The Dos and Donts of a Great Resume

by hwrjoel Thursday, February 07, 2013
Sending a resume does not guarantee that you will get an interview. There are countless resumes that are being sent in for that very same position. The fewer positions that are open, the fewer interviews the company will conduct. After all, it doesn’t really serve them well to have 100 people come in to interview for a single job.

Most companies will aim to reduce the number of candidates that they look at the top one to five percent of the applications and resumes that they received.

A great resume is one that stands out during the initial screening process, allowing the Human Resources staff or others to scan the document for the information that they have deemed important to make it through this first cut. Only the resumes that get sent on will be read for the interview decisions, so yours has to not only be very good, but has to stand out among an entire stack of them.

Formatting


Do:

•    Find a good format for your occupation or for the information that you have.
•    Follow an easy template for the best resume results.
•    Use easy-to-read font styles and plain type faces

A resume will likely only get ten to fifteen seconds of scanning time by the professional who is looking at it. It will be read by someone in Human Resources or a professional recruiter who is very busy but has to decide who will be given an interview to discuss the information on the documents.

Don’t:

•    Use a format that will highlight your weaknesses or gaps in your employment history.
•    Simply wing it or make up your own style as you go.
•    Use fancy or hard-to-read fonts, fonts that are too small or too large or other tools that make the resume look cluttered.

Even if your resume is the first one on the pile, using the wrong font will get you ignored because it is hard to read and shows that you are not professional.


Wording


Do:

•    Know the words that will work for the occupation that you are trying to get.
•    Know whether the resume is likely to be scanned by a computer and how that will affect the resume that you are sending.
•    Know which words are considered to be “wrong” for the industry and which are currently accepted. For instance, home health aide may be the accepted term that you used when you were first hired, but that position might be called something else in the area or in the present.

Don’t:

•    Use words that might be construed as overly boastful. The name of an award in certain resume formats is good; a full paragraph about the award is not.
•    Use words that are overly pretentious or over blown.
•    Use words incorrectly.
•    Use words that might be ignored or misread by the computer if it is to be scanned.

Templates


Do:

•    Use a template or informational service to get the right resume
•    Use an easy-to-understand template for the resume.
•    Save your work to go back to at another time.
•    Know how to make changes to the template.

Don’t:

•    Count on the resume template to catch mistakes.
•    Think that a format can eliminate all of the problems that you might have with your employment or education history.
•    Forget to save your information before leaving the site you are using.
•    Forget to check out the privacy information for the template or resume writing site that you are using.

While there are some experts who say that the template is a not the way to go, a well written resume that was created with a good quality template can be the difference between making it past that screening procedure and not getting an interview at all.

Sending the Resume Out


Do:

•    Make sure that you follow the guidelines for submitting documents.
•    Address the resume, cover letter and other information to the right person or department.
•    Keep the information clear and easy to read (aim for a single-page resume in most cases).

Don’t:

•    Ignore guidelines for deadlines or submission type.
•    Include every single job, club, award or other information that may make your resume far too long to effectively be dealt with.
•    Leave out important information, especially information that is asked for by the job posting.

A great resume is not only one that is going to stand out from the crowd but will be the one that manages to get an interview, the main goal in this situation. If you are not following the directions and guidelines in a job posting, the message you are sending is clear: Either you do not care enough to follow directions or you are incapable of following directions.

For some companies, the rule that says “email only” is their way of keeping the company green. By ignoring that rule, you are also saying that you do not care about the policy of the company and that you are not going to follow through with other policies, either.

A Special Note about Privacy


If you are currently employed and you have not let your boss know that you are going to be seeking other employment, you want to make sure that your resume is not visible to other people. You want to keep your newly created resume under wraps until you are ready to break the news in your own time. In this regard, you also should be careful about sending your resume to recruiters, especially within the same industry who might let the information slip to your boss as well.

On the other hand, having your resume made public may also set you up for some very unpleasant surprises as well, especially if a recruiter gives you a call for a position that you are “perfect” for and you find out it is your own.

By logging in to HowToWriteAResume.net, your resume is saved to your account and only viewable by you.  IN addition, we never share any of your information with third parties. So you can feel confident that your resume information is safe and secure on our site.