords = specific data and examples in your descriptions

Don't just list duties below work experience descriptions. What really stands out is the impact you had and results you drove within your career.

Almost every role has a measurement of success – customer satisfaction, time to complete a task, volume of activity completed, error rate or even internal performance measurement rankings. Whenever possible, list those accomplishments or the impact you made in the role.

Examples

A more unique way a candidate might describe their previous work is:

Initiated a minimum of 60 outbound calls daily to C-level professionals in the software industry

Exceeded company activity standards with an average connection rate of 20%

Created a landslide hazard map for 10 different local communities to implement in future development

 

Worked with a team to create of a new cement productive chain, reducing CO2 footprint, producing a higher performance product and delivering significant economic benefits to the company.

Successfully handled an average of 400 incoming calls and 300 client, homeowner, and prospect emails and letters per month.

THE IMPACT OF COVID-19

With unemployment rates skyrocketing this year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, having a solid resume is crucial for getting noticed and landing job interviews.

 

Include Your Telecommunication Skills

  • Thanks to the pandemic, companies have been given no choice but to adapt to remote work — making telecommunication skills more valuable than ever.

  • Remember to use specific platform keywords, instead of wasting space with boring phrases like “I’m good at time-management” or “I’m tech-savvy.” 

  • Examples: 

Showcase Your Ability to Adapt to Rapid Changes

  • The way we work has changed dramatically this year. Companies are looking for candidates who can quickly adjust to new policies, workplace norms and shifting expectations.

  • This might mean mentioning how you’ve taken on new roles, worked with modified budgets, implemented new platforms or grew sales despite a downsized team — all during Covid-19.

  • Include under the “Experience” section of your resume, specifically for your most recent job

  • Examples:

    • Led marketing team that downsized from 20 people to 11; grew sales by 25%

    • Implemented platforms like Microsoft Teams and Trello for more effective remote team collaboration

    • Raised Instagram and Twitter engagement by 40%

 

Include a Brief Description of Companies

  • Unless you’ve held titles with major employers like Google, Apple or Amazon, it’s important to include a short description of the companies you worked for (especially if they’re small start-ups).

  • Mentioning the company size — in parenthesis — is also essential background information, because it gives managers an idea of things like your workload and the amount of support or resources that were available to you.

  • Put on your resume in the “Experience” section, beneath each company name and position

  • Examples:

    • Led marketing operations for gaming hardware company (45+ employees)

    • Manager of a 4-person engineering team for web analytics service (70+ employees)

    • Sales assistant for award-winning web design agency (25+ employees)

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