Few companies see more resumes than staffing firm Robert half. They see the good, the bad and the job-killing awful – so their advice can be trusted.
Robert half reminds us all that you never get a second chance to make a first impression — and the expression especially applies during the job hunt.
But for those who may be new to the working world or haven’t pursued a job in a while, a primer on what employers are looking for in application materials may be needed to stand out for the right reason.
Here is a breakdown of Resume do’s and don’ts:
Do: Include basic information: name, phone number, email address and a link to your LinkedIn profile.
Don’t: Add protected or sensitive details, such as age, race, date of birth, social security number, marital status or religion, and attempts at humor.
Trying to be funny usually induces more eye-rolls than laughs.
Do: Lead with a concise overview of your most impressive qualifications, emphasizing skills and achievements most pertinent to the position.
Don’t: Offer empty statements that add little insight into your top selling points. While short and sweet is great, these applicants left out all the details:
Do: Cite the institution you attended, the degree earned, and (optional) the month and year you graduated. Mention if you graduated with honors. If you were a member of several organizations, include that information in a separate section.
Don’t: Include your grade-point average, unless it’s truly impressive and you’re a recent graduate. Listing “relevant courses” is also unnecessary unless you lack work experience.
Do: Focus less on your responsibilities and more on the positive impact you made. Convert statements that merely describe your job duties into ones that spotlight specific accomplishments.
Don’t: Include a laundry list of every duty you’ve ever performed. Also, avoid vague wording such as participated in or was responsible for and instead use more powerful verbs such as created, led, initiated or increased.
Do: Highlight specific skills that dovetail with the job you’re seeking, paying special attention to soft skills. Employers know there’s a good chance candidates with strong communication, leadership and interpersonal abilities, for example, will mesh well with colleagues and the company culture.
Don’t: Waste precious space being vague — or pretentious — about your abilities.
Achievements and Honors
Do: Understand that all accomplishments are not created equal. Focus on achievements that connect to your career.
Don’t: List so-called “accomplishments” that are dated or unrelated to your profession.