The Do’s and Don’ts to Building a Powerful Resume

Do’s and Don’ts to Writing a Powerful Resume

Your resume is a key piece to the job-hunting process. There are many different ways you can create a powerful resume; here’s a quick list of Do’s and Don’ts to keep in mind when building your resume:

  • DON’T use multi-colored text or too many different font sizes. Avoid using italics, underlining, shading, graphics, and vertical/horizontal lines or boxes.
  • DO keep your resume length to a minimum – two or three pages is ideal. It is preferred to use Verdana, Arial, Calibri or Times fonts.
  • DON’T include personal details such as your date of birth, marital status or photo (unless you are applying for a job where these are relevant).
  • DO include a link to your website, if you have one (and if it’s related to your work). Whether it’s a website/blog, or a social media account like Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram. An online presence enhances your image, particularly in media, creative, and IT careers.
  • DON’T make vague statements. Give context by backing them up with real examples. For instance, don’t just say, “I have excellent communication skills”, instead say something along the lines of, “My excellent communication skills have been fine-tuned by… and proved invaluable when…”
  • DO, wherever possible, quantify your achievements! If you can say, for example, “increased sales by $50,000”, “reduced turnover by 34%”, or “increased website traffic by 125%” rather than making a more general claim, that will give your assertions more weight and clarity.
  • DON’T use a PDF format for your resume, especially for less IT-heavy industries, as some software won’t be able to read it easily. Most companies prefer Word (.doc/.docx) files whenever possible.
  • DO use testimonials from previous employers. Consider adding them to your resume as hyperlinks – linking them to an employer testimonial on your LinkedIn profile or website (if you have one).
  • DON’T forget to tailor your resume for each job application. The more precisely you address each of the criteria for a particular job description, demonstrating how you fit and satisfy that criteria, the greater your chances of making the shortlist.
  • DO proofread and spell-check… And then check again. A CareerBuilder survey found that 58% of resumes contain typos. Make sure yours isn’t one of them! If you’re often going back and tweaking/updating your resume, typos and formatting issues can creep in. Re-read the resume in its entirety each time you make an amendment.